Sometimes, even though it’s winter, a salad is all that will do. Roasted vegetables are great, and sautéed greens have their place, but something fresh, crisp and green should not be banished from plates for months on end. The challenge is lettuce, which bolted in veggie gardens at the end of summer, as is its wont. Kale has sprouted in its place and when treated right, it makes a fine substitute for salad greens.
This is an eat-your-greens salad, bursting with health. Brussels sprouts are perfect little packages of goodness. They have the same health benefits of their larger cousin cabbages, and in Chinese medicine they’re said to help with digestion. They also grow on the coolest, most gnarly looking plant ever. The unpleasant smell that many people associate with sprouts is the result of overcooking, particularly overboiling, which unlocks an organic compound in the sprout that contains sulphur. Egg smells are avoided in this salad by finely slicing the sprouts and serving them raw.
Raw kale needs a little love to get it salad worthy. I’ve written about massaging kale before, and that technique should be employed for this salad too, as it relaxes the wizened kale into a delicate salad green. Be generous with the dressing to help mellow the strong flavours of the kale and brussels sprouts. The sweetness of the maple syrup and the punch of the mustard will coat the greenery and balance everything out, while the sunflower seeds provide a bit of crunch.
I’ve served this salad with a roast chicken, with grilled lamb chops and alongside other salads and roasted veg for a vegetarian feast. It provides some levity in winter meals while still being hearty and using the best of winter produce.
Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprout Winter Salad
- 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 generous tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil (olive oil works too)
- 225g/1/2 pound brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced (3 cups)
- 4 to 6 leaves of kale, stemmed and thinly sliced (3 cups)
Toast sunflower seeds in a frying pan till they get some colour. Set aside to cool.
Stir mustard, lemon juice, salt, and maple syrup together in a small bowl; whisk in oil.
Place kale is a large bowl and massage dressing into the leaves for a few minutes. Toss in the brussels sprouts and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.
Slightly adapted from Wholeliving