A light & festive vegan brussels sprouts salad made with oil-free citrus vinaigrette, orange-infused cranberries, pistachios and fresh mint.
Why I Love this Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries and Citrus Dressing
When I think of the holidays—along with savory herbs like rosemary and thyme—fruity flavors (and colors!) like orange and cranberry come to mind. A little sweet, a little tart, citrus and cranberries are natural complements.
So a salad with orange-infused cranberries, oil-free citrus vinaigrette dressing, pistachios and mint? You know that’s going look and taste amazing!
Why do we bother to infuse the cranberries with orange, you ask? You could just use plain cranberries on this salad. But soaking them in hot orange juice makes them just a bit sweeter and brighter, and gives them a pleasing, plump and juicy texture.
And while roasted brussels sprouts are nothing short of glorious, I appreciate the crunch they bring to the table in this shaved salad. (You don’t really want to roast ALL of your veggies, right?)
What Makes this Salad So Nutritious?
First, brussels sprouts are a nutrition-packed cruciferous veggie. So nutritious in fact that Dr. Greger of NutritionFacts.org recommends we get at least one cruciferous serving a day (video).
Second, organic cranberries are full of health benefits. They’re high in anti-oxidants, they’re anti-inflammatory, and are thought to help prevent conditions from urinary tract infections to cancers.
Plus, the orange-infused cranberries in this salad are way better for you than that canned stuff you grew up eating!
Finally, the citrus vinaigrette dressing is free of artery-damaging oils, and low in sodium. (Most of the sodium in this recipe comes from miso, a healthier ‘green light’ salt.)
How to Make This Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad
Making this salad is really simple, with the exception perhaps of shaving the brussels sprouts. Let’s break it down, step by step:
First, make the dressing. This comes together quickly in the food processor. It builds flavor resting in the fridge for 30 minutes, so I like to make it first.
Second, make the orange-infused cranberries. You’re basically going to bring some freshly squeezed OJ to a boil, and let your cranberries sit in the hot liquid for 15 minutes or more.
Third, shave your brussels. While the dressing is resting and the cranberries are soaking, you tackle those brussels. Trim off the ends and use your mandoline or food processor to shave them down. (See the expert tips below.)
Finally, assemble the salad. You can either toss everything together at once, or save some cranberries, mint and pistachios to sprinkle on top. The 2ndoption looks prettier.
Shaving the brussels sprouts. I love my mandoline, but honestly, I find it a bit tedious to shave each little sprout one at a time. So I prefer the fine shredding blade on my food processor. You could accomplish this with a knife, but it will be a challenge.
Serve your brussels raw-or not quite. If you find the texture of raw brussels sprouts a little too crunchy or have difficulty digesting them, you can lightly parboil them. (See the recipe notes.)
The dressing. I like my salads lightly dressed, but if you prefer more dressing, increase the recipe by 50% or even double it.
Don’t skip the mint! Fresh herbs can be expensive, and around the holidays, stores can run out. But do try to include it. The fresh, light flavor really helps pull everything together.
To make it pretty. To make this and most of my salad recipes as pretty as they can be, I like to reserve some ingredients to top the salad after it’s been tossed in dressing. Here, saving some whole mint leaves, cranberries and pistachios for the top looks quite lovely. Ditto for some thin orange slices.
For alternatives to the nuts, maple syrup or miso paste in this recipe, please see the recipe notes.
I hope you give this one a try. The combination of flavors here is so light, refreshing and festive, it’s perfect for the holidays.
In fact, I served the very salad pictured here to my family one Thanksgiving. It was huge hit—even with the folks who weren’t big salad or brussels sprouts fans.
Check out some of my other holiday favorites: Balsamic Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Healthy Apple Crisp, Vegan Cheesy Potato Casserole, Vegan Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole, Healthy Twice-Baked Potatoes, Instant Pot Collard Greens, and Healthy Brownies with Peppermint Frosting.
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Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cranberries & Citrus Dressing
Oil-Free Citrus Vinaigrette (makes about ½ cup - see notes)
- ½ large orange juiced and zested (or one small orange--about 3+ tablespoons of juice)
- 1 lemon juiced and zested (about 3+ tablespoons of juice)
- 2 teaspoons almond butter
- 2 teaspoon mellow white miso paste
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 large shallot finely diced
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Brussels Sprouts Salad
- 1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts cleaned and ends removed
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves chopped (reserve some whole leaves for garnish if desired)
- ½ cup pistachios chopped
- ½ cup dried organic cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice
To make the vinaigrette:
- Mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients except the lemon zest and orange zest in blender, and process until well blended.
- Pour the vinaigrette into a bowl or plastic container, and whisk in the lemon zest and orange zest.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill and allow the flavors to blend, for at least 30 minutes.
To make the orange-infused cranberries:
- Bring the orange juice to boiling in a sauce pan, stir in the dried cranberries, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for 15-25 minutes or until the cranberries are soft.
To make the salad:
- Shave the brussels sprouts using your food processor's fine slicing blade, or by hand using a mandoline slicer. (Leave them raw, or if you prefer, LIGHTLY parboil them. See notes.)
- Place the shaved brussels sprouts in a large bowl, add the chopped mint leaves and half the chopped pistachios, and toss together. Pour the citrus vinaigrette over the salad and toss well to coat.
- To assemble, place the salad on large serving platter or individual dishes, and top with the remaining chopped pistachios and cranberries. Garnish with reserved whole mint leaves if desired.
- Dressing. I like my salads lightly dressed. If I need a bit of extra flavor, I'll season with some pepper. But if you prefer more dressing, increase the recipe by 50% or even double it.
- To make orange-infused cranberries: Bring 1 cup of orange juice to boiling in a sauce pan, add ½ cup of dried cranberries, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Brussels-raw or not. I personally enjoy this salad with raw brussels sprouts. But if you find the texture a little too crunchy or have difficulty digesting raw cruciferous veggies, you can drop them into boiling water for no more than 30 seconds--just until they start to turn bright green. Then immediately drain them in a colander and rinse them under very cold water to stop the cooking.
- Mint. Fresh herbs can be expensive, and around the holidays, stores can run out. But do try to include the mint in this recipe--it adds such a fresh, light flavor, and really helps pull everything together.
- To make it nut free: omit the almond butter or sub tahini, and omit the pistachios or sub sunflower seeds or pepitas.
- To make it maple syrup free: omit or add 2 teaspoons of date paste
- About the mellow white miso paste: Most of the sodium in this recipe comes form the miso, but it's considered a 'green light' salt (video) that's less damaging than table salt. I like using mellow white miso paste in a lot of recipes that might call for oil. You can usually find it near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
This post has been updated, but the recipe has not been changed.
What do you do with the 1 cup of orange juice that the cranberries were in? Does it get completely absorbed?
Hi Marie, How much orange juice gets absorbed will depend somewhat on the cranberries, and how much moisture they start with. You need enough juice to cover them for the best results. You can either use any leftover juice elsewhere, or you if you switch up the order of the recipe instructions, you could even use it in the dressing.