I consider myself pretty adventurous in the kitchen. I’m always tinkering and trying out new recipes and ingredients. But I gotta admit, it made me nervous when we had friends over for dinner the other night who are raw vegans. I came so close to throwing my striped kitchen towel up in surrender. A trip to the farmers market (I love you, Santa Barbara!) helped me get my confidence back and have some fun pulling the meal together.
It was easy to make and—bonus—no pots and pans to scrub! It was a great lesson for me: raw vegan eating is possible, and it’s also healthy, filling and tasty. So, yes, count me in … well, not in like really in, but at least now I’m going to try searching for some raw foods to nibble on when I feel the need to attack the bowl of peanut butter-filled pretzels.
This salad is totally satisfying and would work great for a group because it’s raw, so it holds up for a while without wilting. It really brings together such great winter flavors—the Brussels sprouts, the blood oranges, the shallots. When I was searching my pantry for ingredients I was nervous that I didn’t have any raw nuts, but it turns out that the pecans I buy for my granola at Trader Joe’s are raw. More praise for TJ’s!
Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad with Blood Orange Dressing
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 bunch dinosaur kale
1/2 cup raw pecans (or substitute with your favorite raw nuts)
2 avocados, sliced into chunks
2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced (I did mine in supremes but any ordinary way is fine)
Blood Orange Dressing
1 shallot, fine dice
1 blood orange
1 large lemon or 2 Meyer lemons
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Clean the Brussels sprouts and trim off the ends of the stems. Next, peel off the outer leaves until you get to the lighter leaves in the middle. (The dark outer ones are your base for the salad; reserve the inner ones for a different use.) I’ll be honest, this process takes awhile—but think of all the calories you’re burning! And you can do this step in advance.
Remove the ribs from the kale (the stem in the center) and then wash and chop in 1-2 inch squares. If you can get your hands on a whole stalk of Brussels sprouts, you can use the big leaves from the stalk rather than the kale—delicious!
To Make the Dressing
In a small bowl, add the chopped shallots and squeeze in the citrus (orange and lemon). Slowly whisk in the olive oil and add salt and red pepper flakes.
To Assemble the Salad
Mix your greens in a big bowl. Then ladle in a few spoonfuls of dressing to coat. Let sit for at least ten minutes to let the flavors soak in, then add more dressing and season as desired. When you’re ready to serve, sprinkle the avocado, oranges and nuts on top. When I made it for company, I sliced the avocados to make it look pretty, but I think it would be tastier to chunk up the avocados and toss them in with the dressing to get the creaminess in every bite.