Creamy, tangy and crunchy, our Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad starts with the raw crispiness of the brussels sprouts smothered in a creamy mayo caesar dressing, topped with bacon and croutons. If you've never liked Brussels sprouts, you're going to now – you're welcome.
Brussels sprouts are a staple in our kitchen. While historically they're used as the primary example to describe a gross vegetable; bitter, soggy and brown, when cooked correctly these leafy buds are crunchy, nutty and earthy with a hint of sweetness resembling mini cabbage or brains as Philip and I like to joke.
One of our favourite ways to enjoy this leafy green is raw, shredded and tossed in a creamy homemade dressing with bacon and croutons, or simply a Shaved Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad. A true north Caesar salad, we used Ontario grown Brussels sprouts alongside bacon, a homemade mayonnaise dressing tossed with anchovies, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire and lemon juice, and homemade croutons topped with a generous pile of (not so Canadian) parmiggiano.
A staple in our kitchen especially when it comes to packed lunches and holiday potlucks, the rustic toughness of the vegetable allows for easy preparation and even easier and delicious eating as the rustic nature of the leaves hold the caesar dressing so well. For us, it's a must when holiday entertaining and a great way to add in a few cups of vegetables to your diet between rich and decadent holiday meals. Serve alongside our One Pot Chicken and Stuffing, Baked Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce, or Chicken Puttanesca for a complete meal.
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Each bite of our crispy Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad starts with the raw crispiness of the Brussels sprouts smothered in a creamy, traditional caesar dressing, topped with salty bacon and crunchy croutons, and finishing with a subtle blast of zingy lemon and punchy garlic. But each bite is a ferocious mix strong notes, flavourful garlic and a crunchy bite from the bacon, Brussels sprouts and bacon sure to impress your guests, and trust us, once you make this recipe it easily becomes a holiday favourite.
How to Make Shaved Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad
Bake your Croutons and Bacon
While there's no specific way to cook your croutons and bacon for your Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad, the simplest way is to bake them off in the oven. For the bacon, lay the strips on a wire cooling rack and set the rack on a baking sheet. This results is crispy and flat bacon, every time. For the croutons, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper, then place them on a separate baking sheet. Bake both the bacon and croutons in the oven set to 350° for 15 minutes. The croutons should be stirred about halfway through cooking. Alternatively, you can cook both the croutons and bacon in a frying pan or skillet.
How to Make Caesar Dressing
We opted for a mayo based dressing for our Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad for both flavour and simplicity. Start by mashing the anchovy fillets with the garlic and mustard. Mixing the flavours together will ensure you don't get any strong bits of anchovy flavour in the dressing. Once it develops into a paste, add the mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire, half the cheese. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Chef's Tip: Make the dressing in the bowl you're serving your salad in. Place the salad ingredients on top and once you're ready, just mix it up and place it on the table.
How to Cut the Brussels Sprouts
While it may not seem like it, using a mandolin or food processor will be the quickest and easiest way to prepare the Brussels sprouts. To shred the brussels sprouts with a mandolin, start by washing and removing any dirty leaves. Holding the sprouts by the stem, shave them at a ⅛ inch setting. For a food processor, remove any dirty leaves, cut stem off and process them using a shredding disc. If you don't have a mandolin or food processor, use a sharp chef's knife to thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. You want to aim for thin, shredded strips perfect for a side salad.
Now that the croutons and bacon are cooked, brussels sprouts shredded, and dressing made, it's time to assemble. Toss the shredded Brussels sprouts with the dressing until well coated. Add half the croutons, half the bacon and toss again. Top with remaining croutons, bacon, a good sprinkling of parm and some fresh ground black pepper. Store any leftover salad in a reusable container for up to a day after making. If you're taking this dish to a holiday potluck, consider layering the dressing at the bottom of a bowl, then add in your shredded Brussels sprouts, and top with bacon and croutons – then mix it once you get to the your party.
Helpful Tools and Ingredients to Make a Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad
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Shaved Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad
- 8 slices bacon
- ½ baguette cut into thumb sized cubes
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp salt divided
- ½ tsp fresh ground pepper divided
- 2 lbs brussels sprouts
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 lemons juiced
- 6 garlic cloves finely minced or grated
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- No. 1 | Preheat oven to 350°.
- No. 2 | In a large bowl, toss the baguette cubes with olive oil, ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet. Place a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet. Lay the bacon slices on the cooling rack. Bake the bacon and baguette cubes in the oven for 15 minutes, turning the bread halfway through. Once, done allow too cool to room temperature, then finely chop the bacon.
- No. 3 | In a large salad bowl, mash the anchovy, garlic and mustard together with a fork. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire, half the Parmigiano-Reggiano and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
- No. 4 | Shave the brussels sprouts using a mandolin, food processor, or a knife and place into the bowl with the dressing. Add half the bacon and croutons and toss until well coated. Serve with remaining, cheese, croutons, and bacon on top.
- If you do not have a wire cooling rack, then the bacon can be cooked in a frying pan or skillet until crisp.