For ten years now I've been experimenting with ideas for Thanksgiving and adding recipes to my collection of Carb-Conscious Thanksgiving Recipes. And every year among the low-carb options there have been a couple of Thanksgiving recipes that are a little indulgent if you're trying to stick to a lower-carb diet. I acknowledge that but don't really apologize for it, because Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and even my most indulgent dishes are still lower in carbs and use healthier ingredients than most of the Thanksgiving food you'll see this time of year.
In this Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Parmesan there are a lot of healthy raw brussels sprouts and very small amounts of bacon, dried cranberries, and Parmesan. You can certainly get by with less bacon than the 5 pieces I used, and discard all the bacon grease and make the salad with entirely olive oil if that sounds better to you. The most carb-heavy ingredients here are dried cranberries and a couple of teaspoons of maple syrup in the dressing, and if you omit the cranberries and use sugar-free maple syrup this could be a very low-carb salad.
Please adapt the recipe to fit your own personal needs and eating preferences, but no matter how you change it up, if you've never had a salad with raw brussels sprouts, I hope you'll try this one. I made this salad with both Jake and Kara to get the recipe just right, and both of them loved it as much as I did! And it's a little early to say for sure, but I suspect it's probably going to be my favorite new Thanksgiving recipe for 2014!
I bought brussels sprouts that were already well-trimmed and just cut them in half. Use the slicing blade of a Food Processor, a Mandoline Slicer or sharp knife to slice the brussel sprouts. Measure out the almonds, Parmesan, and dried cranberries, then toast the almonds in a dry pan until they're fragrant, about 2 minutes.
I used thick-sliced bacon for this recipe, and although we cooked 6 slices, we agreed the salad could be just as good with only 3-4 slices of bacon. We poured out all the bacon grease from the pan and then used 2 tablespoons to add to the dressing mixture. Cut the bacon into short strips once it's cool enough to handle.
Whisk together the 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, red wine vinegar, and maple syrup to make the dressing. (Or use all olive oil if you prefer.) Put the dressing in the pan you cooked the bacon in and heat until it's starting to bubble. Then toss the hot dressing with the raw brussels sprouts and mix in the bacon, cranberries, toasted almonds, and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Enjoy!
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe inspired by this brussels sprouts salad from Rachel Ray.)
1 lb. brussels sprouts (preferably pre-trimmed)
6 slices thick bacon (or less)
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or less)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or less)
1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmesan (or less)
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 T bacon grease from pan drippings (or replace with additional olive oil)
1 T olive oil
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I used my fresh-frozen lemon juice)
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
2 tsp. maple syrup (or use sugar-free maple syrup if you prefer)
Trim brussels sprouts if needed and cut in half. Thinly slice brussels sprouts. (I used the slicing blade of my Cuisinart Food Processor to slice them, but you can also use a Mandoline Slicer or just a sharp knife.) Put the shredded brussels sprouts into a salad bowl. Measure out the almonds, dried cranberries, and Parmesan and then toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium-high heat until they're fragrant, about 2 minutes (but watch them carefully!)
Cook the bacon in a hot pan until it's very crisp; then drain on paper towels and let cool. (I use a paper towel on top to press down on the bacon and absorb as much grease as possible.) Pour the bacon grease in the pan into a glass container; then measure 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and put in a glass measuring cup. (If you prefer, use 2 more tablespoons olive oil instead of bacon grease.) Add the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, red wine vinegar, and maple syrup and whisk until well-combined.
Chop the bacon into thin strips. Put the dressing mixture into the same pan you cooked the bacon in and heat until it's bubbling. Pour over the brussels sprouts and stir to combine, then gently stir in the chopped bacon, toasted almonds, dried cranberries, and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
To Make Ahead:
Everything except the final step of warming the dressing and combining it with the shredded brussels sprouts and then mixing in the other ingredients can be done ahead.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well this kept in the fridge overnight. I shared the leftovers with Jake and then Kara the two times I made it, but both times I had enough left for a good lunch the next day!
South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
As mentioned, this salad has some things I consider to be indulgent ingredients, although it's mostly raw brussels sprouts, which are about as nutritious as any salad ingredient you can use. But if you're strictly following the South Beach Diet you can make this salad more diet-friendly by switching the bacon grease for olive oil, omitting the dried cranberries, and using sugar-free maple syrup. If you're counting carbs, the highest-carb ingredients here are the dried cranberries and the maple syrup.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Tasty Brussels Sprouts:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Easy Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Swiss and Parmesan ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Warm Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Asian Citrus Dressing ~ Nom Nom Paleo
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Avocado and Pecans ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Maple-Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash and Brussels Sprouts ~ Simply Recipes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts ~ Kalyn's
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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