Vegan shaved Brussels sprouts salad with tomatoes, red onion, bacon, and cashew ranch dressing makes a heavenly combination of savory salad decadence that you must eat to believe.
We’re elevating Brussels sprouts from their traditional roles of supporting holiday side to center stage. Shaved sprouts are getting their must-deserved wings! And this sprout celebration wouldn’t be complete without some celebrity powerhouse help from two of our all-time favorites – bacon and ranch?
Seriously, even if you are a sprout skeptic, can you really resist crunchy shaved sprouts like this? I say No!
Don’t misunderstand, a side of roasted sprouts and grapes are one of our holiday traditions that won’t be replaced any time soon. I learned several years ago that roasting or pan-frying sprouts is absolutely the way to take them to delectable new heights.
Have you tried raw sprouts?
Maybe because they look like little green cabbages, you’d expect them to taste like that. Sprouts are part of the brassica family that includes cabbage, broccoli, and kale. The flavor could best be described as somewhere between green cabbage and broccoli.
If you’ve tried raw spouts before and found them a bit bitter, don’t give up! Look for smaller, greener sprouts (you can find them called ‘baby Brussels’). They are a bit sweeter and are less bitter and milder.
Are raw Brussels sprouts good for you?
Yep and yes! Like the unassuming heroine of your favorite novel, shaved Brussels sprouts salad gives nutritional love. Sprouts are packed with fiber and are a good source of vitamins C, A, K, potassium, and folate. If you eat them fresh and raw, guess what? They’ll be giving you all the goodness they have.
Even better, shaved Brussels sprouts hold their own in salads. They stay crunchy, even when creamy ranch dressing moves in or when those cherry tomatoes release some of their sweet acids. Never backing down, our superhero sprout. Never backing down.
How to shave (slice thin) Brussels sprouts
There are three options for shaving Brussels sprouts, all with pluses and minuses. Before you embrace any (or all) of these methods, start by washing 2 cups of sprouts. Remove any leaves that are damaged and cut off the ends. Now, let the shredding begin!
The first method: using a sharp knife, is a bit tedious but presents a good time for reflection. Keep out of a full meditative state though, you want to aim for thin slices (and not your fingers). Since you’re already cutting the ends off the sprouts, keep slicing. If that feels efficient, keep going. It’s only 2 cups after all, and the process will be quick once you get in the slicing zone.
No knife patience? Try a mandoline is you have one. There's no daydreaming for this job. You need full faculties in high alert whenever you use a mandoline. Use the thinnest blade and please, please be sure you are extra super careful. Use a guard or even better, use a cut-resistant glove.
Probably because I am a clumsy chef and I tend to daydream whenever possible; my preferred method is using a food processor with the thin slicing blade. You could accuse me of taking the lazy way out of shredding duty, but I would counter that by stating that the food processor is by far the safest. It’s also the quickest.
Shred ahead. Brussels sprouts can be prepped 2 days ahead of time. Keep them in an airtight container or bag in the fridge.
Want more making ahead? You can do the same can be said of the bacon and ranch dressing.
If you aren’t familiar with my special sheet pan, plant-based bacon, get ready. It’s the best way to make tofu bacon ever!
I’d actually recommend that you start your Brussels sprouts salad by making the bacon. It takes 20 minutes to press and about 25-30 minutes in the oven, so that gives you time to get the sprouts shaved and make the ranch dressing.
You’ll want to give the bacon 10 minutes or so to crisp up before cutting or crumbling it into bacon bits. Here’s the hard part – stay out of the bacon! Try to distract yourself. I know it’s a challenge, but the wait will be worth it once you get it into the salad. Or should I say 'most' of it into the salad bowl?
AND creamy ranch
I promise that I didn’t just build this salad around our favorite plant-based ranch. But any time I can sneak it in, it's happening. Bacon and ranch? This already has the makings of a salad recipe for the ages.
Plus, you can make this fantastic cashew ranch dressing in just a few minutes. No soaking required!
I use a spice grinder to break the cashews into a fine powder. Then add the following to a blender:
1 cup ground cashews
½ cup plant milk (I used oat milk)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. onion powder
After you adjust the consistency by adding a bit more milk, transfer it to bowl and add:
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
½ tsp. ground black pepper
After getting the bacon and ranch dressing ready, I shaved the Brussels sprouts, and sliced 2 cups of cherry tomatoes in half, and diced small red onion. Mix all that together.
