This vegan Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad is a quick and healthy side dish that pairs well with just about any main course. With its impressive presentation, it’s the perfect lighter side to add to your holiday meal!
If you’re looking for more vegan holiday sides, try my easy Vegan Green Bean Casserole!
How beautiful is this salad? It’s a stunner and so festive, working equally well for both Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. Whether you’re doing a full vegan feast, or want to have a lighter side dish to balance some of the richer foods in your meal, your guests will love this salad! It’s naturally gluten free and dairy free, for those that have dietary restrictions.
There are so many textures and flavours going on here. The crispy almonds and pepitas were a hit in my Almond Apple Quinoa Salad, so I’ve used them again in this recipe. Kale and Brussels sprouts hold up well tossed in the orange maple vinaigrette, so they won’t get soggy and sad while you prepare other parts of your meal. You can even prep most of this dish ahead of time (see my tips in the recipe card below).
Below is an overview of the ingredients and steps to make Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad. See the recipe card below for all the details!
For the crispy almonds
- Blanched almond slices – whole almonds work too
- Pepitas – these are a variety of pumpkin seed that don’t require shelling
- Wheat-free tamari – or use soy sauce if you’re not following a gluten-free diet
For the maple orange vinaigrette
- Olive oil
- Orange juice – freshly squeezed or 100% pure, if you’re using store-bought juice
- Apple cider vinegar – for acidity to balance the sweetness of the juice and syrup
- Maple syrup – the real stuff!
- Dijon mustard – adds tangy flavour and spice
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
For the salad
- Brussels sprouts – washed, woody ends and loose leaves removed
- Green curly kale – removed from the large stem and chopped into small bite-size pieces. I like to wash kale in a salad spinner after tearing from the stems.
- Shallots – sliced in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
- Dried cranberries
- Apples – I like to use different colours for visual variety
How to make it
First, make the crispy almonds and pepitas. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the baking sheet, toss the sliced almonds and pepitas with the tamari, cumin and paprika. Spread them out in an even layer and bake for 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to crisp up.
Next, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl or mason jar, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, sea salt and black pepper.
Then, dress the greens. Place the shredded Brussels sprouts, chopped kale and sliced shallots in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss until the greens are nicely coated. Let this marinate for 5-10 minutes to soften the kale.
Finally, assemble the salad. Gently fold in the almond/pepita mixture, dried cranberries and apple slices, until they’re evenly distributed.
Tips for Success
For a beautiful presentation, reserve half of the mix-ins (almond/pepita mixture, dried cranberries and sliced apples). Pile the salad high on a large, shallow serving bowl and arrange the reserved mix-ins on top, as pictured. Not only does the salad look gorgeous this way, your guests can more easily select the elements of the salad they most enjoy.
Prep parts of the salad ahead of time. The almonds/pepitas, vinaigrette and greens can all be prepared the day before. For best results, assemble the salad the day you’ll be serving it. See the notes in the recipe card below for details.
Use a food processor to shred the Brussels sprouts. If you have a food processor with a slicing blade attachment, this is much faster than slicing the sprouts using a chef’s knife.
Let the Brussels and kale mixture marinate in the vinaigrette. This will help them soften into a more pleasing texture.
More holiday side dishes
- Green Beans Almondine
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Cauliflower Mash
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
For the toasted almonds and pepitas
- ½ cup blanched almond slices (or sub whole almonds, see note 1)
- ½ cup pepitas
- 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari (or sub soy sauce if not gluten free)
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
For the maple orange vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or 100% pure orange juice)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
For the salad
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded/thinly sliced
- 6 cups chopped green curly kale
- ⅔ cup thinly sliced shallot
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 apples, thinly sliced
- Prepare the crispy almonds. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the sheet pan, toss the sliced almonds and pepitas with the tamari, cumin and paprika, then spread them in an even layer. Bake for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and turning golden brown. Once baked, set them aside to cool and crisp up, while you prepare other parts of the salad.
- Make the vinaigrette. In a mason jar or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, sea salt and black pepper.
- Dress the greens. Place the shredded Brussels sprouts, chopped kale and sliced shallots in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss until the greens are evenly coated. For best results, let the greens and shallots marinate in the dressing for 5-10 minutes.
- Assemble the salad. Gently fold in the crispy almonds and pepitas, dried cranberries and apple slices. Pro tip: for a beautiful presentation, reserve half of the almonds/pepitas, cranberries and apple slices (don't mix them in). Pile the salad high onto a large shallow serving bowl, then top with the reserved mix-ins, as pictured.
- Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator and eat within a day.
- If you have whole almonds rather than almond slices, I recommend baking for at least 10 minutes, rather than 5-7 minutes.
- Make-ahead tips: for best results, keep the elements of the dish separate until shortly before you’re ready to serve.
- The crispy almonds and pepitas can be baked ahead of time and stored in a sealed container.
- The Brussels sprouts and kale can be shredded/chopped the day before. Store them together in the large bowl in the fridge, covered.
- Make the dressing in a mason jar with a lid and store in the fridge. Allow it to warm up a bit on the counter before re-shaking and adding it to the greens.
- Slice the apple right before assembling, so it doesn’t turn brown.
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Hey, I’m Laura!
Creator of The Recipe Well
I love food and cooking, but hate doing the dishes. I use my nutrition degree to create easy, approachable recipes that will help you find your happy place in the kitchen.