Calling all Brussels sprout lovers! For those with a sophisticated palate yearning for nutty and bitter flavours, this purple Brussels sprouts salad is made for you. The fragrant spices and heavenly honey add depth to the recipe. Perfect for that special occasion!
- Why You’ll Love This Salad
- What Are Purple Brussels Sprouts?
- Is It Brussel Sprout or Brussels Sprout?
- Why I Love Microgreens and Why You Should Too
- What are Pepitas?
- Recipe Overview
- How to Roast Brussels Sprouts
- How To Make Roasted Pepitas and Seeds
- How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette
- How to Assemble the Salad
- Variations and Substitutions
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Salad
Brussels sprouts are not everyone’s cup of tea. Despite my best efforts, it’s still the one vegetable that has eluded my attempts of getting my daughter to eat. For many, it’s also a vegetable that seems to grow on you with maturity.
Perhaps our palates crave produce that is a little different when we’re older, but most people I know only develop a liking for Brussels sprouts in adulthood. I certainly fall into that category too, and now I love it! So if you’re like me, you’ll definitely enjoy this purple Brussels sprouts salad recipe.
Purple Brussels sprouts are simply stunning. Easily found during the colder months at your local supermarket, they don’t lose their colour when you roast them in the oven, unlike purple broccolini or purple beans.
Carbs in Brussels sprouts are low too. At about 8g per cup, it’s the perfect low carb vegetable to consume on a regular basis.
The spiced seeds are something a little different to add to the Brussels sprouts recipe, while the microgreens provide a delicate component.
This is definitely a salad recipe for entertaining, for the Christmas table or Thanksgiving as it sits right next to that turkey.
What Are Purple Brussels Sprouts?
Purple Brussels sprouts are a hybrid between red cabbage and green Brussels sprouts, and much like most of the purple coloured vegetables, the purple hues occur as the plants mature and when the weather gets colder. Hence, you’ll be able to find them during the winter months at your grocers.
There are 2 varieties of purple Brussels sprouts. The Rubine and the Falstaff. Red rubine Brussels sprouts were crossbred in the mid-1950s, and despite it being a relatively new variety, it is considered an heirloom vegetable. We used the Red rubine for our Red Brussels Sprouts and Zhoug Sauce.
The Falstaff is open pollinated and a newer variety that is a single sprout.
Just like their green counterparts, they have compact round leaves held together by a thick stem. However, the purple Brussels sprouts are usually smaller in size. If you’re wondering if purple Brussels sprouts taste different to the green variety, they are slightly nuttier and sweeter in flavour.
As you peel the leaves off, you’ll most likely find the colours can vary from deep purple to green, topped by a red tinge in its veins and tips. They resemble flower petals and the edges crisp up slightly when you roast them in the oven.
Is It Brussel Sprout or Brussels Sprout?
The correct spelling of this vegetable is Brussels sprout. And the reason it’s with an ‘s’ is that it’s named after the Belgian city of Brussels as that’s where it was cultivated in the 16th century. So, in fact, not only does it have the ‘s’, it should be capitalised!
Why I Love Microgreens and Why You Should Too
Microgreens are salad leaves harvested small. So, no, it’s not a passing fad, nor is it just another attempt at pompous plating.
In fact, many green thumbs are getting microgreen seeds and planting them themselves as they are so easy to grow. With so many different types of microgreen seeds available, the selection is endless!
I personally love them for several reasons:
- The textures are softer, which makes them easier to eat. It also makes the salad look lighter.
- Microgreen salad leaves are, of course, smaller, which means it’s easier to eat. No cutting is required, and salad dressing doesn’t get smeared on the outside of your mouth. I know this has happened to you when you tried to shove a large piece of lettuce in your mouth and it got messy.
- The leaves are simply fluffier, eradicating the occasional hard veins or sharp tips.
- Microgreens are gorgeous, and yes, I consider aesthetics all the time when creating a salad, especially when I’m entertaining. They also make for a great garnish alternative as not all salads command herbs.
- Because they are small, they are a great way to incorporate some green leaves in a salad without making it the hero of the dish. They are more conspicuous and can be hidden amongst ingredients you prefer to showcase.
- And lastly, they are delicious! Simple as that.
What are Pepitas?
There is a common misconception that pepitas are pumpkins seeds. Well, you wouldn’t be entirely incorrect in thinking so. Pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds.
But if you’ve ever tried to pry open a pumpkin seed, you’d find that the seeds aren’t the green pepitas you’re used to buying from the store. They are, in fact, pale in colour.
