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Brussels Sprout, Kale + Apple Salad {with Sharp Cheddar, Bacon + Pecans}

Brussels Sprout, Kale + Apple Salad {with Sharp Cheddar, Bacon + Pecans}

  • Author: Nicole Gaffney (
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: tossed
  • Cuisine: american


This Brussels Sprout, Kale + Apple Salad is loaded with raw, nutrient-packed veggies as well as a few indulgences. It’s on my Thanksgiving table every single year!



  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 1 large bunch kale, any variety
  • a glug of olive oil
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 granny smith apple, julienned
  • 1/3 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled, bacon fat reserved
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt + freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • reserved bacon fat (warmed up to liquify if solid)


  1. Clean and remove any brown or yellow leaves from the brussels sprouts. Use a mandolin to slice them very thin (alternatively, you can do this with a knife, but a mandolin makes the job much easier), then add them to a bowl.
  2. Remove the tough stems from the kale, then stack the leaves and roll them up like a cigar. Run your knife through them to make nice, thin ribbons, then add them to the bowl with the brussels sprouts.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then use clean hands to squeeze and massage the greens until they’re fully coated with oil and have reduced a bit in volume. Add the julienned apple, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, cheddar cheese, and bacon.

Make the Vinaigrette

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil and bacon fat while whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  2. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss until everything is thoroughly combined. Serve immediately.


  • This recipe is still great without the bacon and can easily be made without it if there are vegetarians in the crowd.

To make ahead for Thanksgiving or another event

  • Make the vinaigrette up to 3 days ahead and store in a jar, refrigerated. Bring up to room temperature and warm up slightly before using (to liquify bacon fat).
  • Toast and chop pecans up to 3 days ahead. Store in a zip-top bag at room temperature.
  • Cut the cheese into cubes up to 3 days ahead. Store in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator.
  • Cook and crumble the bacon up to 3 days ahead. Store in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator.
  • The kale and brussels sprouts can be shredded the night before. Massage right before serving.

Keywords: thanksgiving, side, vegetables, salad