Bring this to Thanksgiving this year only if you want the majority of your family and friends to glower and sneer. It’s a slawlike salad of finely shredded kale and sliced brussels sprouts, topped with toasted walnuts and parmesan, and dressed in a mustard vinaigrette; Bon Appetit advertises that it will “cut through the richness of your Thanksgiving meal,” and that it will, should you decide to subject the guests to this abomination.
Okay, but I actually really liked this salad, especially the next day once the dressing had wilted the vegetables a little and the flavors had really melded. I’m very fond of brussels sprouts and I’ve been pushing more and more kale on this household recently because it’s the new “it” vegetable, and I guess I’m a sucker; but also it’s good for you, and I like eating healthy. Just not on Thanksgiving.
In the days leading up to the holiday, as much as I’d say I wanted to eat healthier and less this year, when it came right down to it I’d pass this salad by in the buffet line (with a sneer) because I wouldn’t have room for it on my plate. Macaroni and cheese or kale and brussels sprout salad? Hmmm. Sweet potato casserole or kale and brussels sprout salad? Yeaaahh. Stuffing or…you get the point.
Yes, the pleasant crunch of raw vegetables and the acidic bite of the lemony mustard dressing would indeed provide a nice counterbalance to the richness that pervades the Thanksgiving meal. But Thanksgiving isn’t about balance. It’s about piling your plate as high as you possibly can with the creamiest fattiest foods imaginable, coating it all in gravy, smearing it all around, and shoveling it into your mouth as if you haven’t eaten for the past year. And then going back for seconds. And then ditto with desserts. It’s one day a year.
Make this salad to accompany a nice roast chicken or something on one of the other 29 days of the month as part of those inevitable pre- and post-Thanksgiving diets.
Raw Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad, adapted from Bon Appetit November 2011
Notes: More slawlike than salady, this is best the next day, or a few hours after it’s been tossed with the dressing, in my opinion. The dressing wilts the vegetables slightly, making them softer and more palatable.
Cavolo nero, or Tuscan kale, was the recommended variety for this dish, but I used curly because that’s all my supermarket had. Tuscan kale is more tender, but if you’re chopping the kale leaves as finely as I did, either kind will work.
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups (not packed) finely chopped kale leaves (in the food processor, using the metal blade)
- 9 oz brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced (using the slicing blade of the food processor, a mandoline, or a knife)
- juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp minced shallot
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- about 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- handful of walnuts or almonds (about 1/3 cup), drizzled with olive oil and salt and toasted for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees
- finely grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
- Combine the kale and brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, garlic, lemon juice, and dijon mustard. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
- Pour about half the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Add more dressing to taste and allow to sit at room temperature for a couple hours to allow the vegetables to wilt a little and the flavors to meld; serve topped with nuts and cheese and extra dressing on the side.