Brussels sprout & pomegranate salad
Despite being a brussels sprout skeptic, I’m now a convert, thanks in no part to a raw brussels sprout salad I tried at a potluck picnic and the blogosphere’s bacony embrace of a formerly much maligned childhood memory. Yet I’m a little late to the party, probably because I don’t like or eat bacon (gasp!). However, this beautiful salad at Voracious Vander wouldn’t leave my daydreaming foodie brain, and now I too am a convert. Maple dijon vinaigrette? Yes please. Pretty-as-a-picture pomegranate seeds with crispy greens, crunchy moreish toasted nuts, and chewy grains (I used brown rice instead of barley as I had it on hand)? Sign me up. To make this a meal unto itself, all I did was use more brown rice and add some marinated tofu for extra protein, but the tofu also adds a nice softness. I don’t think I’ll bother marinating it next time though (maybe brining it instead) – there’s plenty of flavour in this already! The dressing is amaaaazing – moreish, tangy and sweet all at the same time.
Oh also – this salad helped me make another earth shattering discovery – that deseeding a pomegranate is actually dead easy, and kind of fun! Also, don’t laugh, but I totally didn’t realise you could just eat the inside of the seed. All this time I’ve been missing out on this amazing salad ingredient, which even my fruit-doesn’t-belong-in-savoury-food boyfriend now likes. Enthusiastically. Life changing moment people. If pomegranates are ridiculously expensive where you live (and I say this having lived in New Zealand, where an unreasonable number of fruit and veg are exotically priced, to put it politely), head to a nearby Middle Eastern grocery store and get your hands on some pomegranate molasses. You could also use dried cranberries as the fruity component, and lemon juice for acidity. If maple syrup costs half your weekly grocery budget, use runny honey or even golden syrup instead. There really shouldn’t be barriers to you making this, it’s too delicious and crazily good for you to boot. Hell, you could even use regular white cabbage.
Lastly, if you haven’t got fried shallots (sometimes sold as fried red onion or just onion at Asian supermarkets) in your pantry, I highly recommend them. They make everything aggressively delicious. Really. They’re not particularly pricey either, so thank me later.
Brussels sprout & pomegranate salad
serves 3 as a main or 4-6 as a side salad
- around 3/4 c brown rice, soaked overnight
- seeds from one pomegranate
- around 2 cups finely sliced brussels sprouts*
- generous handful toasted nuts of your choice (I used slivered almonds)
- optional: fried shallots (or super super thin fresh red shallots)
- optional: brined firm tofu strips**
*Cut brussels sprout in half first along the stem bit, then slice each half across the stem.
**When you’re soaking your rice the night before, just sit your tofu (uncut is fine) in water and add some salt. That’s it.
Add about 1.5x as much water as rice to saucepan, add rice. Bring to rapid boil (around 7 minutes), reduce heat to lowest setting and let cook for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, let sit for at least ten minutes.
Uncover pot of rice and add all ingredients above except nuts and shallots. Stir through dressing (below), taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve, then sprinkle over shallots and nuts so they stay crispy crunchy.
- salt & pepper to taste
Scant Tablespoon each (or to taste):
- dijon mustard
- maple syrup, runny honey or golden syrup
- pomegranate molasses, lemon juice or a nice vinegar (not the white stuff)
- extra virgin olive oil or neutral cooking oil