I don’t know if I was happy or horrified by how well the Brussels sprouts I had in the fridge kept! I’ve been checking on them, watching as there were certainly things more desperate to be used at my house. They’ve been in my fridge veggie drawer since the first week we high-risk people were told to stay in so that’s five weeks now, I think! Well, it was high time to get after them and so came about this Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple & Feta.
To tell the truth, part of my keeping an eye on those Brussels involved just watching them to see just how long they would last! It almost became a challenge. Of course, I was pretty amazed that they were in such good shape (I think they’re in better shape than I am, staying at home) but now after opening them and making this salad, the rest have to be used up asap, so expect another Brussels recipe soon.
About Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple & Feta:
I was inspired to make this salad both from the ingredients I had and from a salad I saw at one of our higher-end groceries. It might have been Kowalskis or maybe it was Trader Joes. I won’t buy things like that but if I do happen to be in stores (during normal not new normal times) but I can’t help but browse by their delis and premade food. And when something catches my eye, I’ll even snap a pic of them for later inspiration!
What’s almost always true with salads like this is that they’re mostly greens (in this case the Brussels) and the pricier ingredients are arranged over top in the most attractive of ways.
So the ingredients here in this salad are apples, always a good keeper and inexpensive, and they’re the lion’s share of the “add-ins.” Then there’s a little Feta cheese, really about 1/4 cup of it (I still have the teensiest bit left from when I wrote What to Know About Feta Cheese), a few getting pretty sad blueberries, hoarded from a different recipe, some dried cranberries, and handful of walnuts. If you’ve stocked up on nuts and dried berries, here’s the way to make some good use of them!
If you wanted, some chicken, cubed or shredded would be a marvelous addition to this salad for a main dish option, although I’d eat this (and did) for dinner with no problem at all.
What’s a Good Dressing for This Salad?:
The original salad recommended a Basil dressing. Honestly my basil I bought in from my little herb garden last fall is still limping along but the amount needed for a dressing seemed too great of a sacrifice. It’s going right back outside as soon as it’s warm enough. My solution? A little of the pesto I have stashed in the freezer! That recipe is my Easy Basil Pesto Dressing and it can be made out of any Pesto, homemade, refrigerated or jarred.
To go in a whole ‘nuther direction, this recipe would be great with a Greek dressing, an Italian one (make one with my Italian Seasoning Blend, the instructions for the dressing are on that post) for a nice changeup. Just my opinion, but the stronger flavors of Brussels Sprouts go better with a stronger vinaigrette as opposed to a milder, sweeter one. And a vinaigrette seems to just work better with Brussels than a creamy dressing. But if something else appeals, go for it!
Making Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple & Feta:
There’s nothing to the making of the salad! Just layer the ingredients, add the dressing and toss it together. All that presentation in the photos is just a copy of the premade salad I saw.
To prepare the Brussels sprouts, trim the stem end which will almost always be hardened over from storage no matter how fresh your Brussels are. Remove any yellowed leaves. It takes about 10 seconds to run them through the food processor if you have one.
I just used a knife and timed it, just to see how long it would take to thinly slice by hand. About three minutes, if you’re organized and get after them. And I don’t have great knife skills just because I’m getting old and decrepit! At worst it might take a minute or two longer.
Don’t let the salad sit too long with the walnuts; if you make ahead, add them last minute. If you’d like to coax a bit more flavor from them, carefully toast them in a dry skillet, shaking and tossing them, for a minute or two. About the time you can smell them, they’re done. Remove them from the hot pan promptly so they don’t continue to cook. The apples will be fine for a bit if you toss them in a little lemon juice. A bottle of Real Lemon is a great thing to have in the fridge for things like this.
Saving Money on Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple & Feta:
So here’s the thing with purchased salads like this. The container was good sized but only weighed a pound. It was $9.99. Not one single item approached the price on its own of $9.99 so right off the bat, you know it wasn’t a good value.
Stores use four strategies to hook you in on prepared items like this.
- They make them attractive.
- They make them look like “more” with the way the ingredients are arranged.
- They use more of the cheaper ingredients and very small amounts of the more expensive ones.
- They use multiple pricey ingredients but in very small amounts.
We know we all love beautiful food and when it’s arranged so the pricier ingredients seem like more (and I arranged my salad the same way) they seem like a better value. And when we look at the salad, our minds immediately start adding it up…a package of berries $2.49, a package of Brussels $1.99, Feta cheese $3.99, Walnuts $1.89. dried cranberries, $1.99. It’s all a trick.
In reality, the ingredients were about 1/3 pound of Brussels, an apple, which is about 50 cents or so, and just a minuscule amount of the other ingredients. To put a salad like this on the table, you’d hopefully have some of these ingredients on hand, bought at a low and already in your pantry and make good use of the other ingredients (for instance I’ll make another dish with the remaining Brussels and I took the smidge of blueberries from another recipe I made.)
And of course, we can recreate recipes like this that have the same feel, if not the same ingredients and use what we do have. This salad ran me about 40 cents for the Brussels, about 30 cents for the apple, another 30 cents for the ounce of blueberries, the Feta around a buck (make sure to store Feta in a brine; see What to Know About Feta) and walnuts and cranberries, I’m guessing about another 80 cents. Under three dollars or so.
The real key to shopping these days is making do and using recipes like this for inspiration to riff off, relying on long-lasting ingredients and what you have on hand. (Admittedly those blueberries were a splurge! So precious! To make them last longer, soak berries for a few minutes in water with a splash of vinegar, then let them dry. Once dry then lay them on paper towels or napkins in a container.)Print
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apple & Feta
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 5 servings 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: American
- 1/4 to 1/3 pound Brussels Sprouts, sliced thinly
- 1 granny smith apple, cubed
- 1 ounce Feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts
Layer ingredients attractively across salad.
Keywords: Apple, Blueberries, Brussels Sprouts, Cheese, dried cranberries, Dried Fruit, Feta Cheese, Fruit, nuts, Salad, walnuts