This Brussels Sprout Salad with Brown Butter Hazelnut Vinaigrette might just be my favorite holiday recipe. Many people might think that butter sounds weird in a dressing, but it really just takes the place of the oil (you can swap olive oil for the butter if you like). I don’t use a a lot of diary but to me this recipe embodies holiday flavor combinations with the decadence but not the overload. Go ahead, give it a shot- I would love to hear what ya think. If you like this one and want some more, we have our first E-cookbook: 20 Flavor Packed Recipes For Your Contemporary Holiday Feast, all recipes are vegetarian, gluten free and can be made vegan, for your cooking and clean eating pleasure!

Brussels Sprout Salad with Brown Butter Hazelnut Vinaigrette 

10-12 large Brussels Sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves peeled, cut in half and sliced thin (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 medium bulb of fennel, cored and sliced paper thin
1/2 small tart apple, thinly sliced
1/4 small red onion, sliced paper thin
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1/3 of a whole medium fruit)
6 cups baby arugula (5oz bag)
4oz Manchego or pecorino cheese, shaved with a peeler (optional)

4 Tablespoons butter
5 springs of thyme, leaves only
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped by hand- loose skins removed
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or sherry vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon style mustard
4 teaspoons real maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste.


Serves 6-8

Mix the first 4 salad ingredients in a large bowl and set aside, you want these ingredients to be room temperature so that they will mix well with the warm dressing. Mix the apple cider vinegar, mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside.

In a sauce pan melt the butter on medium heat until it starts to lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Add the hazelnuts and toast until the butter and nuts are well browned but not burnt. Remove from heat and add the thyme, be careful as it will pop a bit.

Immediately add the vinegar mixture and mix well. Pour dressing over the sprouts, fennel and onion; toss well. Add the arugula, pomegranate seeds and salt and pepper. Toss well again. Taste and adjust the seasoning adding a bit more vinegar if necessary.

If you are serving on individual plates I like to shave the cheese on top of each plate. If you are serving in the bowl then you can toss the cheese in when you add the arugula.


Tips & Notes~

Do yourself a favor and get a Japanese mandolin (click the link for our video and full details on the mandolin). They are cheap, easy to clean and you elevate your food with the swish of your hand, not to mention they are so much faster than all that cutting! In this recipe I use it for the fennel and the onion. The Brussels sprouts are a bit too small but the slicer attachment to a food processor works really well.

Additions or Substitutions~

You could make this recipe with finely chopped kale in place of the brussels.

Any kind of nut would work really well in place of the hazelnuts, use pumpkin seeds if you are nut-free.

Blue cheese is an amazing swap out for the Manchego.

Make Ahead Tip~ Shave the sprouts and onion and place in the salad bowl with the pomegranate seeds and cover with a damp paper towel. Chop the nuts and shave the cheese and store in separate containers.

Allow the sprouts to come to room temp before making. When ready to serve, shave the fennel into the sprouts and proceed as directed.