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Brussel Sprout and Pomegranate Salad

Who Knew Salad Could Taste This Good?


Our family has been eating an unprocessed, chemical and preservative free diet since before our younger girls were born, and before our oldest was old enough to remember. Thankfully, all three of them are fully on board and have become very happy to experiment with all kinds of unusual foods and cuisines. In fact, instead of encouraging them to “just try a bite” of their veggies, our challenge has become more of reminding them that not everything you find outside is indeed edible! Unfortunately, we often allow the stereotypes around food to shape how we view it, instead of seeking out the food that will fuel our body, and then finding ways to add the “yumm” factor to it! How many of us (myself included) cringe at the idea of a big pile of steaming brussel sprouts on our dinner plate? But with a little bit of research, some imagination, and an open mind, some new recipes have made them one of my weekly grocery shopping staples! Not to mention one of the many foods my girls come into the kitchen to sneak a bite of before dinner is even done.

Over the last decade or so, the increased understanding of how dramatically a whole food diet improves health has certainly given rise to utilizing somewhat unpopular ingredients, like brussel sprouts! As is often the case with making healthy choices, there are good-better-best options even within a single healthy ingredient purely based on how that ingredient is prepared. As a standard, we can assume that in all cases, boiling = bad! Not only does the extreme heat denature cancer fighting compounds, such as glucosinolates, but even compounds that are able to withstand the heat typically leach out of the food and are poured down the drain with the wasted water. Beyond that, there are no hard and fast rules for “healthiest food preparation method”. Although you would assume that raw is always best, the health benefits of some foods, such as tomatoes, are actually enhanced through certain cooking processes. Similarly, the flavor of an ingredient is dramatically altered based on the chosen cooking method. When looking at todays ingredient of choice, however, we can all breathe a big sigh of relief because the healthiest preparation, is also the tastiest! Remember those glucosinolates that tend to denature under excessive heat? They are a key ingredient in many cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and (you guessed it) brussel sprouts. One of the distinguishing characteristics of these compounds is that they contain sulfur molecules, which are released when the compound breaks apart – giving these foods their bitter and (ahem…) pungent, aroma and flavor. So what does this tell us? If we can smell that strong sulfur scent, then the compounds have already broken down and we’re not getting the maximum benefit out of the food. So although these veggies are still nutritionally well worth their weight in gold when sautéed or even roasted, they are at their best when consumed raw.

So now that we’ve established how we want to prepare this solid powerhouse ingredient, it’s time to build a dish around it! Raw brussels are certainly a mouthful when whole or even halved, so shredding in a food processor or on a mandolin is a great start. Using brussel sprouts as the base for a salad adds great flavor and crunch, making it an actual component to your dish instead of just an empty vessel to carry toppings and dressing. From there we can add some chopped almonds for omega-3s and protein, feta cheese (or maybe some gorgonzola if you’re feeling adventurous), and pomegranate arils for a huge pop of flavor and some serious antioxidants! A little sautéed bacon adds the perfect savory counterpart to the super sweet pomegranate, and honestly, is there any dish that doesn’t taste better with bacon? All that’s left is to mimic our savory and sweet flavor combo with a savory/sweet shallot and citrus dressing, and you have a quick, easy salad, that is beautiful and delicious enough to bring along to any fancy dinner party.

Brussel Sprout and Pomegranate Salad Recipe:

24 oz. Brussel Sprouts (shredded)
1 Pomegranate (~1 C arils) – Can substitute unsweetened fresh or dried fruit
10 oz. Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 C Feta (or your favorite cheese)
1 C Chopped Almonds

Mix all salad ingredients and set aside.

3 Small Oranges, zest and juice
1 Lemon, zest and juice (or 5 drops of lemon essential oil)
3 Shallots, minced fine
1/4 C Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Tbsp Grainy Mustard
1 C Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix all dressing ingredients well, then pour over salad and toss to combine.


Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore

Produced by Vogt Media

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