Shaved Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

By Ann Fulton

Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!
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Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

 

I love a really good salad.

A good salad will complement a vast array of entrées–and will become the entrée with a simple protein addition.

A good salad includes the right mix of add-ins, which contribute flavor, texture, and make the salad truly satisfying.

A good salad can be the perfect contribution to a backyard barbecue or potluck and adds welcome balance to otherwise heavier holiday meals.

And as far as I’m concerned, a good salad will also make pizza, burgers, and frozen chicken tenders feel like a fresh, complete meal. (My nieces went back for seconds of this salad on a recent pizza night!)

Of course, to become a go-to salad, the ingredients should be easy to have on hand and come together quickly. Everyone is busy, so convenience and ease of preparation help.

Such is the case with the following Caesar salad. A base of thinly sliced Brussels sprouts puts a fresh twist on the classic rendition, with the added bonus of holding up well in the refrigerator for several days, making leftovers a small gift.

 

 

Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

The dressing captures the quintessential Caesar flavor with ease – no raw egg and no anchovies, although anchovies are an option for those who enjoy. And though the recipe calls for Brussels sprouts, I have noted the many variations in the recipe notes. From traditional romaine lettuce to kale and broccoli slaw, you may use the flavorful dressing to create irresistible Caesar salads of all kinds.

Similarly, I’ve added cherry tomatoes for a pop of color and scallions for a hint of mild onion flavor. Though the traditional Caesar salad is comprised of minimal ingredients, the dressing is endlessly versatile, so don’t hesitate to take liberties. Chopped avocado, sautéed mushrooms, and the fried capers I mention in the recipe notes are all fair game. 

Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

Can you eat raw shredded Brussels sprouts? Yes, there’s no need to cook Brussels sprouts before eating them. The texture will be tougher compared to a typical leafy green salad (more like kale and cabbage), but when you finely shred them and let them marinate in a flavorful dressing, raw sprouts are deliciously satisfying.

What is the best way to shred Brussels sprouts?

Options for preparing the Brussels sprouts:

  • Shred by hand: Trim the stem ends, remove any blemished outer leaves, and cut the sprouts in half. If shredding by hand, place the flat side down and thinly slice crosswise.
  • Helpful hint: If the sprouts are large or not especially fresh, cut a “V” into the bottom before halving to remove the core, as it can be tough.
  • Use a food processor: Trim the ends and cut in half as directed above. Attach the thinnest slicing blade. Tip: Because of the layers, the shredding blade may shred the sprouts thinner than you like—if not sure, test a few both ways. Then add the sprouts to the feed chute in batches—they won’t all fit at once—and process.
  • Buy a bag of pre-shredded Brussels sprouts: This is a perfectly acceptable option. I’ve seen bags and plastic containers of various sizes labeled as “shredded” or “shaved,” which vary from a fine to a coarse shred. Choose according to preference and what’s available, being mindful of the “sell by” date for optimum freshness. Tip for best texture: Pick through pre-shredded sprouts and trim any thickly sliced pieces with a lot of core attached.
  • While you could use a mandoline, box grater, or handheld shredder, the sprouts are so small that it’s difficult to shred them thoroughly without risking cutting your fingers.
  • Food styling tip: Save any outer leaves that fall off as you cut the sprouts in half and add them to the salad bowl with the shredded sprouts or use as a garnish.
  • Get a jump-start: Brussels sprouts can be shredded a day or two in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.
Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

Unless the sprouts are small, I halve and core them before slicing very thinly. To core the sprouts, simply slice a “V” at the stem end. 

Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

To quickly slice the sprouts, the thinnest slicing disk of a food processor works well. Again, halve and core medium and large sprouts first. 

Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

How long can you store shredded Brussels sprouts? Once shredded, Brussels sprouts should be stored in an airtight container, where they will maintain peak freshness for about 3 days. Once dressed (and as long as you’re starting with fresh sprouts), the following salad will keep for another three days.  

For a complete meal, serve the salad with a simple protein, like salmon, chicken, shrimp, steak, or roasted chickpeas.

