Kale and Brussels sprouts are two of my favorite winter vegetables. I’ve been looking forward to putting them together in this raw Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with this fantastic miso-ginger dressing. Unfortunately, kale is still surprisingly hard to find here in France. (I guess they didn’t get the memo a few years ago when kale launched its U.S. takeover.) Luckily, there is one vendor at my local ruche (“beehive”) that stocks it.
My ruche is part of a larger organisation called La Ruche Qui Dit Oui (“the hive who says yes”), that connects consumers with food producers across France. Each ruche is an association of several food producers, from organic vegetable farmers to cheesemakers to animal farmers to bakers. I’ve even met some of the producers, including a lovely woman from a small Champagne winery, who showed me her family photo album with pictures of her family harvesting grapes and making Champagne. Along with a taste of her champagne bien sur!
Every week, the participants list the goods they have to sell, and members of the ruche can order in advance and pay online. Then, once a week, the products arrive at a nearby location for customers to pick up. There are at least 30 ruche locations across Paris, and one just a few blocks away from me. Ordering directly from the producers means the food comes directly to you, cutting out any middlemen in the sales process. This allows the producers to retain more of their profits while keeping costs relatively low.
According to the website, the products in my ruche have traveled an average of 78km to get to me—this is significantly less than products travel in traditional channels. And, buying through the ruche greatly reduces the amount of food packaging, as the vendors pack fruits and vegetables into crates and then tuck them into paper bags as needed when you pick them up. If you’re in Paris, I’d highly recommend you check out the website and see if there is a ruche near you.
On to the recipe!
Getting back to the dish at hand, I love combining kale and Brussels sprouts together. They are both powerhouses of healthy ingredients, and the difference in textures make this salad more complex than just one or the other by itself. Though both kale and Brussels sprouts are typically cooked, I leave them raw in this salad. Slicing them very thinly means that they will soften up in the dressing enough that they are still crunchy but not tough. Including the soft buttery chunks of avocado at the end provide a delicious contrast.
And the dressing! I love a creamy dressing, and this one with its punch of ginger and salty, savory miso hits all my salad dressing pleasure centers. A light sprinkling of chia seeds upon serving is optional, but adds more crunch and nutrients. All together, I think you’ll find yourself coming back to this salad whenever you need a healthy dose of greens in your life.
How to make Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
First, prep the kale. Rinse off any dirt and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Then, on a cutting board, fold each kale leaf in half so that the stalk that runs through the center of the leaf is on the outside edge. Then slice the greens away from the stalk.
Stack the leaves and slice thinly. (Discard the stalks—they are too tough to every soften up in a salad.)
With lacinato kale, you can also stack leaves and then roll up into a cylinder before slicing, but this technique does not work as well with curly kale. Next, prep the Brussels sprouts. Rinse off any dirt and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Slice off the bottom of each Brussels sprout, and peel off any damaged outer leaves. Then slice in half. Now cut each half into thin slices.
Toss shredded kale and Brussels sprouts together in a large bowl. To prepare the miso-ginger dressing, combine 1.5 tablespoons miso, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise in a blender. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Depending on how thick you prefer your dressing, now drizzle in water, a couple of teaspoons at a time, until you have the consistency you want. If you don’t have a regular blender, you can use an immersion blender or whisk by hand. If you choose to whisk by hand, make sure you grate or mince your ginger extremely finely.
Add a few tablespoons of dressing to the bowl with the kale and Brussels sprouts and toss until salad greens are coated. If possible, let salad sit for 20 minutes to allow the greens to absorb some of the dressing and soften. When ready to serve, peel and cut an avocado into cubes, then toss gently with the rest of the salad. Add more dressing as desired. Garnish with chia seeds.
How do you shred Brussels sprouts?
As shown above, it is easy (though somewhat time-consuming) to shred Brussels sprouts with a good chef’s knife. If you like extremely thin, precise shreds, you can also use a mandolin to slice your sprouts. The easiest method, however, is with the shredding disc attachment for your food processor. If you have one of these, you can attach the shredding disc, put the cover on, and send the sprouts down the shoot to be shredded. Done in seconds!
What should I serve with this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad?
This salad would be a great addition to a low-carb or gluten-free meal, as you could serve it on the side of any protein: grilled chicken breasts, sautéed shrimp or scallops, a fried egg, a pork chop, any fish fillet, or even a steak. It’s delicious next to these Panko-Crusted Salmon Fillets. Or, keep it vegetarian and serve it with a great soup like this Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup or this French Lentil Soup.
Why are they called Brussels sprouts? (And not Brussel sprouts)
We call them Brussels sprouts because an area near Brussels, Belgium takes credit for first cultivating them. They may have been grown there as early as the 13th century, but definitely by the 16th century. They later became popular in the Netherlands, which is now the largest producer of Brussels sprouts. Many people refer to them as “Brussel sprouts”, dropping the “s” in Brussels, but that is incorrect. The grammar police thank you for your attention to this matter.
