When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was my Aunt Denise’s domain. Every year, we’d pack up the car on Thanksgiving eve and descend down Interstate 95 to my aunt and uncle’s home in a Virginia suburb of Washington DC. We’d invariably arrive to the smell of pies cooling on the counter, sausage stuffing in the oven, and Aunt Denise wiping up the stovetop and explaining apologetically, “If I don’t make most of it beforehand, I won’t get to enjoy the day!”
Now that I’ve begun hosting Thanksgiving, I’m taking a note from my Aunt Denise and seeking out recipes I can make ahead of time. One of the key takeaways from years of observing her work is that hearty vegetable dishes like Brussels sprouts are often better the second day.
That’s why this year, I’m cooking up this healthy, hearty Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe with Apple Cider Vinaigrette. With the sweetness of butternut squash and pomegranate, the crunch of pecans, and the tang of apple cider vinegar, this easy salad gets better the longer you let it sit in the fridge. Which is good news for hosts…and for anyone who loves leftovers.
But Why Salad?
“I can’t wait for the SALAD this Thanksgiving!” said no one. Ever.
There’s a fine line between recreating a beloved traditional meal and serving a formulaic holiday dinner. And when it comes to Turkey Day, the sheer number of options offers twice as many opportunities to mix things up and keep things fresh. So why not take an old favorite – like Brussels Sprouts – and use them to add interest to a course that’s more obligatory than exciting?
Four more reasons to make Brussels sprouts salad this Thanksgiving:
It’s multitasking at it’s finest. Why make two dishes when one will suffice?
It looks super fancy and travels beautifully, making it perfect for potlucks.
Apple cider vinaigrette adds sweetness and tang, counteracting the bitterness that often turns kids off from eating their sprouts.
It frees up space on your plate for a second helping of veg, making the traditional meal that much healthier.
How To Clean Brussels Sprouts
We’ve all had Brussels Sprouts that were tough or bitter. Spending just a few minutes cleaning your sprouts will improve their flavor and texture. Here’s how:
1. Trim the hard ends off your sprouts.
2. Remove the first two or three outer leaves.
3. Fill a bowl or salad spinner with water. If you see any aphids on your brussels sprouts, add a splash of vinegar to the water. This will kill the bugs on contact.
4. Plunge your sprouts into the water and agitate them, scrubbing if needed. Drain the water and rinse if you used vinegar.
5. Pat or spin until dry, and you’re ready to go!
Why Roasted Brussels Sprouts Are Better (IMO)
Blanching or steaming your sprouts would still work for this recipe. The important thing is that sprouts have been cooked until tender. But in my opinion, roasting is the best way to cook Brussels sprouts. Not only does it make them sweeter, but I love the crispy, almost potato-chip-like quality they outermost leaves take on as they brown in the oven.
I use a baking sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper to help cut down on cleanup. Once the sprouts are cooked, I slide them off the prepared baking sheet, then just toss the parchment or rinse the Silpat and cleanup is done!
Air Fryer Instructions
While this recipe is written for the oven, I encourage you to put your air fryer to work if you have one that’s large enough! Cooking Brussels sprouts in the air fryer yields a super-crispy outer layer of leaves, adding additional flavor and crunch to your salad.
To roast Brussels sprouts in the air fryer, cook them at 360 degrees for 15-20 minutes, shaking or stirring halfway through. Remove immediately and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool. If you skip this step, your sprouts will soften, which would be a shame. The best part of air frying them is the crunch!
If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy my Paleo Pumpkin Muffins, Easy Sheet Pan Supper With Fall Veggies, or my Kale and Cauliflower Gnocchi recipe.
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad With Butternut Squash
With the sweetness of butternut squash and pomegranate, the crunch of pecans, and the tang of apple cider vinegar, this easy salad gets better the longer you let it sit in the fridge. Which is good news for hosts…and for anyone who loves leftovers.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 40 Minutes
- Total Time: 45 Minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and quartered
- 1 1/2c butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1/2c pecans, toasted
- 3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- Combine the ingredients and whisk with a fork until the dressing is homogenous. Set aside to marinate at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, oil, and salt. Toss to combine.
- Arrange in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minus, stirring once about halfway through.
- Once the sprouts are cooked, let them cool slightly before placing them in a salad bowl with the pecans and pomegranate slices. Toss with prepared apple cider vinaigrette to coat. Serve warm, or store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.