Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grapes & Bacon Vinaigrette is an easy, filling, and flavorful side dish. Salty, crispy bacon pairs with sweet red grapes, pungent shallots, and a warm bacon vinaigrette.
| Whole30 + Paleo + gluten free + dairy free |
Who’s in need of a super simple side dish to kickstart spring?!
Even though Brussels sprouts are technically a fall thing, they’re still in season here and I plan to use them to their fullest! Who knew that the combination of Brussels sprouts, sweet red grapes, and salty bacon could be sooooooo insanely delicious?!
Oh wait – anything with bacon is delicious.
Today is the Ides of March, and spring has officially arrived. Thank goodness, too, because those last few weeks of winter were brutal here! Michigan was hit with the “polar vortex”, and then it rained for a couple days, and then everything froze, and then it snowed again. I made a lot of brownies during that time. We have some friends moving to Texas, but my husband probably doesn’t appreciate all the “subtle” hints I’ve been dropping…
We’ve had temperatures of minus 40 so I really got into the habit of making hearty, comforting meals like
- Cauliflower Polenta with Roasted Root Veggies
- Moroccan Chicken with Spiced Squash
- Creamy Roasted Parsnip & Pear Soup
Anyway, spring means a few things to me.
- Clean everything in sight and Marie Kondo my house like crazy. Donate all the things.
- BREAK OUT THE GRILL!
- I need a new bathing suit stat.
- Re-evaluate my life (AKA spring clean my heart)
- Buy all the fresh fruit I can get my hands on because I’m dreaming of Cherry Galettes and Blueberry French Toast.
- Count down the days until the Farmer’s Market opens.
- Related to the above, buy a really cute basket for all my farmer’s market finds (like this one or this one!).
This year, though, I think we’ll ease into the warmer months. Starting with a fresh, yet still kind of wintry, Brussels sprouts salad.
Yes, this Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grapes is everything I need right now. It’s an incredibly simple side dish, yet it’s packed full of flavor. The perfect blend of sweet, savory, salty, and crunchy.
How to make this Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grapes & Bacon Vinaigrette:
First, shred up the sprouts. If you’re going to use your food processor, I recommend only putting 6-8 sprouts in at one time. When the processor starts shredding them, they’ll take up a TON of space. And you’d much rather have larger shreds than Brussels sprouts mince IMHO.
Next, saute the shallot and half to three quarters of the Brussels sprouts. This way, you’ve got some raw pieces and some sauteed pieces. It’s a great combination.
Then it’s just a matter of mixing everything else into the bowl: crispy crumbled bacon (this no sugar bacon is my FAVE!), halved sweet red grapes, and toasted almonds (or walnuts!). Oh, and some Parmesan cheese if you aren’t dairy-free!
The warm bacon vinaigrette is what really light this dish up!
I mean there’s bacon fat in your salad dressing!!!
We’ll mix bacon fat rendered from the cooking process with a little lemon juice, whole grain mustard, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. If you’re following a Whole30 diet, either omit the honey or use 1 tsp. of date paste and whisk in it really well.
This Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grapes is perfect served with protein! How about…
- A simple herbed salmon or mild whitefish
- Grilled or baked lemon chicken
- Oven-roasted garlic pork tenderloin
- Garlic roasted potatoes (okay, not a protein… don’t care, still delicious)
I loved grapes as a kid. Green, red, black… didn’t matter. The adult me still loves them, though they sometimes bring up bad memories I’m forced to face. When I began dieting, I meticulously tracked every morsel of food that went into my mouth. And that included grapes. When I learned that 1 grape was basically 1 gram of carbohydrates, I stopped buying them altogether. 20 grapes = 20 carbs, and the diet me just couldn’t “afford” that. I used calories and carbs like an allowance. I could only “spend” so many carbs in a day, and grapes just weren’t worth it, even though I loved them so much.
I’m pretty sure that in the making of this recipe I ate 20 grapes. And I’m happily okay with that. I also had a small plate of this salad with my lunch (which also included carbs).
The moral of this story, in a roundabout sort of way, is don’t fear the carbs. Carbs are love. And brain fuel. And body fuel. They’re what allows you to exercise and think clearly. But I will say this: the vast majority of your carbs (if not all of them) should be from whole food, unprocessed sources. This means fruit in its raw form (not fruit juice which is basically sugar water), starchy tubers like sweet potatoes and winter squashes, fibrous vegetables, and whole natural grains and beans if you tolerate them.
Though I’m long past the days of calorie- and carb-counting, it doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. It’s ingrained in me now. The math part of my brain still wants to try to add up the amount of protein, fat, and carbs that I’ve had at a meal. Sometimes I don’t think about it and just eat, but other times, it really messes with my head.
If you need help breaking away from the diet mentality, this book all but saved my life. Highly recommend.
There is a beautiful, wonderful, love-filled life out there waiting to be enjoyed, and calorie counting and restriction were never meant to be part of the picture.
So go put some bacon and grapes in your salad already!
Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to follow along on Instagram @well_fedsoul, and let me know in the comments where YOU stand with diets!
Pin this Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grapes & Bacon Vinaigrette!
This easy, healthy side dish is just perfect for spring and packed with flavor! Sweet, salty, savory, and crunchy!
- 1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
- 8 oz. nitrate-free bacon
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 3/4 c. red grapes, halved
- 1/3 c. sliced toasted almonds
- 1 Tbsp. bacon fat, rendered from the cooked bacon
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp. honey (date paste for Whole30)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the ends off the Brussels sprouts and place the sprouts into the bowl of a food processor, adding only 6-8 at a time. Working in batches, pulse gently a couple times to shred the sprouts. Remove to a bowl.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the bacon slices. Fry 5-6 minutes per side until golden brown and a little crispy; remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Reserve 1 Tbsp. bacon fat and discard the rest. Crumble bacon when cool.
Return the skillet to medium heat; add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and shallots. Cook, stirring often, until tender and translucent, then add 3/4 of the Brussels sprouts. Saute shallots and sprouts another 2-3 minutes until the sprouts are bright green. Remove to a bowl.
Toss the raw Brussels sprouts with the sauteed sprouts. Add the crumbled bacon, halved grapes, and toasted almonds.
To make the dressing, whisk together the reserved 1 Tbsp. bacon grease with the olive oil, lemon juice, whole grain mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the salad; toss to coat.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 330 Protein: 17g Carbs: 17g Fat: 18g Fiber: 4g