Salads

December 2, 2021

Christmas Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

This Christmas Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad is a healthy, fun twist on the classic Caesar salad that's completely vegetarian, packed with heart-healthy fats and 14g of protein per serving, and topped with dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness.

If you're new here, welcome! I'm a total foodie and I really love what I do. Like so much that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with new recipe ideas...too much? Nah.

But honestly, it's kind of crazy how my brain just comes up with new flavors and combinations! I have a note on my phone that is years long of all my ideas, organized into categories, and all the ingredients that come to mind when I first think of the idea. If I only stuck to this list and made 10-12 new recipes every month, I'd be set for the next 3 years!

Today's new salad recipe was one of those ideas that just came to me. I know this because the ingredients don't normally appear in a dish together, but let me tell you right now, it just WORKS.

This Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad is not only a fun twist on a traditional Caesar salad, it's also a special Christmas version! Each bite has a little bit of sauteed Brussels sprouts, fluffy quinoa, toasted pine nuts, chewy dried cranberries, shaved parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked black pepper. You have to try it this year!

Brussels sprouts caesar salad with pine nuts, quinoa, cranberries, and parmesan cheese

Ingredients for Your Unique Christmas Salad

Like I said, today's salad recipe is a little unconventional, but it's so so good. I actually photographed it the day I tested it for the first time and got through the entire photoshoot without trying it. I was a little skeptical, but pleasantly surprised! For this easy Christmas salad, you'll need:

  • Brussels sprouts: most other Brussels sprouts salads on the internet are either raw or roasted, so I wanted to do it a bit different. I fell in love with sauteed shredded Brussels sprouts when I wrote this recipe, so I decided to do the same thing here! Sauteeing them brings their flavor to a whole other level.
  • Quinoa: a plant-based source of protein that adds volume to the salad. Toss it with some nutritional yeast for a boost of protein and "parmesan" flavor before serving and you've got the perfect batch of quinoa!
  • Pine nuts: to replace the croutons and add a source of heart-healthy fats. I love toasting mine before tossing them in my salad.
  • Dried cranberries: for a burst of sweetness among the savory, Trust me when I say it just WORKS ok? I promise. They're actually perfect.
  • Shaved parmesan: I say "shaved" because it tastes more fresh than the pre-shredded parmesan cheese, but you can use whatever works for you. If you have a block of parmesan, freshly grated would be great too!
  • Healthy Caesar dressing: I love this brand (not sponsored) because their dressings are made from Greek yogurt but don't sacrifice any of the flavor you're looking for.

Shredded brussels sprouts

Tips for Making This Easy Brussels Sprouts Salad

  1. Buy fresh, whole Brussels sprouts: when I wrote this recipe, I weighed my sprouts at two pounds with all the stems and outer layers. If you buy two pounds of pre-sliced sprouts (the ones that you can literally add right to the stove), you'll end up with too many sprouts. The other reason I suggest buying them whole is because they're usually bigger than the packaged ones, which makes them easier to shred. Don't use frozen sprouts either - they have too much water!
  2. Prep ahead of time: if you're like me and you don't always have an hour to make dinner start to finish, this recipe really is a 30 minute recipe if you prep the sprouts first. I usually shred them the day before so when it's time to make the salad, I just toss them in the skillet!
  1. Use an appliance if you can: I have a food processor but it doesn't shred, only chop, mince, and blend. If you have a food processor or other appliance that can shred for you, USE IT. It will save you over 30 minutes of prep work!
  2. Toast the pine nuts: this step is totally optional but highly recommended. Toasting just adds depth to the flavor of the pine nuts and warms them up.
  3. Warm your dressing: if you know you're making this brussels sprouts salad ahead of time, I'd let your dressing get to room temperature if you can. Since the rest of the salad is warm and fresh, you don't want to toss it in a cold dressing! You can also warm it in the microwave for a few seconds.
  4. Use fresh parmesan: I rarely buy pre-shredded parmesan anymore because it's always hard and stale. If you can swing a block of parmesan, grate and measure your cheese for this Christmas salad. If not, your next best option is a tub of shaved parmesan.

A plate of Brussels sprouts caesar salad

Why You'll Love This Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

It's easy to make: all you need is one skillet and one small pot for the stove. Everything comes together in 30 minutes!

It's sweet and savory: the sweet cranberries balance out the savory vegetables, grains, and cheese. I promise it works!

It's seasonal: the Brussels sprouts and cranberries are perfect for a winter Christmas salad!

It's healthy: rather than a bowl of lettuce covered in fatty dressing, this unique Caesar salad uses clean eating ingredients like Brussels sprouts, quinoa, pine nuts, and a greek yogurt dressing. There's even 14g of protein per serving!

It's allergen-friendly: this Brussels sprouts caesar salad is naturally vegetarian, gluten-free, low-sugar, and easily dairy free. Just use your favorite vegan parmesan and a vegan Caesar dressing like this one.

More Salad Recipes You'll Love

The Best Southwestern Cobb Salad

Raspberry Almond Arugula Salad with Lemon Pepper Chicken

Healthy Potato Salad (no mayo!)

The Perfect Autumn Kale Salad

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Turmeric Honey Mustard

Brussels sprouts caesar salad with pine nuts, quinoa, cranberries, and parmesan cheese

I can't wait to hear how you like this Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad! Be sure to leave a star rating and review below so other readers know how you liked it. You can also tag me on Instagram with a photo of your delicious salad!

Christmas Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

This Christmas Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad is a healthy, fun twist on the classic Caesar salad that's completely vegetarian, packed with heart-healthy fats and 14g of protein per serving, and topped with dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness.

Author:

Brooke Harmer

Prep:

10

min

cook:

20

min

total:

30

min

servings:

6

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • 1 C dry quinoa
  • 1 C reduced sugar craisins
  • 6 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • ½ C shaved parmesan cheese
  • ½ C Bolthouse Farms Caesar dressing
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Stir in the quinoa, turn the heat down to low, and cover with a lid. Cook 15-20 minutes, then fold in the nutritional yeast. Fluff with a fork before serving.
  2. Heat a very large skillet or wok (mine is 12") to medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add half of the Brussels sprouts, spray with cooking spray, and season generously with salt. Saute 5 minutes until vibrant green and very soft. Repeat with the remaining sprouts.
  3. When the sprouts are finished, turn the heat down to medium-low and spray with cooking spray. Toast the pine nuts until slightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. They burn quickly, so toss them constantly and watch carefully!
  4. In a very large bowl, toss all ingredients together* until well combined. Season generously with fresh cracked black pepper.

Notes

*If you're serving right away or to a group, toss with the dressing. If making as a meal prep salad for individual servings, add some dressing to your individual serving when you're ready to eat.

Nutrition facts are a calculated estimate of 1/6 of the prepared salad, including the dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 salad / Calories: 394 / Fat: 11.7g / Saturated Fat: 3.2g / Carbohydrates: 62.7g / Fiber: 15.3g / Sugar: 14g / Protein: 13.9g