I left my house. Small miracle.
I wore a cute dress. Purely accidental.
I left my house with salad in my car to have dinner with food blog friends. There was gin. Win.
Dinner with food blog friends includes laughs, several layers of flatware, boiling pots, large bowls to toss salads, lemon zest, wine… lots of wine, cameras… lots of cameras, and full bellies. So freaking full.
Twinkles. Sparkles. Smiles. Doves flying over head… you get the idea.
My salad was the first of three glorious courses. My inspiration: Andy’s big, green blog.
If you don’t know Andy’s blog… it’s full of surprises. He has a knack for seasonal food, with a twist.
I thought a raw Brussels Sprout Salad with tropical fruit, roasted nuts and a Pineapple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette, was just weirdo enough to live up to Andy’s work.
You should also know that I use fresh pineapple. Canned pineapple would probably do, but there is something special about the bold brightness of fresh pineapple. They sell fresh pineapple pre-sliced at my grocery store. I totally splurged on that rather than fighting to slice a whole pineapple. Sometimes I splurge.
Can I just pat myself on the back and tell you how crazy delicious this salad is?
So super yummy and unexpected.
Raw Brussels sprouts are sliced into delicate ribbons and tossed with first-of-the-season pineapple, olive oil roasted macadamia nuts, earthy French lentils, and creamy avocado. Scallions and fresh parsley are just a bonus.
I tossed the entire salad with a bright, tangy pineapple vinaigrette made from fresh pineapple, rice wine vinegar, honey and poppy seeds. The pineapple is all up in your face and suuuuper delicious.
Now! This salad is super versatile. Think of the directions and ingredients below as suggestions.
Make this salad with Romaine lettuce. Substitute brown lentils or black beans. Add lime juice and zest to the vinaigrette. Really… if it sounds delicious in your brain, you can probably make it delicious in this salad.
For more fancy food blog dinner party shots and links soon. Stay tuned.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pineapple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Makes: 12 small or 6 large servings… yea, big salad
8 cups raw Brussels sprouts ribbons (lay sprouts on their sides and sliced thin, creating green ribbons)
1/2 cup scallions, sliced from the white to the green
1/4 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks, sliced bite size
1 cup French Lentils, cooked
1 cup raw macadamia nuts, roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper
1 cup avocado chunks
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Toss raw macadamia nuts in 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Simmer one cup of French lentils in 3 cups of water. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until just cooked through. Drain completely, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside to cool completely.
Slice pineapple into bite size chunks
Prepare salad dressing.
Just before serving the salad, toss together Brussels sprouts, scallions, parsley, pineapple, lentils, macadamia nuts and avocado chunks. Drizzle in dressing and toss well. Serve immediately.
Pineapple Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Makes: 2 cups
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons chopped scallions (the white portion)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
salt and pepper to taste
Place fresh pineapple chunks in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend pineapple into a mostly smooth, frothy pulp. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and press the pineapple puree through the strainer into the bowl. Scrape the bottom of the fine mesh strainer to get all the good bits. There will be just a bit of pineapple pulp in the fine mesh strainer when you’re done. You’ll have about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of juice/pulp.
In the the bowl of the food processor, combine juice/pump, honey, rice wine vinegar, scallions, garlic, and mustard. Pulse 5 times to incorporate. With the food processor on, slowly stream in the canola oil. Stop the food processor once the dressing is emulsified. Pour the dressing into a medium bowl and stir in poppy seeds, salt and pepper.
Salad dressing should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.