Each December I intentionally post a new salad recipe—we all need a night off from eating Christmas cookies and drinking eggnog. But that doesn’t mean that eating a salad instead of holiday fare should be a tasteless chore. If I’ve learned one thing as an adult, it’s that superb salads are completely different from my impression of salad as a child. The best salads don’t skimp on toppings and are tastefully dressed with something that makes store-bought ranch dressing run and hide.
To be 100% honest about this salad in particular, it’s conception came about because I needed a legitimate way to eat my vegan coconut bacon crumbles (other than by the handful). If you take nothing else away from my rambling, at least make the vegan coconut bacon crumbles. They are that good. And this is coming from someone who still eats REAL bacon. But if you make the vegan coconut bacon crumbles, you might as well make the rest of the salad… and then you can enjoy a delicious, homemade salad that makes any childhood memories of wilted greens and ranch dressing a distant and forgotten memory.
SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH VEGAN COCONUT BACON CRUMBLES AND CHIVE-GARLIC DRESSING
serves 6 as a side, 3 as an entrée
1lb shaved brussels sprouts
2/3 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened if you can find them
3/4 cup shaved or slivered almonds
1 large apple, sliced into matchsticks (something with medium tartness and medium sweetness; I used Cripps/Pink Lady)
vegan coconut bacon crumbles (see recipe below)
pecorino cheese, grated (for serving)
chive and garlic dressing:
1 ounce fresh chives
4 large cloves garlic
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
sea salt and black pepper to taste
vegan coconut bacon crumbles:
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
7 ounces coconut flakes, unsweetened and untoasted (roughly 3.5 cups, or 200g)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Make your vegan coconut bacon crumbles: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together the coconut flakes with the melted coconut oil. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Once the mixture is smooth, add to the coconut flakes and toss until evenly coated. Spread on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring several times while baking, until golden brown and edges are beginning to crisp. Let cool after baking (coconut pieces will continue to crisp as they cool).
Make your dressing: In a small food processor or blender, blend together all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble salad: Toss together the shaved brussels, dried cranberries, shaved almonds, apple matchsticks, and vegan coconut bacon crumbles in a large bowl. Add dressing little by little until dressed to your preference. Serve with grated pecorino cheese.
*You can buy brussels pre-shaved, or buy about 1.5 pounds whole brussels. After shaving and discarding the stems, you will have close to 1 pound.