No burying the lead in this post, folks: I’m nuts about this Brussels sprouts salad. I want to tell you I almost cried when I tasted it, but then I’d have to tell you how my brother almost rolls his eyes whenever he hears me say that. “Yeah, that tortilla soup you posted is good,” he told me a few months ago after he’d read about it here and then tested it at home, “but it’s not like I cried about it.”

My brother thinks he’s very funny.

Brussels Sprouts Salad

I saw that brother—and my mom and my dad, and my in-laws, and Tim’s cousins, and his aunt, and his sister and her family, and his sweet grandma Emily, and my dear friend Jacqui—last weekend, in the midst of an epic few days in which Tim and his brother, Nathan, and I drove five hours to Ohio and five hours to Chicago before Nathan flew back and Tim and I drove eight hours home. We left Friday and came back Tuesday and, writing this now, I almost can’t remember what day it is, let alone where I’m sitting as I type. But before we left, inspired by versions of this I’ve seen everywhere from Shutterbean to Gluten-Free Girl to Instagram, I made this shredded Brussels sprouts salad.

Brussels Sprouts

I told my parents and Adam about this salad in the corner restaurant where we ate in downtown Glen Ellyn last Sunday. Tim was at the Cubs-Reds game. My parents were meeting me and Adam there. While we waited for them, we strolled historic Main Street in the sunny, gorgeous 70-something degrees. I admired Rifle Paper Co. journals in a gift shop. Adam walked me across the train tracks to the local thrift store (but it was closed). We caught a quick glimpse of my beloved Honey Café. And along the way, I saw a new pizza place and leaned towards the windows, cupping my hands around the glass for a better view inside.

“It’s not open during the day,” a white-haired man called out to me, coming closer as he did.

“Oh, I saw that,” I responded, catching Adam’s eye in the way you do with a sibling who, trained through decades of shared life experience, will understand with you when a situation is strange. “I was just looking in the windows to check it out.”

“Do you like those white streaks in the sky?” he was pointing to the clear blue above us now, directing my eyes towards what seemed to be jet fuel lines.

“Oh, sure,” I said as my gaze followed his arm. Not sure what he was getting at, I offered a “Well, it is really such a beautiful day.”

“That’s your government at work!” he responded, frustrated, mumbling, but now shuffling away. “Ruining the sky!” he called out as he left.

I turned the other way with Adam, and, inside the restaurant, we met my parents, who ordered beef brisket sandwiches with Adam’s grilled cheese and my market plate (kale salad, Southwestern quinoa, sesame roasted carrots and zucchini). From a large, window-front table so big I’d have to stretch to reach across, we ate as the four of us, in a way we haven’t done since Nashville entered the scene. I told them about the white-haired man. We laughed about how strangers always talk to me. Then, something came up about Brussels sprouts, and I took the bait.

Shredding Brussels Sprouts

“Mom, you wouldn’t believe it. Brussels sprouts in salad: it’s amazing! You shred them in the food processor and combine them with a dressing and roasted nuts and dates. It’s incredible. It’s like a whole new level. They’re so good, I’m not kidding, when I tasted them, I almost cried.”

Cue Adam: “I’ve heard you say that before.”

Brussels Sprouts Salad Bowl

Let me just tell you, this salad is incredible. By shredding the raw Brussels sprouts, you break down their hearty, fibrous bodies into what feels more like cabbage or lettuce. And when you combine those shredded pieces with a lemony oil dressing that soaks in and softens them just a tad, the only thing better is having them with the toasted walnuts and dates placed on top.

I’m not saying these shredded Brussels sprouts will make you cry—I’m saying they’re good enough to, and so, for your own good, you’ve got to try them, soon.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Dates
Makes around four hefty servings

You’ll note in the directions that I added the dates at the end; that’s because I only decided to add them at all at the last minute. Good decision—the sweet chewiness adds another layer of texture and flavor to the salad. Of course, I’m sure it’d be fine to throw them in with walnuts and Brussels sprouts at the beginning, but, because I liked this version so much, I’m leaving all the directions as is.

