Not Your Ordinary “Chopped” Salad

brussels sprout lentil salad, tahini vinaigrette

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

creative cooking crew

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 

chopped mystery basket

green apple, bacon, vinegar, nut butter

the dish that sang ~ chopped salad

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.”

petrale sole chopped competition
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

brussels sprouts lentil chopped salad, tahini dressing

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.

tahini apple dressing recipe
tahini apple dressing

  • 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.

chopped dates bacon
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.

 brussels sprouts lentil chopped salad tahini apple dressing
Please stop by Joan’s blog here to” judge” our friendly Chopped competition for yourself. And be sure to check out the Creative Cooking Crew’s PINTEREST BOARD here for colorful inspiration!

22 thoughts on “Not Your Ordinary “Chopped” Salad”

  1. This sounds absolutely delicious, I definitely want to try this! I’ve come across a number of chopped salads now, but I think lentils is a perfect addition and I haven’t seen it before or thought of it! Will have to leave out the bacon, because I don’t eat meat, and pistachio nuts (which breaks my heart, but the boyfriend has a nut allergy), but I’m sure it’d still be good. Could see this as being super nice with some chargrilled Halloumi as well 🙂

  2. I’m dying to make this, LL. You did a fantastic job with the challenge. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorites and I bet they’re delicious with tahini!

  3. You win!! I love Chopped and THIS salad from THAT basket would definitely have won! SO creative and the flavors, especially topped off with the tahini dressing, must be amazing.

  4. I can taste the crunch of this salad just by looking at it! I thought your original dish looked good too but will take your word for it that it didn’t work out. Well done on the second try, looks like it’s a winner!

  5. There is a lot to be said for this salad. You can put lentils on anything and I am a happy camper. as usual a winner for you.

  6. There are happy discoveries sometimes. You go up one path that is a dead end but as you travel, another better path opens that you wouldn’t have seen had you not gone out on your walk. That’s life in a nutshell. Lovely dish, great combinations and beautiful shot.

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