Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad

As you've probably noticed, I love to remake classic comfort foods in ways that are just as indulgent as the originals, but also packed with ingredients to nourish the body. I've done everything from Brussel Sprout Nachos to Cauliflower Poutine to blondies made with dates. Up for today: the infamous Waldorf Salad.

The Waldorf Salad is one of those classic salads that is typically found at places like steakhouses. Its flavor combination is iconic: apple, grapes, and walnuts in a creamy dressing. If there were a museum of iconic American salads, the Waldorf would surely be a star.

However, I have a few issues with the classic Waldorf that I wanted to remedy. First, it's often done with iceberg lettuce, which is pretty boring. Second, creamy dressings usually scare me (what's in them? mayo??). Third, the flavors are nice, but a bit bland; they need a tune-up.

My reinvented Waldorf cures all those issues, and the result is absolutely delicious. This beauty features the most amazing, caramelized, lemon-roasted brussel sprouts that put iceberg to shame. The walnuts have gotten a total makeover; they're now toasted in maple syrup and cayenne for the most addicting, flavor-packed crunch. And the dressing is significantly lightened up by being based in yogurt, yet so flavorful thanks to lemon juice and coarse-grained mustard.

Simply put, this Waldorf is about a million times more interesting than the classic, and much more nutritious too.

Another thing I like about this version is that you have options in terms of serving temperature. Cold, room temperature, and warm are all fine, which always makes life so much easier. My favorite approach: put it all together as soon as the brussel sprouts come out of the oven for the most comforting salad ever.

This salad would also work well as a make-ahead dish to bring to a potluck (see the last step of the instructions below on how to do that most effectively). I bet people would go crazy over that because it's something everyone will be familiar with. And unlike a lettuce salad, you won't have to worry about this one getting wilty if it sits out.

Some people (okay, a lot of people) find it weird that I see salad as a comfort food. But this one absolutely is! It has such varied textures and flavors, a creamy-dreamy dressing, and is so nostalgic. The idea of comfort food doesn't necessarily have to be synonymous with food that is fried, heavy, or empty of nutrients. Just because it feeds the soul doesn't mean it can't also nourish the body!

I'm super excited about this recipe. I've been remaking the Waldorf with a yogurt dressing for years, but it was only this winter that I started doing it with brussel sprouts. Transformative!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram. 

Looking for another salad that totally counts as comfort food? I adore this Mint Julep Quinoa Salad.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)

For the Salad
  • 3 lbs brussel sprouts
  • Oil of choice for roasting and toasting
  • Generous salt and pepper
  • Zest of a lemon
  • Splash of apple cider. Not absolutely necessary if you don't have it on-hand. Water will be okay too.
  • 1 c raw, whole walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Honeycrisp apple or two
  • Big bunch of grapes
For the Dressing
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Few tbsp yogurt of choice. Make absolutely sure it's unsweetened and unflavored! A vegan yogurt would be fine here, as long as you choose one with very neutral flavor. My preference is 2% fat Greek yogurt.
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coarse-grained mustard. Learn to make your own
  • Salt and pepper
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Prep your brussel sprouts by trimming off the stems and cutting each in half. Place them cut-side down on a lightly-oiled baking sheet. Salt and pepper generously.
  3. Roast the brussel sprouts for 20-30 minutes, but it will depend on the size of your sprouts, so keep an eye on them. You want them golden and tender with one crisp side, not mushy.
  4. While the brussel sprouts are roasting, toast the walnuts in a large skillet with a touch of oil until golden brown. Keep a very close eye on them and toss them every few seconds, they'll burn easily! It should only take a few minutes. When they're lightly browned and fragrant, turn off the heat. Add a tablespoon of maple syrup, generous salt, and the tiniest pinch (or more) of cayenne. Keep tossing them while the residual heat in the pan caramelizes the maple syrup, then let them cool.
  5. Also while the brussel sprouts are roasting, assemble the dressing. Stir together all the ingredients, adding a bit more yogurt if necessary to achieve your desired creaminess. Give it a taste and adjust; you can add a dash more of maple syrup if you want additional sweetness, or more mustard if you want more bite.
  6. When the brussel sprouts are done roasting, remove them from the oven and immediately add the zest of a lemon and a small splash of apple cider, then toss. Let them sit for a few minutes in their fragrant hot tub. This will infuse them with flavor, and also keep them from becoming dry. The heat will release all the delicious, aromatic oils from the lemon zest.
  7. While the brussel sprouts sit, cut your apple(s) into thin slices, remove the grapes from their stem, and slice the grapes into halves or quarters if you desire.
  8. Assemble! I like to serve this salad when the brussel sprouts are still warm, although it's delicious cold or room temperature as well. Arrange the brussel sprouts, apple, grapes, and walnuts how you like, then drizzle it all with dressing. You can also serve some additional dressing on the side.
  9. If you want to prep this salad in advance, keep the walnuts in a separate container so they don't get soggy, keep the dressing separate, and cut the apple right before serving so that it won't brown.


Please follow The Rogue Brussel Sprout on Instagram!