Instead of sticking with the same old bed of leafy lettuce for a salad, try a delicious and crunchy alternative: Brussels sprouts. These little green vegetables pack a big nutritional punch! Brussels sprouts are in the same green vegetable family such as kale and broccoli. They are also known as a very nutrient dense food. Foods that are considered nutrient dense are low in calories yet provide a wide variety of macronutrients (ex: carbohydrates, fiber, protein, healthy unsaturated fats) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants). A serving size of Brussels sprouts (raw) contain less than 40 calories while providing nearly 4 grams of fiber, 125% daily value (DV) of vitamin C, 196% DV of vitamin K, and less than 1 gram of fat.
Research has also shown that the amazing nutritional content of Brussels sprouts can lead to a variety of health benefits. Scientists have long since established the important role of vitamin C in immune and skin health along with the role of vitamin K in bone health. However, Brussels sprouts also contain antioxidants that provide their own unique benefits. Brussels sprouts contain high levels of cancer suppressing antioxidants such as chlorophyll and sulforaphane. They also contain alpha-lipoic acid which can help lower blood glucose levels and reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Another unique antioxidant, zeaxanthin, can help protect your eyes from UV-light radiation.
Similar to its vegetable cousin, kale, Brussels sprouts can be slightly bitter when eaten raw. To balance the bitterness of Brussels sprouts, dress your salad with a slightly sweet dressing. Our recommendation is a delicious honey mustard dressing. While salads are often seen as a light and summery dish, this hearty salad is a fall favorite.
Brussels Sprouts Salad:
- 1-2 lbs Brussels Sprouts
- 2 Cups Unsalted Almonds
- 2 Large Shallots
- 1 1/2 Cups Dried Cranberries
- 1/4 Stick Salted Butter
- 1 1/2 Cups Romano or Parmesan Cheese
Home-Made Dijon Dressing:
- 1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Start by washing the Brussels sprouts, dry and then thinly slice each sprout, discarding of the hard bottom.
- When you are about halfway through cutting the Brussels sprouts, place the butter in a medium saucepan and put on low heat
- Thinly slice the shallots and place into the saucepan
- Chop the almonds into pieces and add to the saucepan when the shallots appear translucent
- Stir often and leave on low heat while you slice the remaining Brussels spouts
- Remove the shallots and almonds from the heat and allow to reach room temperature
- Meanwhile, whisk together your dressing ingredients and place in the refrigerator
- Grate your cheese and toss into the Brussels sprouts
- Toss in cranberries and your mixture of shallots and almonds
- Remove your dressing and stir into the salad