This Brussels Sprout Kale Caprese salad makes me happy. It is loaded with wonderful ingredients like kale, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and mozzarella and combined makes me think of summer. Just what I need this week. It has been quite a busy week. I could barely keep up with writing and cooking and I am sure this is due to this pregnancy, but I am exhausted. There was a few days I completely dreaded standing in the kitchen and cooking something and was happy to have quick meals like this one. There was even one day that I had such a bad migraine that I turned on a movie for the kids in the afternoon and I was resting on the couch while all three of them for the first time ever sat with me and watched the ENTIRE movie. This year, and this pregnancy I am trying to do a better job at listening to my body and asking my husband for help. However I am quite a do-oer and have been alone a lot during pregnancies and child raising due to my husband’s travel with the Army and maybe more important I just have a tendency to do it myself and burnout. This year I am committed to working on this and trying to have better self care. Funny I just used that word, “self care”, it seems to be the buzz word in the Health Coach field, and I struggle to even say it out loud. I think a lot of other military, or “single” moms due to their situation or husbands work schedule can attest to this. Especially when you live remote, far away from family or close friends, you become used to not asking for help and doing it yourself. I almost feel that if I ask for help I am letting myself down because I can’t do it all. More on my improvement for self care later!
This Caprese Kale Brussels Sprout salad is a a great way to change up the same we eat brussels sprouts every time. Roasted sprouts are fantastic, but does get boring, so this is a nice change of pace. I also crave raw food during the winter so this is a good way to get your seasonal sprouts raw. If you or someone you know is new to brussels sprouts, I would even recommend cutting the amount in half just to make sure it is not to overwhelming for them. Both my husband and I love it but we LOVE brussels sprouts. Combined with the kale, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, it makes me want to have summer knocking on the door. I can’t wait to make this meal with garden fresh tomatoes, minus the sprouts since they won’t be in season, on the back deck of my father’s porch this summer when we go back to the east coast.
Your best friend in preparing this meal is going to be your food processor. Just trim the bottom off the brussels spouts, any of the bruised leaves, and put them in the processor, using a slicing blade and let it run. It will chop them thin, even, and best of all quick. If you don’t have a food processor, just cut them with a knife or mandolin. Also since tomatoes are not in season right now, yes it makes me cringe at times to use out of season tomatoes but this salad with just not be right without them. Try to buy roma tomatoes, those are much easier to de-seed, and chop. It is also beneficial to let them sit over a sieve with the garlic and salt. This will not only season them nicely it will draw out excess moisture from the tomatoes. You will be thanking me the second day when you are eating this fantastic salad for breakfast that you don’t have a ton of moisture sitting at the bottom of the bowl. This salad tastes even better the next day! Also make sure you keep the tomato trimming. . . just put them in a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer to add to your next vegetable to chicken stock.
I served this alongside a tri-tip steak, well seasoned with salt and pepper. Then seared in a very HOT cast iron pan on each side until it developed a nice crust. After that I placed it a 400 degree oven for about 15-17 minutes. We like our meat medium or medium rare. The best way to make sure you get it how you like, since every cut of meat is a different thickness is to check the temperature with a digital thermometer. For this cut of meat, I feel the worst thing you can do to it is over cook it! It is a fantastic cut of meat, relatively inexpensive, and superb when cooked and sliced as thin as possible againt the grain!
- Caprese Brussels Sprout Kale Salad
- 2 small or 1 large bunch of Kale
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
- 5 roma tomatoes
- ½ cup fresh mozzarella, ¼ inch cubed
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 garlic clove - grated
- ½ bunch basil - chiffonade (rolled then thinly sliced), if you don’t have this, don’t stress, just add 1 tablespoon dried basil to the vinaigrette
- Balsamic Vinaigrette
- ¾ cup oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Make the Vinaigrette. Add ingredients to a bowl and whisk well. If you need to use the dried basil add to the Vinaigrette and set aside. This will make more vinaigrette than you need but keep well in teh fridge.
- Thinly slice the kale. I used black tuscan kale, you can use any variety you can get your hands on. Just keep the kale as thinly sliced as possible. Using a food processor, trim the brussels sprout then shred them in a food processor with the slicing disk. If you don’t have a food processor you can slice them thinly by hand, taking care to slice as thin as possible.
- Seed, the tomatoes. I run my knife around the flesh while rolling the tomato to remove all of the seeds in the center. There are several ways to de-seed a tomato but I think this is the quickest method. Scrape out all the seeds and dice the flesh. Place tomatoes in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and sprinkle with salt. It will help remove some of the excess moisture and flavor tomatoes. Grate one clove of garlic with a microplane over the tomatoes and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Add kale, sprouts, tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and basil to a large bowl. Keep mozzarella on the side. Toss the salad with about ½ cup dressing. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Mix in the mozzarella. You can make this salad ahead of time, it just gets better while sitting. Add mozzarella in before serving.
Here is a picture of my daughter’s plate, the kids have been quite interested in taking photos of their food. . . hmmm I wonder why. We also served with homemade bread, I need to perfect the recipe but I will be coming soon!
Tomato Tutorial. . . please feel free to send me any questions if you are struggling with your tomatoes at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook, or in the comments section of the post.