Fall Fest: Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

It’s time for Fall Fest again and this week we’re celebrating brassicas – a genus of plants that includes cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and more.  I chose to focus on brussels sprouts because they are currently available on the stalk and I think it’s fun to take home a giant, awkward stalk of brussels sprouts!

Big Stalk of Brussels Sprouts

Up until a few years ago, I had never even seen brussels sprouts on the stalk.  I really hadn’t thought too much about how they grew – I guess I assumed they grew out of the ground like tiny little heads of cabbage.  Thinking about it now, that seems a little silly, but you have to admit that the way they grow on this crazy stalk is a little silly looking, too!

I’m a sucker for strange looking produce, and as long as they seem fresh, I can never resist buying a hefty club of brussels sprouts when I see them at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, the local supermarket, or a Farmer’s Market – yep, they’re sold pretty much everywhere around here during the fall.

Brussels Sprouts in a Bowl

Harvesting the sprouts from the stalk is much simpler than you might think.  Don’t make the mistake I did the first time I was presented with the challenge.  The sprouts don’t need to be cut off with a knife – it’s much easier (and safer) to snap them off with your fingers.  It takes no time at all and you’ll end up with a big bowl of beautiful, fresh brussels sprouts – my stalk yielded close to two pounds.  The sprouts will probably range in size from teeny tiny to very large, so if you’re cooking them whole, you might want to sort them according to size and start cooking the larger ones first.  If you’re going to shred them like I did, size doesn’t matter.

I had this great plan for my brussels sprouts – I wanted to cook them with shredded apple and onion in a bit of bacon fat then toss in some cider vinegar, chopped walnuts, and blue cheese.  I had been dreaming about it all day.  But when the time came to actually make the dish, I realized I was out of both apples and blue cheese!  Oh well, at least I had some good bacon and a bag full of fresh walnuts from my uncle’s ranch.  I simplified the recipe in my head and continued.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

I rinsed the sprouts, trimmed the bottoms, and removed any ugly outer leaves (there weren’t many – these were a gorgeous bunch of brussels sprouts).  I briefly thought about slicing them by hand but laziness took over and I decided to send them through the slicing blade of my food processor instead.  The Cuisinart accomplished the task in about a minute.

Walnuts from the Ranch

Since the walnuts were still in the shell, I got out the hammer and cracked enough to equal about half a cup (plus enough to snack on while cooking).  If you’ve never had good, fresh walnuts, you really need to find some.  The flavor is amazing – rich and sweet with absolutely no bitterness.  If you don’t have a nutcracker, no problem, it’s simple to open them with a hammer.  Just hold the nut on a hard surface with the pointed tip facing up and hit the top with the hammer (not too hard) until it cracks open. It will split in half or into four pieces and you can pick the walnuts out with your fingers (or a fork if they’re being stubborn).

I toasted the walnuts at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes before chopping and adding to the sprouts.  I also ended up adding some sugar to the cider vinegar dressing since I didn’t have apples to provide the sweetness I was looking for.  I added a drizzle of walnut oil since I had some handy, but you could use a neutral-flavored oil or even a splash of apple cider to cut the vinegar in the dressing.  I loved the simple combination of  brussels sprouts, bacon, and walnuts and didn’t even miss the extra ingredients I had planned on using.  But I’m still going to try it with apples and blue cheese next time!

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts

2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon walnut oil (or oil of your choice, or apple cider)
4 slices thick cut bacon
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (I used shredding blade on my food processor)
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
kosher salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, and oil; set aside.  In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon, cut or crumble into pieces, and set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of drippings in pan (if there aren’t enough drippings to equal 2 tbsp, add a little butter or oil).  Heat drippings over medium-high then add shredded brussels sprouts.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until just tender.  Remove from heat and stir in bacon, walnuts, and dressing.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.  Serves 4.

More Brassicas from the Fall Fest Gang:

How You Can Join Fall Fest 2010

Fall Fest!Welcome to Fall Fest! Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? You can contribute to our online recipe swap in various ways, big or small.

