With the start of school and adieu to summer vacation, I begin to accept that Fall is just around the corner. Every year when I spot the first copper-y dried leaf fallen on the sidewalk, I think of (lower your device's volume if you're at work or somewhere public haha) this old KFC commercial where the woman is screaming and pointing at something. The camera then turns to the sidewalk in front of her, showing a single fallen maple leaf on the ground with the voice-over saying "summer can't last forever". She then bolts in the other direction. I feel exactly the same way! Does anyone else (Canadian) remember this one? Best. Commercial. Ever. My favorite. :)
Being in the Northeast, the weather is already taking a chill out here in Toronto. I even had my first PSL at Starbucks already *gasp*! And with the weather change, my body begins to crave heartier and cozier foods. As far as salads go, this one hits that spot.
For some reason both broccoli and Brussels sprouts have bad reputations. First, so many people discard the broccoli stems. Why?? Peel the tough woody layer (easily done with a Y-shape veggie peeler, no finger injuries involved) and therein lies the sweet, tender, crunchy stem. For salads, I love to thin-shave the stems into ribbons with that trusted Y-shape peeler. (PSA: A Y-shape vegetable peeler is one of my most used kitchen essentials; if you don't have one, run out to buy one immediately)
And how do you feel about Brussels sprouts? You like them roasted crispy with bacon? Who doesn't. But that's cheating! Putting bacon in recipes is a little bit of a cheap trick (my firm opinion, but also one that I use sometimes ha). I love bacon roasted sprouts too but as far as enjoying them in their unmasked, true glory, thin-shaving raw Brussels sprouts like this completely elevates them. No bacon cover-up necessary.
My husband declares this one of his favorite ways to eat sprouts. Both my 4 and 6 year olds gobble up this salad. They're especially enamored by the dried cherries so definitely try to get them if you can. You should be able to find them at well-stocked grocery stores, bulk stores, health food stores or online. If you absolutely can't get your hands on them, use dried cranberries instead for that chewy, tart pop of flavor.
This salad is one that both adults and children equally enjoy. Did I mention it's dressed in a tahini vinaigrette? OH YES. And it just happens to be super hearty and nutrient-packed. As if all that wasn't enough, it's also a great make-ahead salad; see my 'Make In Advance' note directly below.
The crunchy veggies, 'nutty' tahini dressing and punchy dried cherry flavors all stand up well along with heartier foods of autumn and winter, on a Thanksgiving or Holiday table. Make it now for a delicious family meal, and again in the upcoming months to bring to holiday parties too!
MAKE IN ADVANCE:
This salad stands up well to the test of time. Even tossed in dressing and left to stand one or two nights, the broccoli and sprouts stay fresh and crunchy. (Great for making ahead for lunch or dinner party the next day). If you do plan on making it (and dressing it) in advance, just leave out the toasted almonds and hemp seeds until just before serving.
The dressing itself can of course be made in advance and stored covered in the fridge until ready to use.
Shaved Broccoli + Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds + Hemp Seeds
Gluten-free, Refined Sugar Free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Paleo
For the Tahini vinaigrette:
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted tahini
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp pure maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black peppercorn
For the salad:
1/2 lb broccoli (look for fresh-cut stems i.e. not drying out), washed
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, washed and ends trimmed off
1/2 C dried cherries (can substitute dried cranberries)
1/3 C almond slices, toasted
2 tbsp hemp seeds
Kosher salt to taste
1. Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette, whisking until emulsified. Taste and add more salt to taste. Set aside.
2. Make a cut where the broccoli crown meets the stem. Set aside the crown. For each stem, chop off the woodier ends, between 1/2" to 1" depending how fresh it is. Snap off the leaves from the stems. Using a vegetable peeler (I love using a Y-shape one), peel off the tough exterior layer of the stems. There may be nubs along the stem - which the vegetable peeler should be more than able to shave off if you go over it a few times. How much you peel off depends on the freshness of the broccoli. If it is fresh, you should be able to peel just one layer. You can look at the trimmed end of the stalk to get a sense of where the woodier outer layer turns into tender green inner stem. If you need to remove more, go over the stem with the vegetable peeler again. Since it is eaten raw, you'll want only the tender portion of the stems. Once you've trimmed the tough part off, place the stem flat on the cutting board and use long deliberate strokes (from very top to very bottom of the stem), press down and drag the vegetable peeler to create long thin ribbons. You may need to adjust your strength to get the thickness you prefer. You can use a mandolin for this too, but I think a vegetable peeler is safer and easier. For the broccoli crown, use a knife to cut them into very small florets (think bite-size). Place shaved stems and florets into a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut each trimmed Brussels sprout in half, lengthwise. Place the flat side down on the cutting board and using a sharp knife, make thin slices crosswise. Place in the bowl with the broccoli.
4. Add the dried cherries and about 3/4 of the dressing and toss everything well. Taste and add the rest of the dressing and/or sprinkle more salt as needed. You can make it ahead up to this point, refrigerated, for up to 2 days if you want. To serve, remove from the fridge (to take the chill off), add the toasted almonds and hemp seeds and give everything a big toss.
Enjoy and thank you for reading! xx