Pepitas come from pumpkins that produce seeds without shells. So yes, they are pumpkin seeds, except that they have to come from a specific type of pumpkin. In their natural form, these shell-free seeds are green as we know them.
They are called pepitas because the Mexicans have been eating them since Aztec times. It is the Spanish word for “little seed of squash.” And the Mexicans used pepitas regularly in their culinary repertoire.
Flavour/Texture: Roasting Brussels sprouts soften the overall hard crunch of the vegetable. The individual leaves have slightly crisp edges accompanied by delicate microgreens and crunchy homemade spiced seeds.
Brussels sprouts, both green and purple, have a tinge of bitterness which is why most people like them in the first place. The roasted sunflower seeds and pepitas are laced with aromatic spices that help to enhance the roasted brussels sprouts.
Ease: Removing the leaves of the purple Brussels sprouts is delicate work, requiring some gentle handling. The roasted pepitas and sunflower seeds are simply tossed in spices and placed in the oven with the Brussels sprouts.
Time: Most of the time for this salad is prep work, which can be done in advance. It only takes 10 minutes in the oven, so that’s a quick roasting process.
These are the ingredients you need for Roasted Purple Brussels Sprouts Salad.
Brussels sprouts: We need both green and purple. Make sure the leaves are tightly bound, not browning or wilting. If you’re only able to purchase them in large bags, you can freeze Brussels sprouts easily. Frozen Brussels sprouts defrost well and can be used again easily.
Microgreen: You’re after a microgreen salad mix which is more readily available in supermarkets nowadays. They can be mixed or of the same variety, whichever is easier to find.
Pepitas and sunflower seeds: You’ll be able to find this easily in any supermarket. If you’re able to buy them in a loose form, that would be best. If you can’t, make some extra sliced seeds for later as they make for a great snack. They are so moreish!
Olive oil: Both roasting and dressing.
Balsamic vinegar and honey: Glazed Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar and honey is delicious. Gives the green Brussels sprouts a point of difference in flavour from the leaves of the purple Brussels sprouts.
Cumin powder, cinnamon, paprika and sugar: These are the spices required to make roasted sunflower seeds and pepitas. These spiced seeds add depth to the salad recipe.
Salt: To taste
Step by step instructions for making Roasted Purple Brussels Sprouts Salad.
How to Roast Brussels Sprouts
Let’s start with the purple Brussels sprouts. We want to remove each leaf by hand, one by one. And we want to do so gently, so the entire leaf is intact to resemble a flower petal. The leaves, however, are tightly bound, so they are not so easy to pry open without tearing them.
To avoid this, I cut off a bit of the stem where the outer layer is held—cutting off the stem releases the leaves easily.
When I get to the point where the inner leaves are again too hard to pull apart, I cut a bit more of the stem. Beware not to cut off too much as otherwise, the leaves become too short. Keep going with this process until you get all the leaves you can.
Place the leaves in a mixing bowl, add a tbsp of olive oil and gently coat them well—season with a bit of salt. Place the oiled leaves on a sheet pan and put in the oven at 180°C or 350°F for 3 mins. Remove and set aside to cool.
With the green Brussels sprouts, cut them into quarters. In a mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp of honey. Mix thoroughly. Place them on a sheet pan and put in the oven at 180°C or 350°F for 5 mins. Remove and set aside to cool.
How To Make Roasted Pepitas and Seeds
In a small mixing bowl, add sunflower seeds, pepitas, cumin powder, cinnamon, paprika and sugar and mix until well combined.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the coated seeds out evenly. Place in the oven at 180°C or 350°F for 10 mins. Remove and set aside to cool.
How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is the simplest of all dressings so as not to take away the strong flavours of the Brussels sprouts.
Simply mix 3 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
This is another build rather than toss salad. No mixing or tossing, please, to keep the Brussels sprouts intact. They are quite fragile after the roasting process.
Spread ¾ of the microgreens evenly across the base of the serving platter. Next, place ½ the purple and green Brussels sprouts on top, followed by ¼ of the spiced seeds. Make sure that some of the purple leaves are placed strategically so that your guests can see the lovely purple hues.
Drizzle half the dressing on top.
Place the rest of the microgreens on top, followed by the Brussels sprouts and seeds. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over salad and serve immediately.
Variations and Substitutions
Microgreen replacement: If you’re unable to find microgreen salad, you can replace it with snow pea shoots or even alfalfa.
