Brussels Sprout and Apple Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
fall delights in change and maybe you should too
things you’ll need: brussels sprouts, optional lacinato kale, an apple, shallots (or another allium), pomegranate arils (that’s fancy talk for seeds), pomegranate juice, lemon zest, walnut oil (or neutral oil), apple cider vinegar, dijon, maple, some kind of seed or nut (like hazelnut, walnut, almond or pepitas), salt and pepper
dressing adapted from Steve Sicinski’s recipe on Food & Wine found here
incidentally gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan
Everything feels like change. Everything has been change for a long time now. Our jobs and responsibilities were too much before, but then they were REALLY too much. Everyone was supposed to be in it together, but it was obvious that we weren’t. Underneath all these changes was everything that refused the tide. So when the waves of change receded, the same too much was all still there. Now, we are all wet and tired of all the too much and some of us have started to turn away from the surf entirely.
It’s ok to reimagine a life that makes you happy. Whether that’s giving up law to become a vegan chef on TikTok or just not volunteering for that extra thing at work even though it probably won’t get done without you. Maybe you throw caution to the wind and upheave your whole life (maybe you already have) or maybe you just shift a little to allow more room for joy. Maybe that’s why you love autumn the best: everything changes to make room for what’s new, what’s coming.
In the meantime, it’s like nature asked you for a list of your favorite things and packed them all into one season: sweaters, boots, the changing leaves, extra blankets, soup, and hot beverages that pair well with whiskey. Fall also brings the harvest’s bounty: brassicas and pomaceous fruits, pomegranates and mushrooms, root vegetables and bulbous winter squashes. Fall is a great time for change but also for cooking and in order to change, you should be well-fed first.
When the pomegranates arrive, you always want to buy them. Then, they sit there waiting to be eaten and you think you will find a use for them, but life is busy (with all that too much stuff) and then you forget about the beautiful fruit and find it weeks later, a hardened shell of itself. Break the cycle and make this salad instead.
Shave or finely slice some brussels sprouts (and a little lacinato kale, if you like). Slice up a little (or a lot of) apple. Halve a shallot (or other onion) and thinly slice as much as you like to toss with the sprouts, apple, and kale. So much fall goodness in one place.
Crack open your pomegranate any way that you can. Watch some videos of people opening them cleanly and gracefully. When you try to replicate the technique, struggle and make a mess. Let the juice stain your fingers as you pick through the arils, removing all the membranes and inedible bits as best you can. Eat a few and then eat a whole handful.
For the dressing, measure out ¼ cup of pomegranate juice. Add a Tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, 1 ½ teaspoons each of Dijon and maple syrup, then add the zest of half a lemon (because always lemon). Using an immersion blender, or the strength of your whisking arm, emulsify the mix with ½ cup of walnut oil (or neutral oil of your choosing). Salt and pepper to taste. Taste a little more, then eat a few more arils.
Pick a nut of your choosing and toast them in a pan with butter (or in the oven with no butter for vegan). Eat a few more arils and some apple slices while you wait.
When the nuts are toasted and ready, toss the greens with the delightfully pink dressing, garnish with pomegranate arils (if you haven’t eaten them all), and then top with warm toasted nuts.
Big changes can be hard, but at least this salad is not.
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