This salad features shaved brussels sprouts and kale topped with sweet candied pecans and crisp apples, all tossed in a bright and tangy apple cider vinaigrette dressing. It's a perfect healthy fall salad and a great healthy addition to your holiday table.
Why this recipe works
Most holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner feature rich, indulgent dishes, that leave us feeling heavy. This fall kale salad is a refreshing option for your holiday spread to pair your traditional holiday favorites.
Using hearty brussels sprouts and kale instead of lettuce greens allows you to make this salad in advance, without it turning limp and lifeless. Making it a great choice for a stress free holiday meal.
How to make apple cider vinaigrette dressing
You'll want to make the dressing first so that it has some time to rest so the flavors come together.
Combine apple cider vinegar, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. A jar with a lid works great too. Just add all of the ingredients and screw on the lid then shake well to combine.
Let the dressing rest while you prepare the salad ingredients. This will allow time for the flavors to combine. Stir or shake again just before use.
How to shave brussels sprouts
Shaving tiny brussels sprouts may sound like a lot of work, but it goes quick and the results are so worth it. Begin by rinsing the sprouts and remove any damaged or yellowed leaves. There are several options for shaving the sprouts:
- Mandolin - A mandolin is a great way to get thin evenly shaved sprouts, but it can be hard to use the guard when shaving sprouts so watch those fingertips! A pair of cut resistant gloves comes in handy for this task. To use a mandolin, hold your sprouts by the stem and shave until you've got most of the leafy head and discard the stems.
- Food Processor - Probably the easiest choice, the shredding blade of a food processor makes quick work of the task. If using a food processor trim the stems off before shredding.
- Knife - Trim the stem, then cut in half. With the flat side down, slice as thinly as possible with a sharp chef's knife.
After cutting your brussel sprouts, give them a toss to help separate the leaves.
How to prepare the salad
- Once you've got your sprouts shaved, rinse your kale and cut the leaves away from the thick center rib then slice thinly.
- Combine your greens in a bowl and toss with the dressing. Let the salad rest for at least 30 minutes. This resting time gives the shaved brussels sprouts and kale time to tenderize.
- When you're ready to serve, give the salad a quick toss and top with the apples and candied pecans.
Can I make this in advance?
If you're like me when preparing a big holiday meal, the last thing you want to do is make a salad at the last minute when all of your other dishes are coming together. This salad is perfect for holidays because the hearty brussels sprouts and kale can hold up to being prepared well in advance.
You can prepare the kale and brussels sprouts up to 2 days in advance. The vinaigrette dressing can be made up to a week in advance. You can even dress the greens the day before serving. However you choose to prepare it, simply store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
I reccomend not adding the apples and pecans until close to serving time, but the acid in the dressing will help keep the apples from browning, so make sure to give the salad a toss to coat the apples if adding those in advance.
Additions for Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
- For an extra pop of color and sweetness try pomegranate seeds or dried fruit such as cranberries
- If you want to add cheese, goat cheese or shaved parmesan cheese work well with this salad.
- For less sweetness you can substitute toasted walnuts or hazelnuts for the candied pecans.
Other salad ideas
- Kale and Farro Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Fall Apple Walnut Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
- Asian Chopped Salad
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Farmer's Market Salad with Avocado Herb Dressing
Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, rinsed and shaved thinly
- 1 bunch kale (around 6 cups chopped), center rib removed and thinly sliced
- 1 large honeycrisp apple, cut into small matchsticks
- ½ cup candied pecans
Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For the dressing
- Add all dressing ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Let dressing rest for about 15-20 minutes while preparing the salad ingredients.
For the salad
- Remove any blemished leaves from brussels sprouts and rinse thoroughly then shave thinly and discard the stem ends.
- Rinse the kale and remove the thick center rib, then thinly slice.
- Add the brussels sprouts and kale to a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Let rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the kale to tenderize.
- Cut the apple into small matchsticks or thin slices.
- When ready to serve, give the greens a quick toss then top with the candied pecans and apples.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.