Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons
The week before Thanksgiving might not be the most traditional of times to talk salad, but this Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad is anything but your typical pile of greens. Even the members of the crowd who usually bypass the salad in favor of carb-ier pastures at holiday meals (you know who you are) are going to want to make room on their plates for this crisp, Caesar-dressed, roasted chickpea “crouton”–topped creation.
Selling Point Numero Uno: this shaved brussels sprouts salad is in the family of Caesar.
I consider Caesar the gateway salad. Creamy, garlicky dressing? Check. Croutons? Yep. Copious amounts of Parmesan cheese? Absolutely. Even salad skeptics cannot deny the appeal.
Selling Point Two: The shaved brussels sprouts themselves.
WHY did I wait so long to try these? As much as I adore oven-roasted brussels sprouts, I took my sweet time trying them shaved in a salad. I have been missing out on a beautiful thing!
While you won’t catch me biting into a whole, raw brussels sprout, shaved brussels sprouts I can eat by the forkful.
They’re mildly flavored and pleasantly crisp, and because brussels sprouts are sturdy, you can make and store this salad in the refrigerator several days in advance.
Selling Point Three: Those adorable, addictive roasted chickpeas.
In place of traditional bread croutons, I opted to top my brussels sprouts Caesar with roasted chickpeas. They give the salad its traditional Caesar crunch but are pleasantly less tooth-cracking than any standard crouton I’ve tried.
Ever tried to spear a crouton in public, only to have it fly across the table and land on another diner’s plate? Roasted chickpeas avoid this hazard.
Plus, chickpeas are more filling than croutons (a bonus if you are making this salad for lunches throughout the week) and are gluten free, so those with dietary restrictions can enjoy the salad too.
Selling Point Four: Make-ahead magic.
Because shaved brussels sprouts salads are hearty, this salad can last several days in the refrigerator. Whether you are prepping dishes in advance for a holiday dinner or are looking for healthy lunches you can meal prep for the week, this salad is a perfect choice. I enjoyed my leftovers for lunch over the course of a few days, adding a little extra dressing and an extra squirt of lemon juice as needed to freshen up its flavor.
Still not convinced (or worried that certain members of your family won’t be convinced?) Turn this into a shaved brussels sprouts salad with bacon. I really enjoyed the salad without it, but I can’t pretend it wouldn’t be a delectable addition.
Tips for the Most Delicious Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad:
- Use good-quality Parmesan. Because this salad has so few ingredients, quality really counts. Please, PLEASE do not, under any circumstances, use the green can.
- For affordable fresh Parmesan in a hurry, I like to buy a big block of Parmesan from Trader Joe’s (it tastes incredible and is ridiculously inexpensive), cut it into hunks, then pulse the hunks in my food processor until they are finely ground.
- What Parm I don’t use right away can safely last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for weeks.
- Even if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, the least expensive block of Parm at your grocery store is going to be a much better choice than the canned stuff.
- Dress to impress. The same is true of the Caesar dressing—quality counts.
- Best-case scenario: Use my favorite homemade Caesar dressing. It’s made with Greek yogurt and comes together in 5 minutes in your blender.
- A really tasty, faster option: Use a good quality store-bought Caesar. I recommend the fresher ones that are found in the refrigerator section of your grocery store, usually by the produce. Make sure you can pronounce all of the ingredients. I especially like the Greek-yogurt-based ones.
How to Shave Brussels Sprouts (Three Methods):
- If you have a food processor with a slicing blade like these, this is by far the quickest route. It takes fewer than 5 minutes to shred all of the sprouts.
- The second-best option is a mandoline slicer (I own and love this one). Hold the sprout firmly by the stem end and watch your fingers very carefully, stopping before you reach the end.
- A final option is a good sharp chef’s knife. Slice the sprouts thinly and patiently. I promise it will be worth your while (and it goes more quickly than you’d think!).
Go forth and brussel!
Caesar Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons
For the Roasted Chickpea Croutons:
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas — or 1 15-ounce can low-sodium chickpeas
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper — optional
For the Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad:
- 1/2 batch Homemade Caesar Dressing*
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons finely ground Parmesan cheese — or 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
- Freshly ground pepper
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse and drain the chickpeas; lay them on a double layer of paper towels and dry them as much as you can. Transfer the dried chickpeas to a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and cayenne (if using). Toss to combine, then spread into an even layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until brown and crispy, shaking the pan once or twice throughout. Set aside to cool.
- While the chickpeas are roasting, make the Caesar dressing.
- For the fastest possible shredding, cut the end of the bottom off of the brussels sprouts, then shred them using a food processor slicing blade like one of these. Alternatively, you can carefully slice the brussels sprouts with a mandoline, taking care to watch your fingers. I recommend holding the stem, slicing from the top, and discarding the bottom stem. If you do not have a food processor OR a mandoline, you can use a sharp chef's knife: remove the stems and any wilted outer leaves, then slice the sprouts into very thin ribbons. For all methods: once the brussels sprouts are sliced, place the shreds in a bowl, then toss and fluff them with a fork or your fingers.
- Add half of the chickpeas, two-thirds of the dressing, and Parmesan to the bowl. Toss to evenly moisten, then add a little extra dressing as desired. Taste and season with black pepper as desired. Sprinkle with the remaining chickpeas. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
- This salad tastes even better if it sits for a few hours. You can make it up to 1 day ahead for a party. I recommend lightly moistening it with half the desired amount of dressing, then adding the remaining dressing right before serving. I also recommend storing the chickpeas separately and adding them just before serving so that they stay extra crisp.
- Make the chickpeas up to 1 day in advance. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Leftover salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I recommend waking it back up with a squirt of lemon juice and an extra drizzle of Caesar dressing.
- Dressing tip: You'll only need about half of the full amount of the homemade Caesar dressing. I ended up making a whole batch, then using the extra with the leftover salad and throughout the week.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 cup) — Calories: 144, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 261mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 7g
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