This savory shredded Brussels sprouts salad makes a great dinner side, work lunch (it keeps brilliantly) or main dish with some chickpeas or chicken on top.
I won’t bury the lede: I’ve had a tough time concentrating on normal stuff for the past week. For the first time ever, I’ve seriously considered dusting off my law degree and putting it back to work as more than a framework for analysis in daily life. I feel like I’m yelling into the rear view mirror, “Don’t you MAKE me turn this law degree around!” I’ve always thought of my law degree as an insurance policy in case something terrible happened. But I’d been envisioning personal circumstances changing, not national and worldwide ones. I really, really don’t wan’t to feel compelled to make the choice to return to the law in any capacity. But for the first time since 2007, I’m actively not ruling out the possibility. And I’m pretty pissed about it, as anyone who knows me could probably guess.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the past week: I’m grateful for cooking and the joy and meditative space it provides. The hum of the food processor as it shreds Brussels sprouts with admirable efficiency. The tick-tick-boom of a gas burner igniting. The embracing smell of pine nuts toasting in a small, dry pan. The umami-bomb first bite of a salad like this. For me, that first bite is an all-encompassing moment, an immersive experience. Thank goodness for that.
We Copes, big and small, are such fans of roasted Brussels sprouts that I often ignore other ways of preparing them. That’s a mistake, and one I’ll try not to repeat in the near future. With the memory of this salad fresh in our minds, I’m not too worried about it.
So that’s one thing I’m not too worried about at the moment.
And one thing I’ll be doing differently from usual.
This salad acts like a good old side dish at dinner if you want it to. But since Brussels sprouts are nice and sturdy, it’s also the type of salad you can dress ahead and bring with you for lunch. Or if a quick and easy one-bowl dinner is more up your alley, add some chickpeas, shrimp or chicken before you dig in.
And then, by all means, dig in. Into the salad, of course. And into whatever else may move you, even — maybe especially — if it’s something you’ll be doing differently from usual.
Talk to you soon.
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- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup lemony blender dressing, more to taste (recipe below)
- Fit a standard 12-cup food processor with the slicing disk. Feed Brussels sprouts through the feed tube to slice. Place sliced sprouts into a salad bowl.
- Place pine nuts in a small, dry pan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, tossing once or twice, until fragrant and lightly browned. Add to salad bowl along with cheese, capers, pepper and dressing. Toss well and serve.
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- A few good grinds black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until perfectly smooth and creamy.