It’s time to start putting together those holiday menus and having a good salad as a side is a must in my opinion. This Shaved Brussels Sprouts salad with Crispy Bacon is one of my favorite fall salads. Shredded Brussels Sprouts, apples, goat cheese, and a warm bacon vinaigrette make this salad really special.
Normally, I like my brussels sprouts roasted into submission until they are crispy and almost burned, and then tossed with a bright red wine vinegar dressing (like this). But serving them raw, like in this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, is something different entirely. You have to be really careful to balance the flavors, but if you nail it, YOU NAIL IT. It can absolutely be a top side dish for your Thanksgiving table.
How to prepare brussels sprouts for this salad
Brussels Sprouts are a vegetable that a lot of people are scared to prepare. This is with reason as if you prepare them incorrectly they can be less than stellar.
For this salad though, I prefer to keep them raw and just shred them into tiny strands almost like shredded cheese. This keeps their crunch and also minimizes there sometimes bitter flavors.
To shred the sprouts for this salad, I prefer to just use a knife and chop them thinly, but if you wanted to bust out a food processor or something, you could us that to shred the sprouts as well.
- Like Broccoli? Try this Broccoli Crunch Salad!
Do you need to cook Brussels sprouts?
There is a myth on the Internet that it’s unhealthy to eat raw Brussels Sprouts, but it’s just not true. It’s completely safe to eat raw sprouts.
That said, if you take a bite of a raw sprout, it probably won’t give you joy in your day. That’s why I recommend shredding the Brussels Sprouts for this salad.
Making crispy bacon and bacon vinaigrette
There isn’t actually much cooking you need to do for this salad. I would recommend baking the bacon in the oven though so it gets very crispy and you get really clean bacon grease which you can use in the salad dressing!
The trick to the salad dressing? Make a quick warm vinaigrette and pour it over the sprouts RIGHT before serving. Other than that step, you can make this salad entirely in advance. BONUS.
For the vinaigrette, I like to whisk the red wine vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, sugar, and salt together with the warm bacon grease and then pour it straight over the salad. Note that if it’s cold the bacon grease will just congeal. So, it’s best to warm it up gently right before serving.
Other Ingredients for this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
There are only a few other ingredients that I add to this shredded brussels sprouts salad.
I like to add some crunchy nuts like pecans or walnuts and lightly toast my pecans in a skillet over medium heat. Toast them until they are fragrant, but watch them closely as they can burn quickly.
Look at these beauties!
When you’re ready for dinner, toss the sprouts lightly with the warm vinaigrette and then top with all the toppings liked chopped apples, goat cheese, and pecans.
It’s a fantastic salad that has all the flavors I love: sweet, tangy, crispy, savory, creamy. This shaved brussels sprouts salad would go great on any holiday table so just go ahead and bookmark it for next week!
Some ideas and substitutions for this salad
This is a pretty flexible salad and there are some great substitutions you could make for it. I would keep the base brussels sprouts the same though as that is pretty integral to the salad.
- For the dressing ingredients, add some honey or maple syrup to change up the sweetener in the dressing.
- Instead of apples, try dried fruits like dried cranberries or dried blueberries to the salad.
- Change up the nuts by trying other nuts like hazelnuts, walnuts, or pistachios.
- Make it vegetarian by leaving out the sliced bacon or adding some sauteed mushrooms to the salad.
I hope you add this brussels sprouts salad to your Thanksgiving Dinner menu!
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Bacon
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, shredded
- 6 strips bacon, crispy
- 1 medium apple, chopped
- 4 oz. goat cheese
- ½ cup pecans, toasted
- 2 tbsp bacon grease, warm
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 dash hot sauce
- Pinch sugar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place bacon strips on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until the bacon is very crispy. Let crispy bacon drain on a few paper towels and reserve bacon grease for vinaigrette.
- Wash brussels sprouts and slice them in half through the stem. Then shave thin with a sharp knife. Add shaved sprouts to a bowl.
- In a small skillet over low heat, toast pecans until fragrant and lightly browned. Be careful not to burn!
- Right before serving salad, heat bacon grease and other vinaigrette ingredients in a small skillet and swirl together. Don’t simmer the ingredients but heat them and stir until they are combined.
- When ready to serve, drizzle warm vinaigrette over shaved brussels sprouts and then toss with toasted pecans, goat cheese, chopped bacon, and apples. Serve immediately!