Contribute a whole post, or a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Fall Fest post on my blog, and then go visit my collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. Yes, copy and paste them everywhere! That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the Fall Fest 2010 pumpkin badge (illustrated by Matt of Matt Bites).

Summer/Fall Fest 2010 Posting Schedule

7/28: Cukes and Zukes
8/4: Corn
8/11: Herbs, Greens, and Beans
8/18: Stone Fruit – I missed this one!
8/25: Tomatoes
9/1: Sweet and Spicy Peppers
9/8: Garlic
9/15: White (or colorful “white”…but not sweet) Potatoes
9/22: Spinach
9/29: Apples
10/6: Fall Salads
10/13: Pumpkin + Winter Squash – I missed this one!
10/20: Pears
10/27: “Mad Stash” (as in what you’re shoving in freezer/jars/dehydrator, etc.)
11/3: Root veggies
11/10: Brassicas: incl. Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage or other
11/17: Sweet Potatoes

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  1. Amy

    Looks great. Bacon and brussel sprouts are always a tasty combination!

    Here’s my contribution to this week’s Fall Fest: http://savorymomentsblog.blogspot.com/2010/11/red-cabbage-and-green-apple-slaw.html — Red cabbage and green apple slaw.

    4:15 am  Nov 10th, 2010
  2. Ranjani

    Looks delicious! I love brussels sprouts, and I can see that the other Fall Fests hosts do too! This week I made a similar dish to yours, brussels sprouts with bacon dressing: http://4seasonsoffood.blogspot.com/2010/11/brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-dressing.html

    I also made pasta with cauliflower and walnut pesto: http://4seasonsoffood.blogspot.com/2010/11/brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-dressing.html

    6:34 am  Nov 10th, 2010
  3. Ranjani

    oops, copied the wrong link for the pasta. It should be : http://4seasonsoffood.blogspot.com/2010/11/pasta-with-cauliflower-and-walnut-pesto.html

    6:37 am  Nov 10th, 2010
  4. The FN Dish – Food Network Blog » Archive » Fall Fest: Brussels Sprouts Gratin

    […] Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts […]

    7:59 am  Nov 10th, 2010
  5. Anne Marie

    I should have known that bacon would make even the lowly Brussels Sprout lovely!

    I like to double down on my brassicas with this salad: http://themessyapron.blogspot.com/2009/11/two-heads-are-better.html

    9:04 am  Nov 10th, 2010
  6. Louise

    amazing light on your photos- wow, brussel sprouts never looked so good. i love brussel sprouts, shredded like this is great for presentation…
    have a great week,

    9:06 am  Nov 10th, 2010
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    […] Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Walnuts […]

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  8. Steph

    Wow that looks so good! i think i may be using this recipe for one of the holiday dinners. Great pics…beautiful.

    10:40 am  Nov 10th, 2010
  9. Carol Peterman

    I love Brussles sprouts and now I’m craving your salad! I’ll share my recipe for roasted Brussles sprouts with Pearl Onions. http://bit.ly/aP3Q8b

    12:10 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  10. Ruby

    Well you know I don’t really like brussel sprouts, but you may have found a way for me to like them! Good job! 😉

    12:23 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  11. Season to Taste

    How funny—I just posted a similar recipe but with pine nuts and pancetta. It was featured as the SuzySaid Recipe of the Week. The flavors, like bacon and walnuts, are such a hit! Check it out:

    1:30 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  12. Kathy

    OMG !! that looks so good. I’m making it. Definitely.

    2:16 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  13. Ngoc

    What a beautiful dish!

    My Fall Fest contribution was broccoli: http://professionalbakist.blogspot.com/2010/11/stuff-like-that-there.html.

    3:50 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  14. Radhika @ foodfor7stages

    wowie, you have a fab website and love your pictures. Here is my contribution for fall fest

    South Indian Cauliflower crepe –

    4:26 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  15. Charles G Thompson

    Really nice post. I love Brussels sprouts but haven’t bought them on the stalk yet. You’ve inspired me to do so. And what a great mix of flavors, bacon, blue cheese and walnuts. Nice!

