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Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple, Fennel, and Bacon

Everyone will love this winter salad! Raw Brussels sprouts are fabulous: milder than most cabbages, crunchy, and ever-so-slightly sweet. Add apples, fennel, bacon, Pecorino, and a tasty apple cider vinaigrette, and you’ve got one amazing Brussels Sprouts Salad!

Brussels Sprouts Salad from Soupaddict.com

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Maybe you’re not the biggest fan of cooked Brussels sprouts. You’ve tried them roasted. You’ve tried them seared. With bacon and without. And all you can think about is that steamy sauerkraut fragrance that fills the household when you roast Brussels sprouts in the oven.

I get it. But this Brussels sprouts salad is miles away from those stinky stinkers. Brussels sprouts salad uses raw sprouts. And … {pulling you back to this post by the shirt collar} … by raw, I simply mean uncooked. I’m not trying to trick you into a fancy or uber-healthy, rabbit-food side dish.

Brussels Sprouts Salad from Soupaddict.com

No, no. No trickery, friends. Think of Brussels sprouts as mini cabbages. And by raw, think, slaw. You might not be a fan of sauerkraut, but coleslaw is a-o-dokey-kay. And you know what coleslaw is, right? Raw cabbage.

Sooooo now that we’ve got the whole raw thing all straightened out, and you’re no longer cringing like you’re about to get a virtual blast of steamy sauerkraut odors right from your screen, let’s talk about this salad.

Brussels Sprouts Salad from Soupaddict.com

What makes this, IMHO, the best Brussels sprouts salad ever? Oh, there’s bacon and almonds and pecorino cheese — those are always guaranteed yummies in a salad, amiright? And the apple cider vinegar, honey mustard, and shallots dressing is probably my favorite homemade dressing of all time (so simple, too: add everything to a lidded jar and shake-shake-shake).

Those ingredients alone will make a salad your guests will love. Trust me, if you didn’t tell anyone there’s Brussels sprouts in it, they would never guess — it’s just that delicious.

But the two ingredients that take this salad to the tippy-top rung of the salad ladder? Apples and fennel.

Let me tell you, apples and fennel together are inspired. And my inspiration comes directly from a woman who not only created the most delicious slaw I’ve ever had, made of slender matchsticks of apples and fennel, but she’s just inspiring, period.

I’ve written about Chef Suzy Deyoung and her non-profit, La Soupe in the past on this blog. But a lot has changed since then.

So much so that I should really reconnect with her and do a new interview. Her vision and her passion for feeding hungry children and solving the massive problem of food waste in one fell swoop is just jaw-droppingly exciting.

And I mean that so very literally: every time Suzy makes the local news with a new initiative she’s kicked off, my jaw just drops in awe and admiration at her clever brilliance, and her uncanny ability to unite people and skills and goods to perform miracles in the community. She’s just an amazing person with an amazing spirit, with the grit and the smarts to pull it all off.

To get a glimpse of what Chef Suzy does, check out this article and video from USA Today. You’ll hear Suzy speak about La Soupe’s raison d’etre and how her partnerships are advancing the cause to feed the hungry.

(Side note: the arm that you see ladling soup into a container is mine, lol — I happened to have been volunteering on the day of filming, packing up freshly brewed soup to deliver to a local school.)

Brussels Sprouts Salad from Soupaddict.com

In a season of great eats and togetherness, it’s also the perfect time to turn our attention outward and help our fellow humankind. And maybe, just maybe, Chef Suzy’s story moves you to investigate organizations in your area that could use your help.

And if you’re in Cincinnati, please check out La Soupe — it’s a non-profit, but it’s also a restaurant, located in the Newtown area, where you can taste for yourself Chef Suzy’s talent for creating mouth-watering soups and salads (and apple and fennel slaw).

I hope you didn’t mind the segue from Brussels sprout salad to philanthropy — I’m not sure that was even my intention when I sat down to write this post — but whenever I put fresh, local apples and homegrown fennel together, the delicious result is inextricably linked in my mind to Chef Suzy and her amazing life’s mission.

I wish all my friends celebrating Thanksgiving a table filled with delicious dishes, lined with family and friends!

Karen xo

P.S.: I’ve seen some Brussels sprouts salad recipes from others that recommend using a mandolin to slice the Brussels sprouts. I have to say, if you do that, please be careful! Personally, I don’t think the mandolin is the proper tool for a small vegetable that tends come apart in unexpected ways (leaves falling off here and there). It’s the repetition, I think. You might be super careful on the first three sprouts, but after the 20th, you’re picking up natural speed, and suddenly, oops, your thumb’s in the blade! I use my food processor with the shredding disk.

 

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple, Fennel, and Bacon

Everyone will love this winter salad! Raw Brussels sprouts are fabulous: milder than most cabbages, crunchy, and ever-so-slightly sweet. Add apples, fennel, bacon, Pecorino, and a tasty apple cider vinaigrette, and you’ve got one amazing Brussels Sprouts Salad!
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 210kcal
Author: Karen Gibson

Ingredients

for the vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 big pinch Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

for the salad

  • 4 strips bacon or turkey bacon
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1 sweet-tart apple, such as Honeycrisp, grated on a box grater (no need to peel)
  • 1 small bulb fennel thinly sliced or shredded
  • 1/4 cup sliced roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Instructions

for the vinaigrette

  • Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake-shake-shake. If possible, make the day before to let the flavors meld; stash i the fridge until ready to use.

for the salad

  • Place the bacon strips in a cold pan and turn heat to medium. Cook the bacon until crispy, and then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cook. Crumble bacon into small bits.
  • While the bacon cooks, prepare the Brussels sprouts. Slice of the stems of each sprout, and shred in your food processor, using either the shredding disk or a very thin slicing disk. Rinse and dry the shreds well (use a salad spinner, if you have one).
  • Add the Brussels sprouts shreds to a large serving bowl, and mix in the apple grates, fennel shreds, bacon crumbles, and almond slices. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat (dress the salad to your taste - might not use all of the dressing).
  • Top the salad with with the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, and serve.
  • The dressed salad will keep very well for a few hours in the fridge.

Notes

Notes: to make it vegetarian, use fakin' bacon, smokey tempeh, or shiitake bacon. To make it vegan also swap out the honey for agave or maple syrup, and replace the cheese with a vegan substitute (I bet even just a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast would be quite yummy).

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
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Recipe Rating




Kylie

Friday 18th of November 2016

I was happy to find this recipe in my inbox when I woke up this morning. I made it for my family and it was very good. The dressing is so versatile. I served it with sweet potato and apple soup with roasted garlic crusty bread. It was the perfect autumn meal. Thanks!

SoupAddict

Friday 18th of November 2016

Hi Kylie,

That's so great to hear, thanks! That's my favorite meal in the world -- soup, some crunchy greens and crusty bread. :)

Mary

Thursday 17th of November 2016

Hi Karen, I do love Brussels Sprouts-- roasted-- but have been looking for a 'shaved' raw Brussels Sprouts recipe that appeals. This fills the bill. I'll try one of the veggie substitutes. While you know I like veggie 'shrooms,' for this one I'd probably use veggie bacon.

SoupAddict

Thursday 17th of November 2016

I hope you enjoy it, Mary! It's a yummy combo of veggies, I think. The veggie bacon is a great choice - I think I'd prefer its thin and crispy texture over the bacon shrooms, too! :)