Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2024)

With crisp tart apples, sweet dried cranberries, and crunchy walnuts, this Brussels sprouts salad is a great holiday salad, easy to make and healthy, too.

Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This salad is easy and great for holidays.

How long it takes: 15 minutes to prep, an additional 45 minutes or so in the fridge
Equipment you’ll need: food processor or sharp knife, large bowl
Servings: 8

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (1)

Table of Contents close

  • 1 Recipe Overview
  • 2 About this Salad
  • 3 What You’ll Need
  • 4 How To Toast Walnuts
  • 5 How To Make This Recipe
  • 6 FAQs
  • 7 Make It Your Own
  • 8 Make-Ahead Ideas
  • 9 Storage Tips
  • 10 Leftover Love
  • 11 More Ways to Eat Brussels Sprouts
  • 12 Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts

Sitting down for a holiday dinner is one of my favorite things to do. Surrounded by amazing food and people you love, what could be better?

I love it even more when I can share food, recipes, or money with people who are beset by illness, economic hardship, or just plain loneliness. We always try to invite at least a few people outside of our family circle to share the bounty that God gives us.

I often make this salad for get-togethers. It’s popular with everyone. If you’re skeptical of the raw Brussels, don’t be! This salad is like coleslaw’s sophisticated big sis. Shaved Brussels sprouts, chewy dried cranberries, nutty toasted walnuts, and rich Pecorino cheese make it completely irresistible.

Give it a try, I’m pretty sure you’ll love it!

Looking for ideas to fill in some gaps on your holiday table? Make sure you check out my round-up of over 85 Thanksgiving recipes!

If you’re feeling extra blessed this year, consider giving back. We typically do so through our church but there are other great organizations that can help you share a little love this season.

Holidays can be a time of great stress for some families. Perhaps someone just lost their job, or is suffering an illness, or maybe some unexpected expenses came up. Sometimes it’s hard to be joyful when your life is filled with trying circ*mstances and there’s just not enough money to buy groceries.

Feeding America is the nation’s largest hunger relief charity.They have a mission tofeedAmerica’s hungry through a network of food banks and to get people involved in the fight to end hunger. You can easily donate on their website but there are a lot of other ways to give as well. Take a minute to consider it!

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2)

About this Salad

And even better, it likes a little time to meditate. Oh, sorry, I guess that’s me, not the salad. Really, make this salad in the morning and it’s perfectly happy in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. It actually gets better because the Brussels sprouts soften a bit and absorb the dressing. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving or other holiday meals.

I’ll get you started here with lots of extra tips and information. As always, you’ll find the printable recipe at the end of the post. It has complete directions and nutrition information.

What You’ll Need

  • Brussels Sprouts: These cute little cabbages are really good shredded. Wondering what “shaved” Brussels sprouts are? It’s all the same thing: shredded, sliced thinly, or shaved. Look for compact heads that are dark green and firm.
  • Apple: Granny Smith apples are great for this salad, or any other crisp tart apple.
  • Green Onion (Scallion): Sliced into the salad, green onions provide a subtle onion flavor. Red onions or shallots are a good substitute.
  • Dried Cranberries: The chewy cranberries provide a good contrast to the other elements of the salad.
  • Walnuts: Make sure you toast them lightly before adding them to the salad. Toasting really brings out the flavor of the walnuts. If you’re not a fan of walnuts, toasted pine nuts are a great substitute.
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese: This dry flavorful cheese adds a salty tang to the salad. Coarsely grate it, break it into small chunks, or shave thin curls onto the salad.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: The dressing is simple with just a few ingredients. Apple cider vinegar goes well with the apples but if you prefer, use white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or rice vinegar.
  • Olive Oil: Choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  • Maple Syrup: This sweetener balances the tang of the vinegar. Use real maple syrup, not pancake syrup. Other sweeteners such as honey or agave may be substituted.
  • Salt and Pepper: Coarsely ground salt and pepper are so good in salads. Don’t omit them because they season the salad perfectly.
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (3)

How To Toast Walnuts

  • Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake 7-10 minutes, checking frequently so they don’t burn.
  • Stove: Place the walnuts in a skillet in a single layer. Heat over medium high heat for five minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Microwave: Place walnuts in a single layer on a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high in 1 minute increments, stirring each time. It will take 3-5 minutes.

Whichever method you use, immediately remove the walnuts from the hot pan or plate, and cool completely before adding to the salad.

How To Make This Recipe

First off, the Brussels sprouts have to be sliced. Keep reading — there’s lots of information in the FAQs if you’re not sure about how to do this. The sliced (shaved, shredded) Brussels sprouts will keep in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge for up to three days.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (4)

Next, mix up the maple vinaigrette dressing. With just five ingredients (counting the salt and pepper!), it’s really easy to make. Use a whisk to get the dressing mixed.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (5)

Put the Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Add the cranberries and sliced green onions.