The texture and flavor of the shaved Brussels sprouts, when combined with the rest of the great ingredients in this recipe, might remind you of a decadent slaw.
It's honestly more than that least because of the crunchy sprouts. You'll discover that when you start dipping into this salad – well before it’s on the table. Please, try to get it to the table. Sharing is caring.
Maybe the heavens aren’t going to open up with angles singing and all that when you sit down one moment and are faced with an empty bowl of Brussels sprouts salad within minutes. But I can assure you, there will be a smile on your face once you experience the sheer delight of this great salad.
Even if you aren’t Brussels sprouts inspired, this could be your game changer. This salad screams 'eat' (healthy or not), it’s meant for seconds (if you can get them). You can even quiet skeptical food critics - even if that critic is you. Peace.
My whole-food plant-based journey has initiated many the recipe makeover in my kitchen. Beyond recipe transformation to whole food, plant-based, my transition has really been dependent not allowing my story to determine my destiny. Reflecting on the past might stack the deck in favor of a failure, but if we can take our story, glean what we can and move on, perhaps we are not doomed to repeat the past. Peace.Print
Vegan shaved Brussels sprouts salad with bacon and cashew ranch dressing
Vegan shaved Brussels sprouts salad with tomatoes, red onion, bacon, and cashew ranch dressing is the savory salad decadence that you must eat to believe.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 main servings 1x
- Category: Salads & Bowls
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 8 oz. (250 gm.) tofu
- ¼ cup (60 ml) tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Cashew ranch dressing
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ – 1 cups plant milk (I used oat milk)
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
Brussels sprouts salad (the rest)
- 2 cups, Brussels sprouts with the ends trimmed and shaved (sliced thin)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 medium red onion, diced
- Rinse the tofu and press it between two plates or other surfaces with the top surface weighted to help get the moisture out of the tofu. I find it helpful to cut the tofu into quarters before pressing it. Press for 20-30 minutes.
- Once you’ve pressed the tofu, set the oven to preheat at 4000 F (2000 C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add the tofu, tamari, maple syrup, liquid smoke, vinegar, onion, and garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to a food processor with a blade and process the ingredients until smooth.
- Turn the tofu onto the baking tray and use a spoon to spread it evenly. Try to spread it to a consistent thickness of ¼ inch (thicker if you want).
- Place the tofu in the center rack of the heated oven and bake until the tofu starts to firm up and brown (about 20 - 25 minutes).
- Once browned, remove the baking tray from the oven (leave the oven on) and place it on the stove or somewhere it won’t burn the surface.
- Place a new sheet of parchment paper over the top of the tray and cutting board over that. Flip everything over so that the cutting board is now at the bottom (use oven mitts if the tray is hot). Remove the board and the top sheet of parchment paper.
- Carefully slice the bacon into strips and gently separate them.
- Slide the bacon on the parchment paper back onto the baking tray. Continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes until it is browned.
- The bacon gets crispier as it cools, so allow it to sit for a few minutes before cutting or breaking it into bacon bits for the salad.
Cashew ranch dressing
- Using a powerful blender or spice grinder, grind dry cashews into a powder.
- In a blender, add the cashews, ½ cup of plant milk, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 clove minced garlic, and 1 tsp. onion powder. Blend until smooth. Test the consistency and add more milk if desired. Taste again and add more of any ingredients if desired.
- Transfer the dressing to a small bowl and use a spoon to mix in the dill and chives.
- Add ground black pepper to taste.
Assemble the Salad
- To make the salad, add the shaved sprouts, tomatoes, onions, bacon, and dressing into a medium bowl. Mix to combine all the flavors.
- Serve immediately or cover, chill, and serve.
- Salad keeps for up to 2 days in the fridge.
- Prep and cook times account for making the entire salad includes the bacon and dressing. The prep time accounts for getting the tofu ready to press. Everything else can be done while the tofu presses and bakes.
- You can shred the Brussels sprouts up to 2 days ahead. Store them in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag in the fridge.
- The bacon and dressing can also be made 2-3 days ahead if desired.
- If you want to add more veggies to the salad, shredded carrots or diced cucumber are great options. A diced red pepper will add sweetness and can replace the tomatoes for a flavor twist.
Keywords: shaved Brussels sprouts salad