Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts & Jalapeno

Brussels sprouts, walnut & pomegranate salad

About this time last year I discovered a most-delicious salad, a Greg and Lucy Malouf creation, a mixture of green olives, walnuts and pomegranate seeds tossed in a spicy, sweet, salty dressing, a combination I find irresistible.

It’s light. It’s fresh. It’s just the sort of thing we all found ourselves craving about three hours after our Thanksgiving lunch when we found ourselves back in the kitchen, hungry once again, faced with so many delectable options, but scrounging for something else: something crisp, something raw, something juicy.

Sensing our urgency to get some sort of primary producer into our systems, my sister finally allowed us to tuck into her centerpiece, a plate of perfectly ripe persimmons, which we ate skin and all. Nothing has tasted so refreshing.

This salad here, while not quite as exotic as the Turquois salad described above, falls in the same vein, an amalgam of flavors and textures: sweet brussels sprouts, spicy jalapeños, crisp and tart pomegranate seeds, and crunchy toasted walnuts.

While nobody seemed to miss the presence of salad on the Thanksgiving table, I’m thinking a spot of color, a touch of freshness, something to balance the creamy potatoes and the buttery bird might be nice on the Christmas dinner table.

Have you all been eating your greens? What are your thoughts in regard to salad at big holiday gatherings? Superfluous or mandatory? Hope you all are staying warm.

ingredients

Update: 12-17: After one of you directed me to this video, I updated my photos/seed extracting method: 1. Score the pomegranate with a sharp knife — you do not need to cut all the way through. 2. Use your fingers to gently pull back each side all the way around; then twist the pomegranate into two halves. 3. Hold the pomegranate cut side down in the palm of one hand. With the other hand, whack the back of it with a wooden spoon.
preparing the pomegranate for seeding

And, while the other video is quite informative, it’s also long, and if your attention span is anything like mine, you might not get to the whacking part. This is the basic idea:

seeded

pomegranate seeds

Sooo, am I asking you to peel the sprouts once again? Yes, I am. I’m sorry. But they’re so good this way. And they look so pretty. Don’t let this step deter you. Tune into a podcast. Crank up the music. Before you know it, the sprouts will have peeled themselves.
coring the sprouts

cored

peeled brussels sprouts

peeled brussels sprouts

blanched brussels sprouts

ready to be tossed

Brussels sprouts, walnut & pomegranate salad

Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate, Walnuts & Jalapeno

Notes: To extract pomegranate seeds: 1. Score the pomegranate with a sharp knife — you do not need to cut all the way through. 2. Use your fingers to gently pull back each side all the way around; then twist the pomegranate into two halves. 3. Hold the pomegranate cut side down in the palm of one hand. With the other hand, whack the back of it with a wooden spoon.

1 cup walnuts
10 to 12 oz (283 to 340 g) Brussels sprouts (about 9 oz (255g) once trimmed of stems)
kosher salt
1 pomegranate, seeded (see notes for guidance)
1 to 2 jalapenos, minced
olive oil
white balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Place walnuts on a sheet pan. Toast for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove from oven. Place in tea towel. Rub together to remove skins. Transfer walnuts to strainer and shake to remove excess skin. Coarsely chop and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, peel the brussels sprouts: chop the ends off of each sprout cutting higher than you might normally. Pick leaves off of the stem ends, then discard the stem. Using a paring knife, core the sprout the way you would when removing the white part of the strawberry around the stem. Discard the core. With your fingers, gently pull the sprout in half removing the leaves as you go.

4. Add a tablespoon of kosher salt to the pot of water. Add the sprouts to the water and cook for 45 seconds. Drain. Run under cold water. Spin dry.

5. Place sprouts (drying off excess water with paper towels or a tea towel if necessary) in a large salad bowl. Add pomegranate seeds, one of the minced jalapenos, and the chopped wlanuts. Season with salt to taste. Drizzle two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar over top. Toss and taste, adding more olive oil and vinegar by the tablespoon if necessary. If it’s not spicy enough, add the additional jalapeño.

Brussels sprouts, walnut & pomegranate salad

Another simple side dish: sautéed brussels sprout leaves (blanched first) with toasted bread crumbs:
with bread crumbs

26 Comments

  1. I love that salad with green olives salad from Turquois. Haven’t made it since last fall. One of my favorites. This one looks beautiful too!

    Reply
  2. This looks fantastic? I have to say your blog is one of my favorites. I’ve never been disappointed with a recipe I’ve tried, not once! :)
    And Turquoise has been a favorite cookbook of mine for years since my mother bought it for me as a Christmas gift prior to our trip to Turkey…such incredible inspiration in there!

    Reply
    • You are so nice, thank you. And I just checked out your blog — so fun to see all of the Philly suggestions — I lived there for 5 years — and I absolutely love all of your travel photos, especially the ones in Greece. I’m experiencing serious wanderlust.

      Reply
      • I’d been reading your blog for quite a while before I realized you’d lived here! AND that you’re a fellow La Columbe lover! Thank you so much. I look at those photos daily and can’t wait to get back, especially to Naxos.

        Reply
        • The pictures of Naxos are unbelievable! Honestly, breath taking. And my mouth waters when I get to that plate of lamb chops…my favorite. Just sent your blog to my mother, who is 100% Greek, and who loves visiting Greece more than any other place in the world (not that she’s a serious world traveler or anything, but she always seems to find her way back to Greece.)

          La Colombe was one of my favorites. I could go for one of their cappucinos right about now. When I was there this summer, the same guy was making them behind the counter. I loved it.

          Reply
  3. Oh this sounds just so wonderful. And so pretty! I love the Middle Eastern mix here of spicy, sweet, tart flavors. I must try! Salads are definitely mandatory on my table. It’s known in our family circles how much I love salads, I confess, so I am usually the one given the task of bringing the raw veggies. I love that job! Mostly on our holiday tables this year is a mix of kale/lettuce/chard leaves, toasted nuts, julienned radish and definitely pomegranate airls. Some kind of lemon/orange/cider vinegar dressing with plenty of dijon, honey and poppyseeds. I can make it in my sleep :) So pleased you shared a beautiful new twist!

    Reply
  4. Salad? Pfft. We are total carnivores. On our Xmas dinner table, we are all about the prime rib :)

    Hope you guys are well, Ali! Missing you madly, especially in December since you were one of a few willing to brave the cold playground with me.

    Reply
    • Yesssss…I couldn’t be happier to see your name behind this comment! Someone needed to say it :)

      I miss you, Carrie! And as much as I love it up here, I am having some serious nostalgia for Stafford, VA. Seriously, it was such a happy time, and I love that we could hit up the parks in the middle of winter. I pulled the kids to school today in a sled. Wren cried the whole way. I’ll be driving tomorrow. xoxo kiss those kiddos for me!

      Reply
  5. Made this last night with the Duck Confit. It was really good, I can’t eat walnuts so did toasted almonds instead. Worked beautifully with the duck like suggested.

    Reply

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