Cut the apple into matchstick-sized pieces.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (6)

Put them into a small bowl, add a couple teaspoons of the dressing, and stir well. The dressing will keep the apple from turning brown. Add the apples to the big bowl, along with the remaining dressing, and give it all a good stir. Make sure all the ingredients are coated with the dressing.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (7)

Cover and put into the fridge for at least forty-five minutes. The dressing will soften the Brussels sprouts and cranberries a bit, and the flavors will meld together.

Just before serving, give the salad one more stir and add the toasted walnuts and cheese. It’s up to you whether you want to leave them on top or stir them in.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (8)



Can you eat raw Brussels sprouts?

Yes, yes, yes! I love Brussels sprouts salads. If you haven’t tried one yet, this salad recipe is a great place to begin. I have more recipes near the end of the post. Brussels sprouts are really good roasted, too.

How do you cut Brussels sprouts for salad?

Whatever you’re prepping Brussels sprouts for, the first step is to trim them. Cut a bit off the stem end and trim the wilted or loose leaves off, discarding them. Give them a quick rinse.
There are two ways to cut Brussels sprouts for a salad. Use a sharp knife to thinly slice them. Begin by cutting them in half vertically. Next lay the cut side down on a cutting board and slice them cross-wise. Break up the slices a bit so you get nice shreds.
Or, make your life easier by shredding the Brussels sprouts in your food processor using the slicer attachment. You won’t believe how fast it goes!

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (9)

Make It Your Own

  • Try breaking the Pecorino into small chunks instead of shredding it. I love the salty bite you get when you get a little chunk of cheese. Or try a different cheese like feta, goat cheese, blue cheese, or Gouda. For a vegan salad, use a dairy-free cheese or omit it.
  • If you want, substitute dried cherries or golden raisins for dried cranberries.
  • If you’re not a walnut fan, try toasted pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, or whatever you like. Toasted sunflower seeds, pepitas, or crispy roasted chickpeas are great nut-free options, too.
  • Add cooked, crumbled bacon to the salad. Total yumminess!
  • If you really don’t like Brussels sprouts, substitute shredded cabbage or a bag of coleslaw mix.

Make-Ahead Ideas

One way to get a head start on this salad is to prep the Brussels sprouts. Once you have those shredded, the salad is a breeze to make. Put them in a recloseable bag or covered bowl and store in the fridge for up to three days.

The walnuts can be toasted ahead of time, cooled completely, and stored for up to a week. Make the dressing ahead of time, too, and store in the fridge. Make sure you shake or stir it well before adding it to the salad.

Storage Tips

The salad can be prepared more than an hour ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Add the cheese and walnuts right before serving.

Leftover salad can be refrigerated up to four days in a tightly covered container. Stir well before serving.

Leftover Love

Turn leftover salad into a main course. Add leftover cooked turkey or shredded chicken to the salad and stir it in. If you want, add cooked quinoa or farro. If necessary, make a little more dressing to completely moisten the salad. Serve it with a warm roll or a slice of leftover pie!

More Ways to Eat Brussels Sprouts

There are so many ways to eat these tasty green spheres. They are good for you too, with lots of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Try:

  • Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin
  • Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
  • Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple and Cayenne
  • Air fryer Brussels Sprouts
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Walnuts
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Asiago

Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (10)


Get the Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts

5 from 5 votes

Prep Time: 15 minutes mins

Additional Time: 45 minutes mins

Total Time: 1 hour hr

8 side servings

Print Rate Recipe

With crisp tart apples, sweet dried cranberries, and crunchy walnuts, this Brussels sprouts salad is a great holiday salad, easy to make and healthy, too.



  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (or another tart, firm apple)
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (see note)


  • In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil. Set aside.

  • Slice Brussels sprouts very thinly. The slicer blade on a food processor will quickly and safely perform this task. Put the sliced Brussels sprouts into a large mixing bowl. Add the green onion and dried cranberries.

  • Cut the apple into matchstick-sized pieces and toss in a bit of the dressing (1-2 teaspoons). The dressing will help keep the apples from discoloring. Add the apples to the salad.

  • Pour dressing over the salad and stir well so that everything is coated with dressing. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes to let flavors meld.

  • Just prior to serving, top with cheese and walnuts.


  • Pecorino Romano cheese can be grated, shredded, crumbled, or shaved into the salad. Choose the form you like best. Other cheese such as feta, goat cheese, Gouda, or Parmesan may be substituted. For a vegan salad, omit the cheese or use a dairy-free cheese.
  • If desired, substitute golden raisins or dried cherries for the cranberries. Other types of toasted nuts can replace the walnuts.
  • Cooked and crumbled bacon is a nice addition, if you like.
  • Makes about 10 cups

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1.25cups, Calories: 255kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 136mg, Potassium: 434mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 710IU, Vitamin C: 74mg, Calcium: 155mg, Iron: 2mg

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.

