This crispy brussels kale salad is topped with a maple bacon dressing and toasted hazelnuts! It’s a super hearty, healthy winter salad filled with lots of texture and flavor!
Hearty winter salads are the best! It’s officially SO COLD here in Maryland and I’m not happy about it. I’m such a warm weather girl at heart, so the winter isn’t exactly my favorite time. I absolutely love the holidays and this time of year, but come January 1st, I’m ready for shorts again.
It’s also a great salad to bring to holiday parties. You can dress it ahead of time, and in my opinion, it gets better as it sits. Plus, who doesn’t love bacon and crispy brussels? Two of my favorite things in life.
I also did something crazy and used bacon fat instead of olive oil in the dressing. Talk about flavor. I had never done it but that’s definitely happening more often.
This recipe is full of firsts. I tested a new way to make crispy brussels. I usually roast them cut-side down in a super hot oven until crispy, but for this recipe, I separated the leaves off of the sprout so it created brussels sprout “chips!” Soooo good.
Hazelnuts add my much needed extra layer of crunch factor in this salad. They’re one of my favorite nuts and so underrated! The bacon also adds that salty crunch, and the brussels do too! So. much. texture.
This would be delish with some grilled chicken or salmon too!
Crispy Brussels Salad with Maple Bacon Dressing and Toasted Hazelnuts
This crispy brussels kale salad is topped with a maple bacon dressing and toasted hazelnuts! It's a super hearty, healthy winter salad filled with lots of texture and flavor!
For the salad
- 2 bunches lacinato/Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and shredded
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced in half and leaves separated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
For the dressing
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- 4 tablespoons bacon fat (reserved from cooking the bacon)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400℉. Place brussels on a baking sheet and add olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.
While the brussels are baking, make the dressing. In a medium bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard. Stir to combine. Add the bacon fat and whisk until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the hazelnuts. Toast for several minutes, stirring frequently until golden and fragrant. Watch carefully, they can burn quickly! Set aside.
Add kale to a large bowl. Add half of the dressing to the kale and massage with your hands, rubbing the dressing into the leaves, for a few minutes, until kale is softer and reduced in volume. Add half of the brussels and half of the bacon and toss again.
Top with remaining brussels, bacon, and toasted hazelnuts, and serve with extra dressing!