shaved brussels sprouts & french lentils
bacon, dates, apples, pistachio nuts
tahini apple dressing
You’re not tired of green are you? I hope not because this brussels sprouts and lentil salad is savage! (Irish slang for brilliant, great). It was a do-over. The first attempt at our monthly challenge was a sad failure. It had all the right components ~ fresh ingredients, color, flavor, texture. But alas, pretty as it was, there was no harmony. That dish simply did not sing.
creative cooking crew challenge
The Creative Cooking Crew is a group of 24 innovative food bloggers hosted by Laz of Lazaro Cooks! and Joan of FOODalogue. Each month brings a new culinary challenge with a round-up of all the entries posted at the end of the month. This month’s challenge is to take a mystery basket of four ingredients and turn them into a dish that is “judged” on creativity, presentation, and taste just like the TV show Chopped. Although there is no real judging and the challenges are all just for fun, we take pride in sharing our entries, pushing our culinary limits.
the mystery basket ~ four ingredients
green apple, bacon, vinegar, nut butter
the dish that sang ~ chopped salad
From the Chopped site I read that, “A Chopped champion is one who can abandon his or her style and cook according to the ingredients in the basket. Sometimes the most rebellious thing a chef can do is to be conservative and make simple fare.”
One would think that sweet rich petrale sole paired with a smoky sharp bacon soy vinaigrette over fresh bright stir-fried yu choi, and a nutty tahini drizzle might just work. I did. And the garnish was so pretty, a pickled ginger rosette, apple batons, and cilantro leaves. It sounded like an Asian fusion winner. But unfortunately, the components did not harmonize on the palate as they did to the eye. And I’m kind of glad they didn’t or I never would have created the tahini dressing. Nor would I have paired brussels sprouts, lentils, and apples in a salad.
brussels sprouts & lentil salad recipe
chopped salad components
- fresh brussels sprouts
- french lentils, cooked al dente
- medjool dates, chopped
- cooked bacon, chopped
- roasted pistachio nuts, chopped
- granny smith apple, thinly sliced, with a squeeze lime juice
- tahini apple dressing
Blanch shaved brussels sprouts in boiling water for 2 minutes then immerse in an ice bath. Drain well.
- 1/4 c. tahini
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1 T. agave nectar
- 1/4 c. water, approx.
- salt to taste
Blend tahini, vinegar, olive oil and agave nectar. (We used an immersion blender). Then add enough water to get a creamy salad dressing consistency. Season with salt to taste. Add a bit more agave if you like a sweeter dressing.
These almost raw brussels sprouts really need a dressing with pronounced flavor, not a light vinaigrette. This tahini apple dressing was a really perfect match. Try this dressing on steamed vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli, as you would a hollandaise sauce. Simply add less water to make it into a sauce rather than a dressing.
To compose the salad – toss brussels sprouts with tahini apple dressing. Season cooked French lentils with olive oil and fresh ground black pepper. Gently heat dates and bacon together in a saute pan. Then add lentils, dates, bacon, pistachio nuts to the bowl of brussels sprouts and toss gently.
Mound the salad on a plate, tuck apple slices into the salad. Sprinkle a few more lentils over the top.