This Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad with Pecorino & Toasted Pepitas graced our holiday table this season. The lemony-mustardy vinaigrette softens this thinly shredded salad and adds a satisfying depth of flavor while grated Pecorino Romano cheese contributes a piquant bite. Pepitas is a Spanish culinary term for pumpkin seeds and these green-colored oval seeds were my choice for the garnish. But of course, you can try making it with pine nuts, walnuts or almonds instead. Once toasted, they add a nutty crunch to this raw salad. Besides being absolutely delicious, the beauty of this dish is that it can be pre-assembled a day in advance, in which case you’ll just need to drizzle it lightly with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent oxidation then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Dressing can be made in advance as well, and in fact, that will let the flavors blend better. Whisk it up and keep it chilled in a separate container.
Ingredients: brussels sprouts, Tuscan kale, pepitas, Pecorino Romano, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil (sweet not peppery), salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When buying kale, look for firm deep green leaves with no signs of wilting or yellowing. Kale is sensitive to ethylene found in fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, avocados to name a few, consume these antioxidant-rich winter greens in the next two days after purchasing.
Brussels sprouts are another winter power house of good enzymes and antioxidants for you. Look for firm, bright green ones with no signs of yellowing heads. I like smaller varieties; they taste sweeter and take less time to prepare. They keep fresh refrigerated for up to 1 week in a plastic bag.
Trim off the dry base of the sprouts and halve the heads. Using a sharp long knife finely shred them. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Wash kale leaves thoroughly under cold running water. Remove its tough center stems with a knife and discard them.
Wrap the leaves tightly and shred thinly. Add to the brussels sprouts.
To make the dressing, whisk mustard, lemon juice and olive oil together. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Add pepitas to the hot skillet and let them brown on all side for about 3 minutes. Transfer seeds to a glass container and let cool. Mix thinly shredded kale and brussels sprouts in a large bowl, add the dressing, cheese and seeds; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.