Ok I have a confession…I actually don’t really like brussels sprouts! I always want to like them (they look like adorable mini cabbages!), but I can never seem to get past the bitter taste. But I thought I would try to give brussels sprouts another chance, and I’m so glad I did because I am in love with this recipe for Brussels Sprout Salad with Cranberries!
This deliciously sweet and tangy salad has roasted brussels sprouts, 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. This would make a beautiful side dish or starter for a holiday meal.
If you are a brussels sprout hater like I was, please consider giving this salad a chance! The sweet and tart elements of the salad from the cranberries, honey, and apple cider vinegar balance and complement the bitterness of the brussels sprouts. And 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!
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Ingredients for Brussels Sprout Salad With Cranberries
Here are the ingredients you will need for this easy brussels sprout salad:
- Fresh brussels sprouts
- 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!
- Salt and pepper
- Raw, whole almonds: I used raw almonds because that’s what I had on hand, and I knew I wanted to roast them in the oven. If you have almonds that are already roasted, you can use those too! Just keep them in the oven for less time, taking them out when they smell nutty. (And don’t add more salt if they are already salted.)
- Dried cranberries
- Goat cheese: I used a cranberry-cinnamon flavored goat cheese (I got it at Aldi!). This added an extra bit of cranberry flavor and some additional sweetness that complemented the flavors of the salad. But if you can’t find cranberry flavored goat cheese, use plain. It will still be really delicious!
- Apple cider vinegar: Bragg Organic is my favorite brand (affiliate link).
- Honey: I love to use raw honey because it just…tastes more like honey! I usually buy my raw honey at Costco (so I have a lifetime supply). But of course use your favorite type of honey. Or you can substitute maple syrup if you want to.
Tips on Making Brussels Sprout Salad
Here are a few tips on making brussels sprout salad with cranberries:
Make Sure the Brussels Sprouts are Properly Seasoned Before Roasting
First, make sure to salt the almonds and brussels sprouts generously before they go in the oven. Seasoning beforehand will allow the salt more time to penetrate the ingredients rather than just adding at the end. I always tend to be a bit generous with the salt when I am roasting food, because some of the salt will end up on the tray when it’s being stirred halfway through cooking.
The vinaigrette also has salt, but a somewhat lesser amount to account for the salt added during the roasting process. If you taste the final salad and find it lacking seasoning, go ahead and sprinkle on a bit more salt at that point and gently stir the salad to distribute it throughout.
Preparing the Brussels Sprouts
As I mentioned, I cut the brussels sprouts into quarters. I found this was the perfect middle ground between shredded pieces and halves. With quarters instead of halves, there is more surface area of the brussels sprout exposed in the oven to get a nice roasty flavor. This helps combat some of the natural bitterness of the brussels sprouts. And smaller bites of brussels sprouts helps them mix in with all the other yummy flavors of the salad! Quarters also hold up better and don’t get as soggy as quickly compared with shredded pieces.
When cutting the brussels sprouts, I like to keep the stem end intact, this helps the brussels sprouts hold together:
After they are roasted, they should look something like this:
Preparing the Almonds
I used whole almonds and gave them a rough chop before roasting them in the oven. All you need to do is run your knife through them a few times, it’s ok if the shapes aren’t perfectly uniform. This adds interest to the salad and some extra crunch! In fact, if your pieces are larger, they will stay crunchy in the salad longer.
When the almonds are roasting in the oven, keep an eye on them during the last minute or two of the cooking time. They should be smelling toasty and nutty by then, and you want to pull them out when they have a deep brown color but not burnt! In my experience, this can be a fine line. So just make sure you don’t walk away from the oven during this critical stage!
Once roasted, the almonds should look something like this:
How to Serve Brussels Sprout Salad
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.
Making Brussels Sprout Salad with Cranberries Ahead of Time
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.
How to Store Brussels Sprout Salad
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!
If you’ve tried this recipe for Brussels Sprout Salad with Cranberries, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments down below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious recipes from Nibble and Dine!
And if you need some more side dish ideas for your next dinner party, here are some of my favorites!Print
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 lb. fresh brussels sprouts
- salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 c. whole raw almonds
- 6 oz. dried sweetened cranberries
- 8 oz. goat cheese (cranberry flavored or plain)
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tbsp. honey
- 4 tbsp. (¼ c.) apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the brussels sprouts into quarters vertically, leaving the stem ends intact. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (parchment paper is optional, but will make for easier cleanup). Drizzle with olive oil and toss them to evenly coat in the oil. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Roughly chop the almonds into large chunks. Place on a separate small baking sheet lined with parchment paper (again, parchment paper is optional, but will make for easier cleanup). Drizzle with olive oil and toss them to evenly coat in the oil. Spread out evenly on the baking sheet and sprinkle generously with 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. Spread them out evenly on the baking sheet and return to the oven for an additional 10 – 12 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are nicely browned.
- While the brussels sprouts are roasting, add the vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk with a fork 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.
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