Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pistachios & Warm Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette

131124 brussels sprouts salad 2

You think your Thanksgiving menu is set? You’re going to want to change it.

I humbly present your new favorite Thanksgiving side—fresh and crisp thanks to shredded raw Brussels sprouts, with salty nuggets of bacon and crunchy, toasted pistachios, all tossed in a warm, tangy, faintly sweet dressing made with some of that bacon fat (oooo), apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup. I ate—no, devoured—the inspiration a few weeks ago at Pies ‘n’ Thighs, a Southern-inflected Williamsburg favorite. This weekend I tinkered and tested until I came up with a version that’s so irresistible, my Brussels sprouts-hating husband had seconds.

You read that right: It’s so good, it converts even the haterz.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I’m knee-deep in a variation on last year’s theme—we’re doing a small feast here, so I’m handling almost all the cooking. What are your plans?

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pistachios & Warm Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6

Note: You can use turkey bacon here if you prefer—on occasions other than Thanksgiving I probably will. You’ll need to add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the dressing in place of the bacon fat, and accept that the smoky, bacony flavor won’t be as pronounced.

4-6 strips bacon (depending on how much you love bacon)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt & plenty of freshly ground pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, thinly shredded (I used a mandoline)
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios

  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. When crisp, drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat.
  2. Quickly and carefully add the vinegar and maple syrup to the skillet—if your pan is super-hot it’ll sputter and steam. Add the salt & pepper and stir to combine.
  3. Add the shredded sprouts and toss quickly. Transfer to a large bowl and crumble the bacon into the bowl—leave some sizable pieces—and add the pistachios.
  4. Toss once more and serve. If you prefer something a little more slaw-like, let it sit for 30 minutes before serving.

MAKE BABY FOOD: Sorry, this isn’t for the under-one crowd.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Katie

    I just found your site and I really love it- I’ve been reading like crazy since last night! I have two kids, a 7 year old (somewhat) recovering picky eater, and a 2 year old who cannot be reasoned with picky eater. I can’t wait to try some of your ideas and recipes, especially serving meals family style – I always serve plates because it’s easier, but my 2 year old is a real do-it-myselfer so serving herself might really help.

    Anyway, about this recipe – it looks so good, I’d love to try it this week but I’ve vowed not to brave the grocery store again before Thanksgiving. Would cabbage be a good substitute, or would I be better off to wait to try the brussel sprouts? What do they taste like raw?


    1. Debbie Koenig

      Hi Katie, thanks for the kind words! Oy on the picky kids–if you haven’t already check out the books of Ellyn Satter, RD. She’s awesome.

      I hear you on the supermarket-avoidance (though I just came back from mine & it was lovely and quiet). I’d say you could do it with cabbage but it’ll be a little more, well, cabbagey. Raw brussels sprouts are milder than raw cabbage, in my opinion.

  2. Jody

    On total faith I am making these for tomorrow, untested! We have an abundance of scoopable foods (mashed potatoes, sauteed greens etc) and a dearth of spearables – much-needed for my mostly carnivorous family – so I’m going to try a variation using pan-roasted halves with the same dressing. Will report back on results. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Paula Hartson

    This was great. I added some left over turkey breast and some pomegranate seeds. Made for a delicious dinner. Thanks so much for the recipe.

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