© Author: Rachel Gurk

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts Recipe - Rachel Cooks® (2024)


When not to use brussel sprouts? ›

If any of the leaves have brown spots or are yellowing, it's a sign of early spoilage. If you remove the blemished leaves and the interior looks OK, you can still use the sprout. However, if the interior leaves are also showing blemishes or yellowing, it's best to toss it (or compost it, if you can).

Why aren't brussel sprouts bitter anymore? ›

Over the last twenty years, farmers have mellowed the "unpleasant" flavor of brussels sprouts by breeding a vegetable that contains fewer bitter compounds or glucosinolates. So, brussels sprouts just taste better than they used to when we were kids. The rub is that glucosinolates help protect sprouts against pests.

Why do you soak brussel sprouts before cooking? ›

The soak time tenderizes the sprouts so the middles are softer. Don't worry, they won't be soggy! I would never do that to you. If, like me, you don't mind some chew to your sprouts, you don't need to soak the Brussels sprouts prior to cooking.

Do you cut the ends off of Brussels sprouts before you cook them? ›

Some dried or yellow outer leaves are okay, but the leaves should be tightly layered together. Individual sprouts: Brussels sprouts sold by the pound are what you find most often at the market. They need to be trimmed of their dry ends and yellowed or damaged leaves before halving and cooking.

Is it better to eat Brussels sprouts raw or cooked? ›

Brussels sprouts are a nutritious vegetable in the cruciferous family. While they're often enjoyed cooked using methods like roasting, steaming, or boiling, you can also enjoy Brussels sprouts raw. The most common side effect of eating raw Brussels sprouts is that they may cause gas in some people.

What is one major side effect of eating Brussels sprouts? ›

Like other cruciferous veggies, Brussels sprouts have a type of carbohydrate that your body can't easily break down. This can cause you to have belly pain, gas, and either diarrhea or constipation.

How long will Brussels sprouts last in the fridge? ›

When storing Brussels sprouts whole, place them loose in a bowl and cover with a food-safe plastic wrap, like Glad® Press'n Seal® or Glad® ClingWrap. Poke a few holes in the wrap and place your bowl in the fridge. Doing this should mean your Brussels sprouts will last in the fridge for about five days.

Do brussel sprouts cleanse the liver? ›

Brussel Sprouts

They stimulate detox enzymes found in the liver and may also be protective to cells. This enzyme action helps remove toxins from the blood and support the liver. Brussels sprouts also contain antioxidants that prevent cell damage.

Why do Brussels sprouts make you fart? ›

This is because they contain a complex sugar called raffinose. Raffinose is broken down by an enzyme called alpha-galactosidase. Our digestive system doesn't produce a huge amount of this enzyme and when we consume a lot of raffinose, in the form of those delicious balls of goodness, our body has to adapt.

Why do sprouts make you fart? ›

7. Broccoli, cauli and cabbage. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, kale and other green leafy veg are super-high in fibre and this can all be a bit too much for your body to digest. But the bacteria in your gut loves to utilise it for energy, and this results in gas.

Who made Brussels sprouts taste better? ›

A Dutch scientist named Hans van Doorn, who worked at a seed and chemical company, figured out exactly which chemical compounds in Brussels sprouts made them bitter. The next step was to plant sprouts with the least amount of these chemicals and eventually cross-pollinate the chemicals out.

Do you have to wash bagged brussel sprouts? ›

Bagged or ready-to-eat, fresh-cut produce

If the product is not labeled "washed," "triple washed," or "ready-to-eat," it must be washed before eating.

How does Gordon Ramsay cook his Brussels sprouts? ›

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the sprouts and blanch for 2–3 minutes, then drain well. Heat the olive oil in a wide frying pan and fry the pancetta for a few minutes until golden and crisp. Toss in the sprouts and cook for 2–3 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Are brussel sprouts better steamed or boiled? ›

Steaming Brussels sprouts preserves more of the nutrients and antioxidants than any other cooking method. And they turn out tasting like crisp-tender, sweet little nuggets. Plus they're just about the quickest veggie side dish you can cook.

How should sprouts be cooked? ›

Steam or simmer whole or halved sprouts for 3 mins, then heat a little oil in a wok and stir-fry for 3-4 mins until they colour a little. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. You can also stir-fry shredded sprouts in the same way, they'll cook quickly so keep moving them around the wok.

Why are my roasted brussel sprouts not crispy? ›

Why Are My Brussel Sprouts Not Crispy? Spread them out into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet to avoid overcrowding. If they're too close together, they'll steam instead of roast which stops the crisping process.


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