Hey guys. Shhh. Don’t be loud. There’s a baby sleeping in here. My friend asked me to come over and watch her while she runs to a doctor’s appointment. Little Miss Mirabel June is looking cozy in her pale pink cocoon. All I can see of her is her sweet pink face. I wonder what two-month-olds dream about.
I bet they dream about food, but not the kind of food that I like to eat these days. Definitely not coleslaw. I never ate coleslaw as a kid so it’s a novelty to me now. I always avoided the mysterious mayonnaise-laden salads at potlucks (what was hiding under there?). Looking back, I suspect that I missed out on a few wonderful slaws and a lot of terrible Jell-O salads. Oh well.
Coleslaw got my full attention on a warm night this summer. A few friends and I drove to Justus Drugstore, a family-owned, former-drugstore-turned-gourmet-restaurant in a quaint town outside of Kansas City. We sat on the patio, which has a more casual menu than the inside. Three swanky cocktails later, our food arrived. My veggie burger came with a side of coleslaw. I took a bite and my taste buds did a little happy dance. That slaw was something else. It was crisp, fresh, tangy and sweet all at once. It teetered on the border of being too sweet or too tangy but never fell off the edge. It was perfect.
I’ve been obsessed with recreating the Justus coleslaw experience ever since. I called and asked the hostess to read the ingredients off the menu for me (house-made pear cider, vinegar pickled celery root, ginger and pickled carrot), but their slaw didn’t seem feasible for home cooks. I’ve since made bowls and bowls of vinegar-based cabbage coleslaw but none satisfied like the Justus slaw.
The other day, I noticed two of my real-life friends tweeting about a salad, so of course I had to know more about it. It was a Brussels sprout and arugula salad with honey mustard dressing at The Mixx, one of my favorite places in town. Being me, I had to try the salad immediately. While I was happily chomping away on that giant Brussels salad, it occurred to me that shredded Brussels would make a great substitute for the finely shredded celery root in the Justus slaw. Then it occurred to me that a nice, emulsified mustard dressing would be creamy, almost like mayonnaise. Bam! This salad was born.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- ⅓ cup slivered almonds, toasted (hickory smoked almonds would be great if you can find them)
- ⅓ cup tart dried cherries or cranberries, chopped
- ⅓ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Shred the sprouts: First, cut off the tough ends of the sprouts and any browning outer leaves. Then shred them in a food processor using the slicing blade, pressing the sprouts against the blade with the provided plastic pusher. If you don't have a food processor, slice them as thinly as possible using a sharp chef's knife, then give them a few extra chops for good measure.
- If you are using raw almonds, toast them over medium heat for three to four minutes, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and turning golden on the edges.
- Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and garlic until emulsified. In a medium serving bowl, toss the shredded sprouts with the almonds, chopped dried fruit, Parmesan and dressing. Serve.
Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for the honey and skip the Parmesan. Mixing a little bit of white miso into the dressing (miso is salty to use less salt) could help make up for the missing Parmesan.
Storage suggestions: This salad is best consumed within a few hours. Store leftovers in the fridge, covered. The edges of the sprouts might brown lightly over time. Wake up leftovers with a little sprinkle of salt and a tiny splash of vinegar.
Coconut bacon would be a great addition to this salad!
If you love this recipe: You'll also love my roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries, raw kale and Brussels sprouts salad with tahini-maple dressing and Deb's kale salad with apples, cranberries and pecans.
Make it nut free: Omit the almonds, and perhaps add pepitas or sunflower seeds if desired.