for years – my whole life, to be precise – i’ve been convinced that i hate brussels sprouts. growing up, they were always served steamed. healthy? yes. remotely palatable? heck no. honestly though, aside from maybe corn on the cob, what vegetable is good cooked with water?? over the past few years, i’ve been slowly discovering that all of those yucky steamed vegetables that i shunned as a kid are actually quite delicious, as long as you do anything but steam them.
despite the fact that i liberated asparagus and broccoli from the gross list and put them firmly on the delicious list literally the minute i first tried them cooked a different way, brussels sprouts were just stuck on the gross list. i think it didn’t help that the first time i tried to roast them… i burned them. and while that’s basically the opposite of cooking them in water, it’s really not much better.
fast forward to a few weeks ago when i was browsing the gorgeous looking recipes over at gimme some oven. now, i’ve tried to get better about eating a larger variety of vegetables (even going so far as to declare 2013 “the year of the leafy green”) but i was still totally surprised to find myself reading a recipe that was made up of a bunch of raw – RAW! – brussels sprouts. and thinking i might actually give it a try.
so i dutifully added it to the meal plan for the week and put “brussels sprouts” to the grocery list. standing at the produce bin, i nearly bailed on the whole idea but i talked myself into filling a bag half full with those little green cabbage things. aaaand then i brought them home and left them in the fridge for a week and a half while studiously avoiding that recipe i had planned to make. because, really, brussels sprouts. raw. what was i thinking?!
luckily i buy produce at the most amazingly fresh place in the whole big world so those little green guys waited patiently for my next attack of courage. finally, my hatred of wasting food won out over my hatred of brussels sprouts and i started pulling out the ingredients for this recipe i had been so committed to making for a split second two weeks ago.
the first break came when i realized the recipe was pretty simple, so at least i wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time making something that i wasn’t going to like. the second break came when i discovered that feeding brussels sprouts into the food processor with the slicer blade running is seriously the most fun ever! it’s totally my new favorite kitchen hobby. it’s satisfying in the way that vacuuming a clean streak through a thick layer of sawdust or some other serious mess is satisfying. no? just me? ok, moving on…
so after having the most fun you can safely have in the kitchen while preparing a meal, i threw the rest of the ingredients together. and immediately realized that a) I LOVE BRUSSELS SPROUTS and b) i must make all of the raw brussels sprouts salads ever immediately. seriously. SO. GOOD. i instantly started dreaming about all of the excuses to shred brussels sprouts different ingredients that i could combine with these delicious, crunchy, mild tasting little health nuggets.
so here is my first raw brussels sprout salad! because cherries are de-lic-ious and in season right now, i put a bunch of rainier cherries in there, but if you prefer regular cherries, you could absolutely substitute those or even grapes if the always-too-brief cherry season doesn’t align with your all-the-time desire to feed brussels sprouts to the food processor. i also added toasted sliced almonds for crunch and ricotta salata for extra deliciousness. finally, a little bit of red onion and a simple dressing, along with quinoa, round out the salad and give it a bit of protein. aaaand voila, i <3 brussels sprouts salad #2 is born! more to come, friends, more brussels sprouts salads to come…
- 16 oz. (454 g.) brussels sprouts
- 16 oz. (454 g.) fresh rainier cherries (or regular cherries or even red grapes), stems removed, cut in half, and pitted
- 6 3/8 oz. (1 cup) of uncooked quinoa
- 3 1/8 oz. (1 cup) sliced almonds
- 5 oz. (scant 1 3/4 cups) ricotta salata, coarsely shredded, divided (if you can’t find this, you could substitute pecorino romano or parmesan)
- 1/2 of a small red onion (1/2 cup), thinly sliced then diced
- 1/4 cup fresh citrus juice (we liked a blend of orange and lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T white wine vinegar
- cook the quinoa according to package directions. spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet to cool faster (so that it won’t melt the cheese).
- rinse the brussels sprouts. cut off the ends. if you have a food processor, set it up with the slicer blade and enjoy the pure joy of dropping the sprouts down the shoot. if you don’t have a food processor, thinly slice the sprouts. once they are all sliced, give them a good bath in a salad spinner or large bowl to get all the trapped grit out. spin or drain and pat them dry.
- toast the sliced almonds without burning them – use your preferred method or put them in a heavy bottomed saute pan over low/medium heat and stir/watch constantly. remove them from the pan as soon as they are almost toasted enough as they will keep toasting a bit off heat.
- combine the cooled quinoa, brussels sprouts, cherries, almonds, red onion, and 4 oz. of the ricotta salata. toss gently to combine.
- combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.
- pour dressing over salad and toss gently. top with remaining 1 oz. ricotta salata.