Winter is the perfect opportunity to force yourself into practicing more creative salad making habits, something about the persistent grey makes the produce aisle look not quite right, all the summer vegetables looking off in colour and shape in the middle of December. I offer this recipe as inspiration to think outside of the traditional salad box; it’s crunchy and sweet and crisp and warm all at once. I’m a late convert to Brussels sprouts, they’re much like beets and fennel in that they seem more palatably accessible when roasted until golden brown and crispy around the edges. I grew up with a Brussels sprouts loving mother and most times I would at least try them with a sincere desire to enjoy those weird little tightened green cabbages and it wasn’t until she roasted them for me about 5 years ago that I grew to appreciate their sweet and tender mustard spicy interiors that appear after being exposed to high heat for a short amount of time.
for the roasted brussels sprouts:
(for 1 personal salad)
2 cups of halved and trimmed Brussels sprouts (they’ll shrink down considerably as they cook)
2 Tbsp. canola or grapeseed oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, carefully toss the halved Brussels sprouts with oil in a medium-sized bowl. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 15-20 minutes.
3. As soon as the Brussels sprouts turn a lovely shade of caramel brown take them out the oven and immediately pour the lemon juice all over the hot vegetables (it will sputter a little bit.) Salt generously and set aside while you make the salad.
for the salad:
2 cups of spinach, washed and dried
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 stalks of broccoli, peeled and diced
5 grape tomatoes, halved
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 Tbsp. fruity olive oil
Juice of the other 1/2 of the lemon used with the roasted Brussels sprouts
1 Tbsp. raw or roasted pepitas (or try sunflower seeds, walnuts, cashews, hemp seeds, etc.)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1. Arrange spinach on top of a large plate and begin piling the other salad ingredients on top, adding the roasted Brussels sprouts last, before drizzling with the olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle the pepitas on top and check to see if any salt is needed before adding roughly cracked pepper.
Another song with a slow buildup and insanely catchy second half, I have my sister Gabrielle to thank for this recommendation a couple of years ago. This song is really fun to listen to when you’re running, too – the song has such a satisfying arc that it motivates you to keep going despite feeling tired.
Sunset Rubdown – Shut Up I am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings