Salad Series {post #2} Fresh Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Salads, the perfect sidekick

Fresh Brussels Sprout and Herb Salad with Shaved Parmesan, Crispy Bacon with an Apple – Mustard Vinaigrette
1 pound fresh brussels sprouts, cook in salted water until just done, run under cold water. If large slice in half.
4 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces, cooked crisp, drain on paper towels
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste

Apple – Mustard Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh pressed apple juice, reduced to 2 Tablespoons – let cool.
2 T. grainy mustard
1 shallot, finely chopped (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 T. fresh chives, finely chopped
1 T. fresh thyme (measure before stemmed) chopped
2 T. almond oil
2 T. grape seed oil
good pinch of sea salt
few grinds of fresh pepper

For the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid – shake to emulsify.
To finish the salad, toss the brussels sprouts with enough of the vinaigrette to coat. Top with the bacon and a good shave of Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used a microplane), serve immediately.



Fresh Cauliflower Salad with Crispy Capers, Olives, Shaved Red Onion and Herbs with a Grainy Mustard – Lemon Vinaigrette

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets – cook in salted water until just done, run under cold water.
1/8 red onion, finely julienned (place in a colander and rinse under cold water for several minutes to mellow the taste)
1/4 cup mixed olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise
1 red or green jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (add more or less to your liking)
1 T. chives, finely chopped
1 T. parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup salt packed capers, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup grape seed oil

Grainy Mustard – Lemon Vinaigrette
2 T. grainy mustard
1 clove garlic, grated
juice from 1 lemon
2 T. almond oil
2 T. grape seed oil
a good pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

For the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid – shake to emulsify.

For the crispy capers, in a small pan heat the oil to almost smoking. Add the capers (they might spatter a bit so stand back :) Cook until slightly brown and crispy, drain on a few layers of paper towels.
To assemble the salad, combine all the prepared ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle the desired amount of vinaigrette and toss to coat. Top with the crispy capers and serve immediately.



I spent a lot of time developing these 2 salads, and am happy to report that they turned out quite amazing. Although dressed with bold, mustardy vinaigrettes, the freshness of the veggies and herbs really shine.
Don’t even think about using frozen vegetables here, the key to these salads are to keep them bright and fresh. Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are pretty common, and I’m sure that most of you can find it fresh at your market. Another key to these salads are cooking the vegetables just right. If you cook them too much they’ll be watery and fall apart (that’s a terrible thing to do to veggie), but you don’t want them raw either – the only words I can think of to describe the texture is crisp-tender. You want them to be cooked and still have their fresh quality. Although both dressings are heavily mustard based, they are still quite different and can be served together. With all the heavy food served at the holiday table (roasted meats, stuffing, gravy – all brown, all wonderful) they can really weigh you down. It’s nice to have some cool, bright and fresh options to lighten things up. The fresh, crisp-tender veggies with a bright and bold vinaigrette is the perfect sidekick. These veggie-salads can be prepared early in the day and tossed in the dressing just before serving, leaving one less thing monopolizing your precious space on the stove or in the oven.

I replanted my herb garden this week. After a 4 month stay in California there wasn’t a trace of fresh herbs when I returned – I guess I’m not the only one that can’t handle the Florida summers! I was quite excited to have all the options to use – and I think I used every herb in the garden for these salads.


17 Comments to “Salad Series {post #2} Fresh Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Salads, the perfect sidekick”

  1. I really get so excited when I see you have a new article up. Those two salads look perfect as side dishes for the upcoming holidays. I’m always trying to liven up cauliflower but that Brussel sprouts recipes speaks my love of this veggie. I hear you about the heat of the south during the summer. We took off twice in October just so we could get a dash of fall weather after the heat of the Texas summer. It’s been 2 years living in TX and I long for a cooler climate.

    • Hi Riley, it’s great to hear from you – thank you for your comments! I think these are two veggies that don’t get enough love (or are down right abused!) I hope these recipes encourage others to have them more often. Have a wonderful TG!

  2. Both of those salads look and sound so good! I just love your blogs.

  3. yummy!

  4. What a beautiful dishes Kelly ! Fresh brussel sprouts and crispy bacon are always a tasty combination ! Thanks for sharing and have a great week end :)

  5. Both of these look great but I am intrigued by the brussels sprout salad- it sounds like a taste of fall with the apple and bacon!

  6. This looks fabulous! I’ve made it this afternoon for a potluck this evening, but I have a question. Apples are a source of pectin and when I simmered down the apple (I didn’t have fresh juice, I used fresh cider) it turned into an apple jelly. I used it anyway, but the dressing is pretty thick. Did that happen because I used cider? If not, how did you deal with this when you made it?

    • Just want to report that the Brussels Sprout salad was a great success at the potluck (several people now have links to your website because they wanted the recipe). But I still have the question about the apple juice. I think next time I will mix it with the mustard while it is still hot, before it gels. Also, this time, at the last minute I thinned the sauce a little with straight cider (maybe a half a tablespoon – I was making a double batch) because it was so thick, I think because of the gelled cider.

    • Hi Cynthia! Thank you for your comments and questions :) Maybe you shouldn’t reduce the cider as much, my intention for the vinaigrette is to concentrate the apple flavor without it being diluted – so it’s not necessary to reduce it all the way, you may have to adjust the flavors a bit. And that’s a great idea to make the vinaigrette while the cider is still warm. Let me know how it turns out next time.

      • Hi Kelly,
        I made it again tonight. This time I reduced the cider only to about 3 tbs instead of all the way to 2, and I added it while still pretty warm. It worked great. I think the cider already has a more concentrated apple flavor than the fresh pressed juice would anyway, so i didn’t find any adjusting necessary. Both times I did need to strain the cider, since it has some solids that come out as it simmers.

        It strikes me that the quality of bacon one uses could affect the final flavors a lot. I used some delicious nitrite-free bacon from a local farm store – it’s more robust in its physical being and more subtle in flavor that the grocery store varieties.

        Thanks for a great recipe.

      • I’m glad it turned out–and I’m glad to see you are making this recipe your own! When I use bacon I usually use nitrate free – it just seems better to me all around :)
        Great to hear from you!

      • Thank for putting these DELICIOUS recipes online so we can use them! (Not to mention the pleasure of the beautiful photography).

      • BTW – didn’t mean to imply in any way that cider is better than your original recipe. I just happen to often have cider this time of year, and when I do it needs to be used because we live minimal refrigeration. So thanks for the suggestion on how to make it work and it was fun to know what effect you were shooting for with that part of the recipe.

  7. I made your cauliflower salad and your wheat berry salad today and I am so delighted with the results. I typically cook all day Sunday so that I have a week of great lunches ahead–I am beyond excited for these salads this week, and to continue to play on your kitchen sink formula. Thank you for the great recipes!

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