During the holidays, it’s easy to eat rich and high-caloric foods. We’re visiting with family and friends as well as going to open houses and office parties, where we are treating ourselves to a wide assortment festive foods of the holidays. It’s all good — everything in moderation, right? Try not to demonize the foods — if you are going to eat them, enjoy them mindfully.
I often try to remind myself that this won’t be the last time I eat [insert name of food on the buffet table]. I can always go back for more if I’m still hungry or there will be something special tomorrow. It’s always a balancing act. That’s why I try to focus on side dishes that offer an array of fruits and vegetables. Some of the side dishes are cooked and some are salads like the salad that I am featuring here. Even guests or family members who don’t like kale or brussel sprouts will probably enjoy this healthy side salad. You can even add a piece of fish or chicken and make it a main dish.
This recipe is very versatile. You can change the ratio of brussel sprouts and kale that you use. You can make it with just kale or just brussel sprouts. You can use a different dried fruit or a different cheese. This works really well with a goat cheese/chevre. Considering using a different flavor profile for the salad dressing. Perhaps make it a Caesar salad! Use what’s in your pantry and you will end up with a lovely accompaniment to all the rich foods you are enjoying at this time of year. Maybe make a double batch and share some with a neighbor or friend in need.
Best wishes to you for the holiday season.
Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
Ingredients for dressing
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for salad
1 bag (12 ounces) kale (Tuscan or curly), rinsed and dried (I prefer Tuscan/Lacinato/Dinosaur kale as it is more tender)
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped (feel free to substitute walnuts, pecans or pine nuts)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (use the real stuff, not the cheese in the green topped can)
Make the dressing: Place the lemon juice, mustard and maple syrup or honey in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in the shallot and garlic. Whisk the olive oil into the lemon mixture until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Make the salad: Remove and discard the center stems of the kale. Stack the leaves on top of each other and slice them thinly crosswise to create what is called a chiffonade. (If you are pressed for time, remove the center stems but chop the leaves in the food processor, pulsing the machine on and off until the pieces of kale are the size you want.) Place the kale in a large serving bowl.
Cut the stem ends off the brussels sprouts and, using a sharp knife, cut them in half lengthwise and then thinly slice the halves crosswise. Place the brussels sprouts in the bowl with the kale and toss to combine.
To serve, toss the kale and brussels sprout mixture with the dressing. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and toss to combine it well. Sprinkle the almonds and cranberries over the top of the salad and serve.
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.