1 pound Brussels sprouts
4 ounces (or what should measure a cup) walnuts
12 dates, pitted

for the dressing:
Juice of a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon (or up to 1tsp)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

Wash the Brussels sprouts and trim off their woody ends. Pulse in food processor until evenly shredded throughout. Place in bowl.

Toast walnuts in skillet on the stove for about four or five minutes, until darkened and fragrant.

Meanwhile make dressing: whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, apple cider vinegar. It should come together into a nice dressing consistency.

Chop roasted walnuts in food processor (no need to wash it out from the Brussels sprouts), pulsing two or three times until small. Add to Brussels sprouts in bowl. Pour dressing on top; toss; salt and pepper to taste.

For the final touch: chop the dates in food processor (again, no need to wash it), pulsing until small, and add them to bowl and toss.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 48 Comments

  1. Laura

    Shanna! Strangers always talk to me too! And say crazy things about the government ruining the sky. And I am THE WORST at responding/not being the most awkward human being ever.

    Also, feeling like you could almost cry over a salad is totally normal around here. Maybe we should hang out? ;) This dish sounds a-mazing. Glad you had a lovely time with your fam!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ahahaha! Oh my goodness, I would love to hang out. Can you imagine what sort of combined stranger-attracting power we could create?

  2. Kathryn

    Ha, I’m another one who always gets the random stranger talk which is ironic because I really hate making small talk. I just nod and smile and frantically look round for an escape route.

    This salad sounds just lovely and I really like how easy it is. Just shove things in the food processor and go!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Kathryn! It’s so ironic for me, too. All my life, I’ve been told I’m unapproachable to people who know me. But strangers disagree, haha!

  3. Katie (A Fork in Hand)

    I’m yet another lucky lady who strangers just love to talk to. Sometimes it’s actually pretty great because I end up meeting some of the most interesting people, but just as often it drives me crazy because, well, I end up meeting some of the most “interesting” people. Shanna and Laura, it sounds like you both know exactly what I’m talking about!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha! At least these “interesting” moments make for some good laughs.

  4. erin

    I’ve been brainstorming what I want to make for the cross-country haul and I’m thinking there is room in the cooler for this. I love shaved Brussels Sprouts and I love how simple this salad is!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Do it, Erin! It’d be great roadtrip food. And happy traveling! Wishing you all the best!

  5. Jacqui

    Can I hang out with you and your brother sometime?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha, I would love that!

  6. Kelley

    What?? Shredding raw Brussels sprouts? I love this idea! Can’t wait to try it — Steve loves them so much and we need at least some ideas that don’t involve (ahem) bacon. :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha, I still remember your bacon/Brussels sprouts recipe being one of my first encounters with the vegetable. : )

  7. Lan | morestomach

    all i know are:
    dw does not like brussels sprouts, but maybe he’d like this? especially if i tell him it’s make you cry good.
    siblings are great that way and your brother sounds way cool.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha! I have to say I was already a Brussels sprouts fan before this salad. I would love to hear what a non-Brussels-sprouts lover thinks, though!

  8. brandi

    i must be a stranger magnet, too – stuff like that happens to me all the time!

    this salad sounds perfect. i love salads like this!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      You know what, Brandi? I could see that with you! You have a sweet presence. Now myself on the other hand…

  9. Ricki

    I love the simplicity of this salad! I tried raw brussels sprouts for the first time last summer and fell in love, but they weren’t the “star” of that salad. Can’t wait to give this a try. :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, please tell me what you think, Ricki! Brussels sprouts are definitely the star here. : )

  10. Lindsey

    This looks amazing! I’ve always taken it for granted that brussels sprouts need to be heated in order to be edible. I stand corrected and cannot wait to try, tears and all.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Lindsey, I’m new to the raw Brussels sprouts idea, too, but I am soooold. Please tell me what you think when you try this!

  11. Kathryne

    A few days ago I tasted a slice of pizza so good, I could have cried. Actually I felt more like my taste buds were singing hallelujah. I am a big fan of shredded raw brussels sprouts and this salad sounds so very delicious!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Girl after my own heart!!

