This brussels sprouts salad with cranberries, almonds, and goat cheese is tossed in a tangy honey and apple cider vinegar dressing. This beautiful salad holds up well to being made a few hours ahead of time, making this a great option for fall and winter entertaining!
Note: this post was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2021 with new photos and improved instructions.
Are you a brussels sprouts fan? I have to admit, brussels sprouts are not my favorite vegetable. BUT, I absolutely love them in this salad! First of all, the brussels sprouts are cut into quarters, rather than in half, so there is more surface area to get nice and roasted in the oven. This also means that each individual bite of brussels sprout is smaller, so you aren't hit with one giant bite of brussels sprout at once!
This festive brussels sprouts salad also features toasted almonds, tons of dried cranberries, and chunks of goat cheese. The salad ingredients are tossed in a vinaigrette of apple cider vinegar, honey and extra virgin olive oil. So, there are a ton of bold flavors going on that can stand up to and balance out the slight bitterness of brussels sprouts.
This beautiful salad would make a great side dish or starter for a holiday meal; it's definitely got the red and green color scheme going on! You can even make it a few hours ahead of time, saving you time and stress during a busy day of holiday cooking. (And, if you are also in need a fantastic make-ahead holiday dessert, try my recipe for chocolate peanut butter pretzel pie!)
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- Extra virgin olive oil: this is my go-to choice for roasting and making vinaigrette, but if you have another favorite oil you like to cook with, feel free to substitute!
- Almonds: I used raw, unsalted almonds and seasoned and roasted them myself. Roasting them fresh adds so much lovely toasty nutty flavor! But, you can substitute pre-roasted almonds - just pop them in the oven for a couple minutes until they are fragrant. (And, don't add more salt if they are already salted.)
- Goat cheese: I used a cranberry goat cheese to complement the cranberries in the salad. I have seen cranberry goat cheese at Aldi, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's (see this great review of the Trader Joe's cranberry goat cheese!). But if you can't find cranberry flavored goat cheese, use plain. It will still be really delicious!
Step by step photos
1. Before you do anything else, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F! Then, start prepping the brussels sprouts. If they're not pre-washed, rinse them and pat them dry.
Then, pick off any brown outer leaves and cut the bottom of the stems off. Cut each brussels sprout in half vertically, and in half again, to create quarters. Set aside.
2. Now give the almonds a rough chop. Keep the pieces on the larger side so they stay crunchy in the salad!
3. Place the brussels sprouts on a parchment-lined large baking sheet. Drizzle them with oil.
4. Toss the brussels sprouts with the oil so each piece is coated. Spread them out into an even layer and sprinkle them well with kosher salt and black pepper.
5. Place the almonds on a separate, smaller parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the almonds with oil and spread them evenly out on the tray. Sprinkle them well with kosher salt and black pepper.
6. Place both baking sheets in the pre-heated oven. Let the almonds and brussels sprouts roast for about 9 - 10 minutes, or until you smell the almonds toasting. Remove the almond tray and brussels sprouts tray from the oven.
When they are done, this is what the almonds should look like; deep brown and nutty, but not burnt!
7. Stir the brussels sprouts and spread them back out again on the baking sheet. Put them back in the oven until they are tender and nicely browned around the edges, like this:
8. While the brussels sprouts are roasting, add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. You can use a fork, or, I like using this mini whisk (affiliate link).
9. Now add the warm brussels sprouts, almonds, and cranberries to a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss the ingredients to combine with the dressing.
10. Now, you can add chunks of goat cheese to the salad in the bowl and gently toss again. Or, plate the salad and add the chunks of goat cheese on top.
Tips and tricks
- Be sure to add any small brussels sprouts leaves that have fallen off to the baking sheet. Those little pieces get nice and crispy in the oven!
- The parchment paper lining for the baking sheets is optional, but does make for much easier cleanup.
- When the almonds are in the oven, don't walk away during the last several minutes of the cook time. The oven is hot and they can burn quickly. So just be ready to remove them as soon as they start to smell nutty!
- This recipe uses kosher salt, which is coarse-grained. If you want to use fine-grain salt, just use ¾ teaspoon in the dressing rather than the 1 teaspoon called for in the recipe. The salt on the brussels sprouts and almonds is to-taste, so just use how much you would typically use when roasting veggies.
One of my favorite aspects of this recipe is how versatile it is when it comes to serving. You can serve this salad warm, right after mixing the warm brussels sprouts and almonds together with the rest of the ingredients. It also tastes delicious at room temperature, making this a great option for potlucks!
And finally, this brussels sprout salad with cranberries also tastes amazing chilled. So again, this is a great option for parties and potlucks, because you can even make it a few hours ahead of time and just pull it out of the fridge when you are ready to serve it.
As I mentioned, you can make this salad ahead of time and serve it either chilled or at room temperature.