Reduce spice: If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, make sure you’re using sweet paprika and not hot paprika.
Vegan option: Remove the honey to make this recipe vegan and low FODMAP friendly. You can use maple syrup or organic rice malt syrup.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with Roasted Purple Brussels Sprouts Salad? Try these delicious main dish recipes.
Spatchcock turkey: This spatchcock turkey recipe is a whole turkey that’s been brined, then flattened and roasted until golden brown. A spatchcocked turkey cooks significantly faster than a traditional roast turkey, and comes out tender and juicy every time! For the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you complement it with this gorgeous roasted purple Brussels sprouts salad.
Pistachio crusted salmon: This may seem like a fancy salmon recipe but you will be surprised how EASY it is to make! The salmon crust is perfectly complemented by the sweet and savoury maple Dijon glaze. Serve it up with this stunning roasted purple Brussels sprouts salad for the perfect finish.
Pork tenderloin with gravy: This is dinner goals. Tender, flavourful, herb-crusted pork tenderloin smothered with creamy savoury oh-so-delicious white cream gravy. An elegant, satisfying main dish that is crazy easy to make. Complemented by this fabulous side salad, you’ll be coming back for more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Purple Brussels sprouts are an heirloom variety that is generally smaller in size compared to the green Brussels sprouts. They have distinctive purple hues with red veins, and they are slightly sweeter and nuttier as well.
From a nutrition perspective, carbs in Brussels sprouts are low; they are high in fibre and contain much needed vitamins and minerals. Definitely a vegetable worth consuming on a more regular basis.
Purple Brussels sprouts are available during the cooler months, which is why it’s such a popular vegetable side dish to have during Thanksgiving and Christmas. As these purple Brussels sprouts contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give them a purple hue, they are vibrant when the weather is cold.
Purple Brussels sprouts are becoming easier to find and are stocked in regular supermarkets. If not, market grocers or farmers markets are your best bet.
The best way to store purple Brussels sprouts is in a produce bag in the refrigerator. They can last a week and sometimes more. Don’t wash them prior to putting them in the refrigerator, as the moisture may cause mould.
Yes, sometimes purple Brussels sprouts can turn blue after they’ve been exposed to heat. This is perfectly normal and can be consumed normally.
The most popular way to eat Brussels sprouts is to roast them. This way, they are softened yet remain crunchy, cooked evenly all the way through. You can also sous vide them and give them a quick toss in a fry pan just before serving, or you can even enjoy them raw by shaving them thinly, such as in our Keto Brussels Sprouts Salad with Shaved Parmesan.
This has got to be the best Brussels sprout recipe both in taste and presentation. The nutty and bitter flavours of the Brussel sprouts are softened by the roasting process and complemented by a hint of heat and aromatics from the spicy pepitas.
This is quite a sophisticated salad recipe, perfect for those special occasions, Thanksgiving or Christmas.
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Roasted Purple Brussels Sprouts Salad
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Cut a bit off the stem off the purple Brussels sprouts. Gently remove the leaves individually. When you’re unable to remove the leaves easily, cut off a bit more of the stem to release the leaves. Do so until you have done as much as you can.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, gently coat the purple Brussels sprout leaves with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt. Place the oiled leaves on a sheet pan in the oven at 180°C or 350°F for 3 mins. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Cut the green Brussels sprouts into quarters. In a mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp of honey. Mix thoroughly. Place on a sheet pan and place in the oven at 180°C or 350°F for 5 mins. Remove and set aside to cool.
- In a small mixing bowl, add sunflower seeds, pepitas, cumin powder, cinnamon, paprika and sugar and mix until well combined. Line a sheet pan with baking paper and spread the spiced seeds out evenly. Place in the oven at 180°C or 350°F for 10 mins. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Mix 3 tbsp of olive oil with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Mix until well combined.
- Spread ¾ of the micro salad evenly across the base of the serving platter.
- Place ½ the purple and green Brussels sprouts on top followed by ¼ of the spiced seeds.
- Drizzle half the dressing on top.
- Place the rest of the micro salad on top, followed by the Brussels sprouts and seeds.
- Drizzle the rest of the dressing over salad.
- Serve immediately.
- If you’re unable to find microgreen, you can replace it with snow pea shoots or even alfalfa.
- If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, you can omit the paprika from the spiced seeds.
- Remove the honey to make this recipe vegan and low FODMAP friendly. You can use maple syrup or organic rice malt syrup.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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