  12. Felicia @ Dish by Dish

    Shanna, you had me laughing to bits at my office desk. It was a good idea to take a break from drab reports to read your blog. Adam sounds just like my brother; I can imagine him rolling his eyes and responding in the exact same manner. and saying something along the lines of “Puh-leez. how can food make you cry…??”.

    on another not, shredded brussel sprouts is a novelty. I’ll have to try this one. Love how you come up with amazing recipes each week, and so much of it done in blenders! Very practical.

    good weekend dear!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh my goodness, I love my food processor (and my Vitamix!) and use them ALL THE TIME, haha. : ) Happy weekend to you, too.

  13. Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic

    Brussels sprouts + dates is one of the most surprisingly incredible combinations of flavor I’ve ever tasted. I’m also so glad you shredded your sprouts in a food processor, rather than hand peeling and cutting them (which I’ve done, and it’s excruciating). I am definitely going to try this recipe!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Nora, I read a description somewhere of a blogger slicing her Brussels sprouts with a mandolin and it freaked me out so much. Trust me, I am not the person to be trusted with that task! Food processors make these sorts of tasks so much easier!

  14. J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    Just had a salad (duck confit, frisee, marcona almonds) with dates for the first time and loooved them. Had never thought of using them in a salad but I think they are lovely with bitter greens.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      J.S. That sounds DELICIOUS.

  15. Harriet

    I had brussels sprouts for dinner last night, a whole bowl full, sauteed with salt and pepper, buttered leeks, lemon zest and lots of grated parmesan. They were good, but could have been better had there been more in my fridge than sprouts, lemon, leek and parmesan! Wish I had seen this beforehand – most definitely would have persuaded a trip to the supermarket!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Mmm, Harriet, you’ve got my mouth watering!

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  17. Marie @ Little Kitchie

    Haha, I’ll back you up on that soup – I love it that much too! :) Just made Momofuku’s roasted brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette last night, and I was going on and on with my husband about how I could live on them. Still haven’t tried a brussels sprouts salad, so I’m pinning yours to try! I don’t have a food processor though – any tips on how to get them so prettily shredded without one?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Marie, From what I’ve read, people use anything from a paring knife to a mandolin to a grater, so you can definitely find a solution that works for you. I’d probably try my blender first if that’s possible (and it’s high-powered, able to cut frozen fruit for example). Cutting a pound of Brussels sprouts scares me. That said, a lot of other bloggers have done it, so just be careful! : )

  18. Helene @ French Foodie Baby

    A woman who cries of happiness about food (especially Brussels Sprouts) is a woman after my own heart :-) This is so original and sounds delicious, now on my Pinterest recipe to do list, and probably next week on our menu. :-)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha, we are such kindred spirits! : )

  19. Julie

    Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. I read this post yesterday, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this salad. Must make!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      That excitement is entirely appropriate, Julie. Please tell me what you think about this when you try it!

  20. Vicki

    Strangers always talk to me too, especially in the summer when I am asked to be a good corporate resident of Chicago to answer all the tourists questions. In fact last night as I was waiting for the water taxi I got asked the oh-so-familiar question of whether this is the boat to the train station. The guy seemed nice and offered me some Garrett’s popcorn for answering his question but since I’m very strong at small talk, it was hard to respond to his chit chat while we waited for the boat to dock. Have you ever roasted brussel sprouts? Usually not a fan of this vegetable but that changed last year when we had this amazing roasted brussel sprout dish at the Purple Pig.

    1. Vicki

      Oh no a typo. Meant to say since I’m NOT very strong at small talk.

      1. Shanna Mallon

        Haha, I knew what you meant. : ) And, Vicki, yes! Roasted Brussels sprouts are the best thing ever. I eat them like candy.

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  24. Miriam

    Shanna…just wanted to let you know that I tried this for Thanksgiving. I followed the recipe exactly as directed with no variations. It was flavorful and easy to make. A keeper! Thank you!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      oh, Miriam, yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming over to say so!

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