Recipe and occasion inspiration:

  • Restaurant-Style Pan Seared Salmon
  • Perfect Skillet Chicken
  • Fiery Grilled Shrimp
  • Spiced Crispy Chickpeas (this recipe contains a vegan Caesar dressing which is completely different in makeup but equally delicious)
  • Or serve as a side dish to burgers, pizza, soups, stews, sandwiches, and more.
  • Need to take something to a potluck? Choose this salad.
  • Great in packed lunches too.
  • This salad is also an excellent choice when taking a meal to a friend in need or new parent. 
  • Of course, croutons are a traditional topper, and while store-bought work well, Polenta Croutons and Homemade Parmesan Croutons offer delicious homemade options for those who are inclined. 
  • And though this salad is an ideal weeknight dinner pick, it stands on its own when entertaining and even on a holiday table. 
Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

The dressing supplies all the classic, creamy flavor and comes together in a snap – without a raw egg or anchovies. (Although you may add the latter if you wish!) Prefer a vegan or mayo-free dressing? Sunflower seed-based Caesar dressing is equally outstanding and may be used interchangeably with the dressing recipe in this post. Note that the sunflower seeds do need at least six hours to soak.

Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

Homemade Parmesan Croutons (pictured above and below) or Polenta Croutons offer a lovely addition to the Caesar salad.      

Shredded Brussels sprouts pair with classic Caesar dressing for an easy-to-assemble salad that’s crisp, colorful, and loaded with flavor. Top with a favorite protein to transform the versatile side dish into a complete meal. Leftovers hold up for several days in the fridge!

If you’ve never been a fan of Brussels sprouts, this salad may change your mind. And if you’re already a fan, you may be making this flavor-packed salad on repeat!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6-8 side servings or 3-4 entrée servings
Shredded Brussels sprouts meet classic Caesar dressing in this versatile, make-ahead salad that's perfect for holiday meals, neighborhood potlucks, easy weeknight dinners, and packable lunches. For a complete meal, top with chicken, salmon, shrimp, steak, or another protein of choice.
For the Caesar dressing:
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup (104g) mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s Real)
  • ¼ cup (20g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the mayonnaise, Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and stir until well combined. Make-ahead tip: The dressing may be prepared in advance and will keep in the fridge for at least a week.
  2. Place the shaved Brussels sprouts and optional scallions in a salad bowl and toss with dressing. Start with three-quarters of it, toss well, and then add more to taste. If time allows, refrigerate for an hour or so to allow the flavors to meld and sprouts to soften slightly. Top with optional ingredients of choice, and enjoy.
  3. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To freshen the flavor, I often add a light squeeze of lemon juice. You don’t need much—one small wedge is usually enough to do the trick.
Notes:

*Tips for most tender sprouts: Pre-shredded sprouts provide convenience, although fresh, whole sprouts are often more tender. When using bagged, taking a moment to cut out any obvious pieces of core will help. As an alternative to hand slicing whole sprouts, you may shred them using the thinnest slicing blade of a food processor. (Because of their natural layers, the shredding blade tends to pulverize the sprouts. If using, test with a few before doing them all.) To avoid tough pieces, I make a V-shaped cut and remove the core. I also cut medium and large sprouts in half before shredding them.  

Is the dressing too thick? It is a thick dressing, and while you may thin it with 1 to 3 teaspoons of water, I find that if I toss the salad well, targeting any clumpy areas, the dressing does distribute and evenly coat the sprouts. A spritz of water or extra squeeze of lemon juice is always an option if you’d like to further loosen the dressing once added to the sprouts.

Prefer a lightly dressed slaw? There is enough dressing to liberally coat the sprouts. If you prefer a light coat, start with about ¾ of the dressing, toss well, and then add more to taste. I often reserve some and bolster leftovers with additional sprouts or one of the veggies listed below.

Mix and match: The dressing works well with all sorts of cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and bok choy) as well as hearty or crunchy greens like kale and Romaine.

Flavor upgrade: For pops of complementary flavor, in a medium skillet set over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and then add ¼ cup of capers (rinse, drain, and pat them very dry first). Be careful, as they may splatter a bit at the beginning, but dry capers will splatter less. Pan fry until the capers have blossomed and are crunchy, about 1-2 minutes, gently shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and add to salad after tossing with the dressing.

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Comments

  1. Christina
    (5/5)

    This salad is in the weekly rotation. I adore it. Usually I make for dinner one night and pair with salmon or chicken and then eat the leftovers for lunch. I miss it if I don’t make it!

    Reply