Sweet Corn and Brussels Sprout Salad with Rosemary and Pecans


So, I’ve missed you all. It’s been awhile, and life has pulled in so many directions in the last 6 months – our first trip to Italy with Shauna and Danny, saying farewell to my grandma and my great aunt – the Sutherland clan is a little light on history without those two. Speaking at conferences, a new role at Edelman, celebrating a cousin’s wedding, and throughout – cooking as meditation to unwind after work, and to wind up for the weeks ahead.

I owe you some grander stories, some beautiful photos, but right now, there is salad. A dear friend, Gina, requested this recipe after seeing this image on Instagram. Apparently all I need to get back here is for someone just to ask. Life really is that simple sometimes. So I’ll get over the writing drought just by getting on with it, because you need to feast on this salad while the corn is still fresh at the farmer’s market.

Crunchy, tangy, herbal, salty, sweet…this salad hits all the notes. If you’re feeling feisty, add a little red pepper flakes or aleppo pepper. Just make it – you won’t regret the 20 minutes of chopping and mixing needed here, and if you happen to dive into the salad before it cools in the fridge a bit, I won’t blame you.

Bless you, Gina, for reminding me that sometimes, you just have sit down and WRITE, and not worry for the perfect photo or words to capture the moment. Let’s eat.

Sweet Corn and Brussels Sprout Salad with Rosemary and Pecans
Serves 2-3 as a side dish, or one as a main course

2 ears of fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off the cob
4-5 brussel sprouts, washed, outer leaves removed,
2 T minced onion
3 T toasted pecans
2 ½ T olive oil, divided
2 T sherry vinegar
½ tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp dried rosemary
4 basil leaves, rolled and sliced into ribbons
2 T crumbled feta
fresh ground black pepper to taste

  1. Combine the rosemary and salt in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and whiz/bash them together a bit to release the oils in the rosemary and break it down into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  2. Chop up 2-3 T of onion and gather into your hand and rinse under cold water for a few seconds to mute the strong onion flavor. Drain, and set aside.
  3. Make the vinaigrette. Combine 2 T sherry vinegar, 2 T olive oil, ½ tsp dijon, and 2 pinches of the salt & rosemary in a small bowl. Whisk together with a fork. Don’t worry if the vinaigrette is on the tart side, the corn will soak up much of the acid. Set aside.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add the pecans and toast for 2-3 minutes until you the aroma meets your nose, shaking the pan a few times while they toast. Pour the toasted nuts onto a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Set aside.
  5. Return the pan to the heat, and add the remaining ½ tsp of olive oil along with the 2 ears of corn kernels. Add another pinch of the salt/rosemary mixture and toss together in the pan with a rubber spatula. Heat through for 1-2 minutes, just enough to unlock some of the sugar in the corn, but not long enough to cook – you still want the corn to have some crunch.
  6. Add the vinaigrette to the pan and gently stir, then pour the corn into a bowl. Add the pecans and a pinch of black pepper and stir. Taste, and add additional salt/rosemary, if needed. Let the corn cool in the fridge for a few minutes so the flavors can blend.
  7. Take the corn from the fridge, and add in the crumbled feta, onion, thinly sliced brussels sprouts and sliced basil. Toss, taste and serve. If it needs more salt, another splash of vinegar, adjust seasoning until you’re happy.



Brussels Sprouts Salad with Walnuts

I could post at least three more turkey recipes for you, but I think you and I can agree that we’re done with Thanksgiving foods for awhile and it’s time to move on to the next holiday. The 20lb turkey we got from our meat farm share was a LOT for our 2-person household – even after sharing the feast with friends, turkey fed us for 10 days straight, for lunch and dinner each day. Whew!

After the holiday feasts, it’s time to lighten things up, so we’re eating more salads, healthy soups and this brussels sprout salad, inspired by Shauna. If you’ve been hanging around the Whole Kitchen for awhile, you probably know that I’m crazy about cabbage, and will turn it into salads, slaws and soups as often as I can. And since brussels sprouts are like tiny little cabbages, I knew I’d love this salad as soon as Shauna posted it.

Brussels season in Chicago is on the way out, but if you’re lucky you might be able to find a few stragglers at the grocery. If not, thinly shredded cabbage will work nearly as well in this salad, it just won’t have the beautiful fluttery look of those thin ribbons of sprouts. The magic of this salad is chopped walnuts, a few grates of hard cheese and a simple vinaigrette. Crunchy, savory, salty, and a little tart – I will happily eat a big bowl of this salad for an entire meal.

What’s your favorite way to eat brussels sprouts? Or, what kind of salads are you making to balance the sweets and treats of the holiday season? Share in the comments below…

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Serves 2
Adapted from Shauna Ahern, Gluten Free Girl

2 cups of raw brussels sprouts, thinly sliced into ribbons
3 T toasted walnuts, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup finely grated aged gouda or parmesan
2 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard (Mustard Girl is my local favorite)
½ tsp honey
3 T walnut or olive oil
salt & lots of pepper

  1. Wash the brussels sprouts and remove any wilted outer leaves. Using your chef knife, slice the sprouts into super thin ribbons, discarding the tough stem ends. Toss the shredded sprouts into a mixing bowl along with the chopped walnuts.
  2. Make the vinaigrette: Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, pinch of salt and about ½ tsp of ground pepper and whisk with a fork to emulsify into a dressing. Pour the dressing over the sprouts and toss together with tongs to coat all of the sprouts. Sprinkle the cheese on and toss one more time before serving.