Whether you want a light holiday salad to start your celebratory meal or you’re just hungry for fresh flavors, this Radicchio Mandarin and Brussels Sprouts Salad is a winner. Naturally vegan and full of flavor — the Maple Citrus Dressing is bright and lively.
I love this salad. Especially in the depths of winter (ok, I know that’s an exaggeration because the “depths” of a Florida winter don’t even register as cool to my Northern family and friends). What I mean, is that in the winter, we tend to gravitate towards heavier fare. Pastas, potatoes, stews and braises. The zingy juxtaposition of this colorful Radicchio Mandarin and Brussels Sprouts Salad in the midst of traditional cold-weather, gut-busting dishes provides a welcome reprieve. It doesn’t hurt that the bright red and green also make it a perfect holiday salad.
Before we get into the veg– let’s start with the Maple Citrus Dressing, which has a deep concentration of orange, a hint of maple and tiny pops of whole grain mustard. Start by simmering the juice over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes, reducing the orange juice by about half to concentrate the flavors. Make sure your orange juice doesn’t have any additives and the only ingredient is pure juice. If you use calcium fortified juice, you’ll notice a residue in the juice reduction. Stick with pure juice for this one.
Instead of garlic, I use minced shallots for a less sharp flavor in the vinaigrette. Whole grain dijon mustard, a bit of vinegar, maple syrup and extra virgin olive oil whisked into the orange juice reduction create a balanced, sweet-tart dressing with just a bit of pucker.
Note: this recipe makes more than you’ll need to dress the salad, but it keeps well in the refrigerator for several days and you’ll want it on lots of salads or drizzled over steamed green beans or even seafood and chicken. It’s that good.
You would never eat raw brussels sprouts unless they were shaved very thin, like this. They’d be too hard to chew, but when shaved and tossed with the radicchio, those little orbs eat like a slaw. The other main component of the brussels sprouts salad is the radicchio. If you’ve never had it, radicchio is a tender, bitter lettuce and marries beautifully with the other components of this salad. Use a sharp knife to thinly slice the brussels sprouts (you can also use a mandoline, if you have one) and radicchio. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and toss to combine.
At this time of year, mandarin oranges are like little balls of sunshine. Super sweet and juicy — and very easy to peel and eat out of hand. For the salad, however, you’ll want to supréme the mandarins — essentially removing the peel and pith from the actual fruit. To do this, use a sharp paring knife to cut off the orange rind and membrane to expose the segments. Cut along the membrane of each segment and remove the fruit. Add the segmented fruit to the brussels sprouts salad.
Roughly chop the pistachios and add them to the vegetables. You can make the salad to this point and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Dress the salad right before serving.
Use a restrained hand when add the citrus dressing to the holiday salad. The salad should be lightly coated with dressing and not soupy. This salad is bright and tangy with gorgeous colors, sweet, bitter flavors and a bit of crunch. It’s ideal as a side dish with chicken, fish or pork or as a starter to your holiday meal. Enjoy.
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Radicchio Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus Maple Dressing
- 1 small head of radicchio lettuce
- 12 whole brussels sprouts
- 3 mandarin oranges or 2 navel oranges, supremed
- 1/4 cup shelled natural pistachios roughly chopped
FOR CITRUS MAPLE DRESSING:
- 1 cup orange juice (make sure there are no additives in the orange juice i.e. calcium etc.)
- 1 large shallot minced
- 2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard (I used Maille)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (can also use rice wine or red wine vinegar)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring orange juice to boiling, reduce heat to an active simmer and reduce the orange juice to a half cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- When orange juice is cooled, Add the shallot, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
- With a sharp knife, slice the brussels sprouts crosswise into very thin slices, discarding the root end. Transfer the brussels to a large salad bowl.
- Pull the leaves from the radicchio and stack them in a pile. Cut the pile in half, vertically, then slice the radicchio into very thin ribbons horizontally. Transfer the radicchio to the salad bowl.
- Supreme the mandarins. This means using a very sharp paring knife to remove the peel and outer membrane of the mandarin, so the bare segment is exposed. Then use the knife to slice in between the membranes to remove each individual segment. Transfer the segmented fruit to the salad bowl.
- Roughly chop the pistachios and add them to the salad. You can make the salad up to this point and refrigerate until ready to serve. Do not add the dressing until you're ready to eat, otherwise it will wilt.
- Add about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing to the salad and toss to coat. If the salad needs more dressing, add 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing after each addition. The salad shouldn't be goopy and wet, just lightly dressed. (Any remaining dressing can be used on other salads or to dress a piece of fish or chicken.
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