Kale & Brussel Sprouts Salad with Shiitake Mushroom Bacon
The themed layout currently for this site is named “Kale” so naturally it’s fitting that the first “What’s Cooking?” post is this Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad I whipped up for dinner.
Pictured here is a roughly chopped Kale and Brussel Sprouts Salad with Shiitake Mushroom Bacon, vegetarian parmesan cheese tossed with vegan caesar dressing.
Roughly Chopped. Listen, I tried to do a shredded salad, but my hand grater only went so far and I had no desire to bring out my food processor. My food processor is this pretty epic, heavy duty hand-me-down from my parents that is about as long wide as as it is tall. While it does a great job, it’s also a bit of pain to clean when you don’t have dishwasher. So I try to not to bring it out unless necessary. In any case, “roughly chopped” sprouts became the name of the game. As for the Kale, I had purchased a ginormous bag of roughly chopped kale leaves that I’ve been powering through the last week.
Combination of Greens: A Resurgence Story. I love the combination of greens like kale and brussel sprouts together. They have their own distinct reputations as vegetables and, when combined, is a celebration of a resurgence of sorts. I remember growing up hearing brussel sprouts as some awful boiled dish best never served on television shows of dysfunctional family unit dinners. Nowadays it’s a pretty nifty thing to have them roasted as a side dish. Kale has a pretty lengthy history with humankind and has, in recent years, made its hipsteriffic return both lauded and disdained.
Massage Kale for Salads. In case you’ve already determined kale to be awful because of the toughness of its leafy exterior, I highly recommend learning how to massage kale with a little bit of salt and a bit of olive oil. It’ll reduce down the toughness and give you a softer leafy vegetable you might fall in love with. My favorite massaged kale salad is this Aarti Sequiera one from Food Network.
Faux Mushroom Bacon. Missing bacon is probably one of the more challenging things to contend with if you become a vegetarian. The smokey, salty quality and the texture is difficult to replicate. But mushroom bacon is actually a nice substitute than some of the expensive boxed kinds you might try to buy. My friend R does a pretty great version of Serious Eats’ Vegan Mushroom Bacon, but I’ve always had a little bit more luck with the Shiitake Mushroom version, like The Delicious Life recipe here. Just remember that there’s room for exploration – a little bit of smoked salt, smoked paprika, or liquid smoke could go a long way.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” I’m a big fan of caesar dressing, so when I became vegetarian it was hard to contend that it was made with fish. I’m more inclined to cheat with seafood, but dressing is rarely a good enough reason in my book. Luckily there’s some really great alternatives out there. If you have access, my favorite kind to purchase is the Follow Your Heart brand. Minimalist Baker also offers this 5-minute vegan recipe for caesar dressing.
Happy salad dinners!