In my experience, I would only make this salad up to 3 - 4 hours ahead of time (stored in the fridge). Any longer than that, and the cranberries begin to soak up too much liquid and lose their bite. You could extend this time by leaving the dressing off until you are ready to serve. But, I like adding the dressing while the nuts and brussels sprouts are still warm, because they soak up all the delicious vinaigrette much better that way!
If you are planning on making this salad ahead of time, I would also leave off the goat cheese until right before serving. Adding it earlier won't cause it to lose any flavor, but in my experience, it just doesn't look as fresh and inviting if you mix it in ahead of time.
This brussels sprouts salad is vegetarian. If you would like to make a vegan version of this salad, just leave out the goat cheese and swap the honey for pure maple syrup in the dressing. If you are not using goat cheese, you could add in a vegan cheese instead, or add in more almonds to help round out the salad.
This salad is also gluten free, but please double-check that the particular brand of goat cheese and dried cranberries you are using are also labeled gluten free (especially a flavored goat cheese since there will be additional ingredients added).
As I mentioned above, once you mix the ingredients together with the vinaigrette, the cranberries will begin to plump up and will lose their chewy texture over time. That's why I recommended only making the completed salad up to 3 - 4 hours in advance of serving.
However, it will still be plenty delicious the day after even with plump cranberries! And if you cut your almonds into large chunks, they should still maintain much of their crunchiness.
After serving, you can store the brussels sprout salad in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days. That being said, I do think the salad is at its best the day of or the day after, since it starts to get a little soggy after the first day. But since this salad is so delicious, I don't think you will have any problems eating it all up right away!
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Roasted brussels sprouts and almonds are tossed with dried cranberries, goat cheese, and a honey vinaigrette dressing. An easy side dish perfect for the holiday season!
For the salad:
- 1 ½ pounds (680 g) fresh brussels sprouts
- kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons (44 ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup (140 g) whole raw almonds (see note 1)
- 6 ounces (170 g) dried sweetened cranberries
- 8 ounces (227 g) goat cheese (cranberry flavored or plain)
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons (44 ml) honey
- ¼ cup (59 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons (89 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see note 2)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C.
- Remove any wilted leaves off the outside of the brussels sprouts and trim the tip off of each brussels sprout stem (keep some of the stem intact to help the brussels sprout pieces stay together). Cut the trimmed brussels sprouts into quarters vertically.
- Place the brussels sprouts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (parchment paper is optional, but will make for easier cleanup). Drizzle the brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss the brussels sprouts with your hands or tongs to evenly coat each piece in the oil. Spread them out evenly on the baking sheet and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Roughly chop the almonds into large chunks. Place them on a separate small baking sheet lined with parchment paper (again, parchment paper is optional, but will make for easier cleanup). Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss the almonds with your hands or tongs to evenly coat each piece in the oil. Spread the almonds out evenly on the baking sheet and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper.
- Place both baking sheets into the preheated oven. Set a timer for 10 minutes, but watch the almonds for signs of browning beginning at the 8 minute mark, or once you can smell a "toasty" smell. Once the almonds are a deep golden brown color, remove them from the oven and set aside. This should take about 9 - 10 minutes.
- When you remove the almonds, also remove the brussels sprouts and stir them on the baking sheet with a spatula or tongs. Spread them out again evenly on the baking sheet and return to the oven for an additional 10 - 12 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are nicely browned.
- Meanwhile, while the brussels sprouts are roasting, add the vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk with a fork or small whisk until the honey dissolves. Set aside.
- Add the warm brussels sprouts and almonds to a large bowl along with the dried cranberries and vinaigrette. Toss together to combine.
- The salad can be served immediately while still warm, at room temperature, or chilled. At this point, the salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 - 4 hours before serving. Right before serving, crumble the goat cheese into chunks and add to the salad, tossing gently to combine. Alternatively, arrange the salad on a large platter and crumble the goat cheese overtop.
If desired, roasted salted almonds can be substituted for the raw almonds. Just chop them roughly and toast them for only a few minutes until they smell nutty (no need to add oil or additional salt if they are already salted).
Kosher salt is coarse grained; if you want to substitute fine grain salt, use ¾ teaspoon in the dressing rather than the 1 teaspoon called for.
The ingredients in this salad are all gluten free, with the caveat that you should check the label for the particular brand of cranberry goat cheese and dried cranberries you are using to ensure they are also gluten free!
The nutrition information below was calculated using 1 teaspoon kosher salt on the roasted brussels sprouts and ½ teaspoon kosher salt on the almonds. This nutrition information is an estimate only, provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full nutrition disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: ⅛ recipe
- Calories: 425
- Sugar: 28.6 g
- Sodium: 269 mg
- Fat: 28.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 6.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 41.5 g
- Fiber: 5.8 g
- Protein: 8.4 g
- Cholesterol: 5 mg
Keywords: brussels sprouts salad, brussels sprouts salad with cranberries, cranberry brussels sprouts salad