i love brussels sprouts–love! but like most folks, i don’t want them mushy. i’ve roasted them with light oil & spices but i feel like that does not always get them crispy enough for my taste. also, my oven does not have a broiler(what? and why? very sad). so, my preferred method of cooking them is to cut them in half & pan fry them in a single layer until the bottoms are browned. then i throw in garlic & stir fry until they are cooked through. i add raisins or currants & pecans or walnuts just until warm then sprinkle with cayenne & a little salt. so good. this was really the only way i prepared them for years, which was fine by me because it doesn’t get old.
then about 4 years ago, i was in a little town called greenport on the north fork of long island. it was just before their tourist season starts, so it was real quiet. not all the businesses were open for the season yet but that wasn’t really the draw–it was just such a beautiful little town with a lot of maritime history. pickins were kind of slim for a vegan without the use of a kitchen though…almost everything was seafood. thankfully there was a nice little natural market with a deli that had great options. one being a delicious marinated tofu sandwich with pickled jalapenos & cabbage that i ate by the water before visiting the maritime museum & seeing the sights.
that evening, i decided to step into this cute little restaurant on front street. the bar was situated right up front, hiding the dining room from the street. i sat at the bar for a drink & the bartender immediately said: welcome to greenport, you from the city? tourists always stick out like a sore thumb. he was really chatty & i got a good history on the town. he gave me a menu and out of curiosity, i peeked at it…mostly seafood. but then i saw it: shredded brussels sprouts. i asked him what they were cooked in & he said they were raw. he confirmed with the kitchen that it was a vegan dish & the rest is history. i don’t actually remember everything that was in that salad but i know it was bitter, sweet, salty & sour all at once. best salad ever! over the last few years, i’ve made so many versions of it.
i really wish i could remember the name of the restaurant. i went there 3 nights in a row for the salad…and they had great organic wines from the area. and let’s be real, there were no other options! i tried to look it up, but none of the restaurants on front street that i could find online look like this one. maybe it closed? oh well, it lives on in my salad bowl at least a few times a month!
oh, and i’ve happily added fruits back into my diet. yay! i might be cheating a little with the raisins but i’m ok with that.
shredded brussels sprout salad
3 cups brussels sprouts, sliced*
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, cubed
3 leaves dinosaur kale, thinly sliced
2 blood oranges or tangerines(or both!), cut into segments**
1/2 lemon, juiced
sea salt & black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste(i like it spicy!)
1/8 cup raisins or currants
1/8 cup raw pecans, chopped
- in a large bowl, whisk together lemon and spices
- add the vegetables & use a fork to partially mash the avocado.
- add oranges & raisins, toss to combine.
- check & adjust seasoning.
- top with pecans & serve!
- omit avocado & raisins. add 2 tablespoons coconut oil to the lemon & spice mix. top with shredded coconut. i usually up the citrus & cayenne in this variation to balance out the sweetness.
- omit oranges, pecans & raisins. add pears, almonds & dried cherries.
- omit oranges, pecans & raisins. add apples, walnuts & golden raisins.
*after washing the brussels, slice off the stem. peal away one layer of outer leaves. slice in half from top to bottom, set them cut side down and slice crosswise. alternatively, pop them in your food processor using the shredding disc. i usually cut by had, but processed them today. the food processor will make much smaller pieces. i think i prefer to slice them myself.
**tips on how to supreme an orange here.