    5:45 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  16. Walnut Lovers

    This is a fantastic recipe! Bacon and walnuts are so good, I love all that crunch in the salad. Thanks for sharing. Happy WalnutWednesday!

    8:58 pm  Nov 10th, 2010
  17. Lana

    I gloated over my American husband when I had to explain to him the birds and bees of Brussels sprouts:) The stalk looks so alien:) But the taste is superb.
    I think I am going to hit the Irvine Farmers Market this Saturday and score some B.S. right on the stalk.
    This week I made German-inspired braised red cabbage with bacon, red wine, and apple. Similarly comforting food.

    1:34 am  Nov 11th, 2010
  18. Kim @ Quit Eating Out {Recipes to Make Dining Out a Choice, Not a Chore}

    This will make the PERFECT addition to my Thansgiving table!! I’m bookmarking it now. Thanks! Have a great day!!!

    11:08 am  Nov 11th, 2010
  19. Kristy

    That looks like a great recipe, I love the combo of bacon and walnuts! Thanks for sharing!!

    12:54 pm  Nov 11th, 2010
  20. Stay-At-Home-Chef

    I love shredded Brussels Sprouts and will definitely be giving this recipe a try. Your photos are always so inspiring and make me hungry!

    4:20 pm  Nov 11th, 2010
  21. Denise Michaels

    Love the idea of shredding the Brussell Sprouts with the food processor. That is genius. Bacon and walnuts with the walnut oil makes a lot of sense. Love walnut oil and always have it in my pantry from Whole Foods or Cost Plus World Imports. Since I’ll be cooking green beans with walnut oil and toasted walnuts on Thanksgiving – I might do the apples and bleu cheese with the sprouts.

    Since I started shopping at TJs I’ve seen these big stalks of Brussel Sprouts but haven’t bought them. You’ve inspired me today. I think they would probably be somewhat fresher on the stalk compared to buying them already cut off.

    2:47 am  Nov 12th, 2010
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  23. napa farmhouse 1885/diane

    i posted my recipe for roasted cauliflower & garlic…both roasted long enough to caramalize…so delicious and children adore cauliflower this way…http://napafarmhouse1885.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-does-roasted-cauliflower-garlic.html

    10:12 am  Nov 12th, 2010
  24. Jayne

    I’m not a fan of brussel sprouts, but this recipe is inspiring me to give them another shot, it sound amazing.

    12:06 pm  Nov 12th, 2010
  25. Ali

    OH WOW! I have to admit I am like you were in thinking brussel sprouts grew like baby cabbages! Never knew they were on a stalk like that. Thanks for the knowledge!. I do love your blog.

    & I am the weird kid that loved brussel sprouts. Now my favorite way is roasted with a bit of olive oil & salt & pepper. 🙂

    8:13 pm  Nov 12th, 2010
  26. cheffresco

    This is a great looking dish! We love some brussels – thanks for the new recipe!

    8:03 pm  Nov 14th, 2010
  27. What Happens After Five

    Looks beautiful and delicious!! I may have to use this for a Thanksgiving salad!


    9:08 pm  Nov 16th, 2010
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    10:13 am  Nov 17th, 2010
  29. Hettar7

    You had me at Brussels Sprouts.

    4:28 pm  Nov 20th, 2010
  30. Eileen

    The Brussels Sprout salad looks like a winner! Can’t wait to serve it this holiday season. thanks

    5:52 pm  Nov 22nd, 2010
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  33. Sarah @ Whisking into Shape

    I love this brussels sprout recipe, used it for a Thanksgiving side dish and people loved it. Thanks for posting!

    9:57 am  Nov 28th, 2010
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  35. Christina

    I finally got around to trying this dish and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    10:47 am  Jan 14th, 2011
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  37. Angie

    I just made the Brussels sprouts with bacon and walnuts and it was amazing. I even blogged about it I thought it was so good. I’m hoping to convert some non-believers with this one!! Thanks for a great recipe!

    4:15 pm  Sep 21st, 2011
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    5:39 pm  Jun 15th, 2014
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