What are the health benefits of Brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassica family, including kale, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Like many green vegetables, Brussels sprouts are low-calorie but are packed with nutrients. In particular, they are high in fiber, protein, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Brussels sprouts also have high levels of antioxidants, which may help lower the risk of chronic disease and protect against cancer. They are also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are more commonly found in fish and seafood. As a result, Brussels sprouts are great for vegetarians and vegans who may be looking for plant-based sources for omega-3s!
When are Brussels sprouts and kale in season?
Both Brussels sprouts and kale are cold season vegetables. Brussels sprouts are best between September and mid-February, depending on where they grow. Generally they are first picked after the first frost and continue to grow through the beginning part of winter. If you’re lucky enough to find Brussels sprouts right after a frost, jump on them—the frost results in a sweeter sprout. Look for them either still on their thick stalk or already broken off the stalk. You want heads with the leaves tightly packed together and no insect damage. Kale can be grown in the spring as well, though leaves will become bitter and tough as the temperature rises. Like Brussels sprouts, kale picked right after a frost is sweetest.
What are the health benefits of kale?
Like its Brassica brethren, kale is nutrient-dense. A single cup serving includes over 100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A (from beta-carotene), vitamin K, and vitamin C. Believe it or not, a cup of kale contains more vitamin C than an orange! It also includes significant amounts of manganese, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s low in calories but high in fiber. Kale also includes antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, which are flavonoids that have been found to have effects ranging from lowering blood pressure to fighting cancer and depression.
What is miso paste?
Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans. While that may not sound appealing, its taste is almost the very definition of umami. It’s salty and savory, and a little funky. A little goes a long way. The paste is similar in consistency to a nut butter and comes in several different varieties from light to dark (often labeled white or sweet up to red or brown). The darker the miso paste, the longer the fermentation, and the more intense the miso flavor. You can often use any miso you like for a recipe, but you may want to use less if you have a dark miso paste.
It’s delicious in salad dressings like this one, in marinades, in broth or soup, and in a glaze for fish. Mix it with coconut milk and lime juice to make an easy cooking sauce for vegetables, chicken, or fish. Mix it with butter to serve with grilled or sautéed vegetables. You can even mix it into baked goods to cut their sweetness just a bit and add depth of flavor. In terms of nutritional value, miso is very high in sodium; however, it also is a great source of probiotics since it is a fermented food product.
What are the health benefits of chia seeds?
Almost every day, I start my morning with yogurt topped with fresh berries and chia seeds. Why? Chia seeds are packed with fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Because of their high fiber content, they can help slow down food digestion so you feel full longer.
Can you make this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad in advance?
Yes, one of the advantages of a kale salad is that it holds up well even after you have added the salad dressing. If you want to make it in advance, you can dress the kale and Brussels sprouts and keep the salad in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat. You can leave it for several hours, and even up to a couple of days. Hold off on adding the avocado and chia seeds until right before serving. Avocado browns quickly both at room temperature and in the refrigerator. And chia seeds that come into contact with moisture will plump into a jelly-like texture that is not so appealing on a salad.
If you enjoyed this recipe, you may want to check out some of my other healthy recipes sure to please your taste buds and make you feel great.
- Cherry Chia Seed Smoothie
- Vegan Chickpea Curry with Spinach
- Smashed Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
- Green Beans Almondine with Pomegranate Seeds
- Kale Salad with Cranberries
- Roasted Broccoli and Carrots
For the Salad
- 8 oz (225g) curly or lacinato kale
- 12 oz (340g) Brussels sprouts
- 1 avocado
- 2 t. chia seeds, to garnish
For the Miso-Ginger Dressing
- 1 1/2 T. white miso paste
- 1 T. rice vinegar
- 1 T. minced or grated fresh ginger
- 1 t. minced garlic
- 2 T. mayonnaise
- 3 T. vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
- 1-2 T. water
- Rinse off any dirt on kale and Brussels sprouts and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- On a cutting board, fold each kale leaf in half so that the stalk that runs through the center of the leaf is on the outside edge. Then slice the greens away from the stalk. Stack the leaves and slice thinly. (Discard the stalks—they are too tough to ever soften up in a salad.)
- Next, slice off the bottom of each Brussels sprout, and peel off any damaged outer leaves. Then slice in half. Now cut each half into thin slices.
- Toss shredded kale and Brussels sprouts together in a large bowl.
- To prepare the miso-ginger dressing, combine miso, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and mayonnaise in a blender.
- Drizzle in vegetable oil.
- Depending on how thick you prefer your dressing, now drizzle in water, a couple of teaspoons at a time, until you have the consistency you want.
- Add a few tablespoons of dressing to the bowl with the kale and Brussels sprouts and toss until salad greens are coated.
- Let salad sit for 20 minutes to allow the greens to absorb some of the dressing and soften.
- When ready to serve, peel and cut an avocado into cubes, then toss gently with the rest of the salad.
- Add more dressing as desired. Garnish with chia seeds.
Salad can be made several hours in advance (up to several days) with the exception of adding the avocados and chia seeds. If you intend to have leftovers, only serve the avocado cubes and chia seeds with the portion you intend to eat that day. Avocado browns quickly both at room temperature and in the refrigerator, and chia seeds plump into a jelly-like consistency when damp.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 300mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 7gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g