Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad

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(Note: this post was originally published on February 27, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Comfort Food, Reinvented

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 kabocha squash "wings" to cauliflower bar food to blondies made with chick peas. 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 famous 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 really flavorful thanks to lemon juice and coarse-grained mustard.

Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad on a platter, with dressing and serving utensils

Serving Options

This is a really versatile salad because it's simultaneously fresh and cozy, can be eaten warm or cold, and can even serve as a light meal. Because of that, it's one I come back to again and again during the fall and winter. If you want to make it heartier, add your grilled protein of choice and/or perhaps a bed of farro underneath. Sounds like a great fall dinner to me!

This salad would also work well as a make-ahead dish to bring to a potluck. 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.

Make-Ahead Tips

If you want to prep this salad in advance, you can do most of the work a day ahead of time. Roast the brussel sprouts, toast the walnuts, and make the dressing, then keep everything in separate containers in the fridge overnight. When you're ready to serve, you can reheat the brussel sprouts if you want, but you don't have to. Just make sure to cut the apple at the last minute so it doesn't brown, and do all the assembly right before serving.

Side-view of Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad on a platter

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Oil. Whatever you like to cook with, as long as it can withstand high temperatures.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon. You'll use the zest for marinating the roasted sprouts and the juice for the dressing.
  • Apple cider. You'll use this for tossing in with the roasted sprouts. It adds really nice flavor, but it's not critical if you don't have it. You can use a bit of water instead if needed.
  • Whole walnuts
  • Maple syrup
  • Cayenne. For adding some subtle heat to the walnuts! Feel free to omit this if you're not into heat or if you want a more classic flavor profile.
  • Apple. I love honeycrisp because of their great texture and sweetness, although you can use what you like.
  • Red grapes
  • Yogurt. This is the creamy element of your dressing. You can a regular or a vegan yogurt, but make sure it's unsweetened and unflavored. Try to choose something really rich that has very little taste. My preference is 2% Greek yogurt.
  • Coarse-grained mustard. Learn how to make your own here!

Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad on a platter

Closing Thoughts

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. 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! The result is so much heartier and more satisfying. Add in crisp apple, juicy grapes, and maple-cayenne roasted walnuts and you have yourself a fall salad masterpiece.

Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad on a platter, with dressing and serving utensils

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Ginger Bee's Knees

Kabocha Squash Dippers

California Harvest Flatbread

Raw Fall Salad with Lemon-Pistachio Dukkah

Apple Cider Donut Oat Flour Cake

Roasted Brussel Sprout Waldorf Salad

A very cozy salad for fall and winter, this Waldorf riff uses roasted brussel sprouts instead of iceberg lettuce! It's a much more nourishing take on the classic since it uses a yogurt-based dressing. Sweet apple, juicy grapes, and crunchy walnuts make it feel nostalgic.

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

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
  • 1 c raw, whole walnuts
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Honeycrisp apple
  • Big bunch of red grapes

For the Dressing

  • Juice of a lemon
  • Few tbsp unsweeteed, unflavored yogurt of choice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coarse-grained mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  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 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 into thin slices, remove the grapes from their stem, and slice the grapes into halves or quarters.
  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 on a serving platter, then drizzle it all with dressing. You can also serve some additional dressing on the side.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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Anonymous
October 20, 2021
Dreamy!!! Such a delish fall dinner.