What about preparing a really delicious seasonal winter salad with me today? I think it is really important to always cook alongside the seasons and I love the variety of seasonal food, even during cold winter times. Do you pay attention to that, too? In January, the selection of fresh foods seems limited at a first glance. But a closer look reveals wonderful seasonal ingredients, such as the many colorful cabbages, beets, mushrooms, citrus fruits, nuts and seeds. Using some of these delicious ingredients today, I’m showing you an incredibly good, warm, rice-based winter salad with Brussels sprouts. Turning your nose up at Brussels sprouts? Oh, a lot of people do. I’ve received so many messages from readers who have had very bad experiences with Brussels sprouts. If you simply don’t like Brussels sprouts, so be it. I also have foods that I don’t like that much (for example, raw tomatoes…). But with Brussels sprouts, it’s mostly a “wrong” preparation and seasoning that results in nasty cabbage-y and sometimes bitter taste, instead of crisp, aromatic, slightly nutty Brussels sprouts florets .
Brussels sprouts should NEVER be “overcooked” and always well seasoned. In this salad recipe, I sauté the Brussels sprouts with onions just very briefly in sesame oil. In combination with the wonderful peanut butter dressing as well as fruity components, it tastes fantastic!!! I bet this salad can still convince some “Brussels sprouts skeptics”. Glad that you are back with me, all the best Lea.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
For your salad base
- 300 g (10.58 oz/ 1.5 cups) fragrant jasmine rice (here “broken rice” was used/or use any other type of rice as desired)
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 100 g (3.5 oz) onions
- 450 g (15.87 oz) brussels sprouts
- 1 tbsp. Ssesame oil (or any other vegetable oil)
- 100 g (3.5 oz) red cabbage
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 jar/can of cooked chickpeas (350 g (12.3 oz)/ 220 g (7.7 oz) drained weight)
- 2 mandarins
- 4 tbsp. pomegranate seeds (or a little more/as desired)
- Optional: pecans for garnish
For a home-made vegan Feta cheese alternative (optional)
- 200 g (7.05 oz) tofu
- 1 tbsp. yeast flakes
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Herbs of Provence
- 1 small pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove of garlic pressed)
- 1/2 tsp. paprika powder
For the dressing
- 2,5 tbsp./60 g (2.11 oz) peanut paste
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce (for a gluten-free recipe version use tamari)
- 1 tsp agave syrup or rice syrup (optional)
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 small tsp. chili flakes
- 1 bit of granulated garlic
- 5-6 tbsp. water
- For seasoning: lemon juice
- A handful of fresh cilantro (optional)
Tip: For this recipe I used “wild cilantro”. I get this cilantro variety at our supermarket in the so-called “indoor garden”, where fresh herbs are grown under UV light. Maybe you can get it at your place, too? Wild cilantro tastes like the classic one, but has smaller leaves and a more intense flavor. You can of course use regular cilantro for the recipe, or simply skip it if you don’t like its taste.
Instructions (approx. 35 minutes)
- In a pot bring jasmine rice to a boil using 650 ml of water. Stir vigorously once and simmer the rice with the lid closed for about five minutes. Reduce heat and let the rice simmer very gently for another 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add a little water if needed. After cooking time, let rice sit for another 10-15 minutes with the lid closed. (For other types of rice, cook rice according to package directions). After cooking, mix rice with a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp. rice vinegar.
- For the dressing, heat peanut paste, soy sauce, agave syrup, rice vinegar, chili flakes, a small pinch of garlic powder (optional) and 5-6 tbsp. water in a pot and stir until creamy. Season peanut sauce with lemon juice and soy sauce. If desired, wash and chop fresh cilantro and mix in. Set sauce aside until serving and dilute again with another 2-3 tablespoons of water before serving.
- For the tofu feta “cheese”, crumble tofu and mix with yeast flakes, apple cider vinegar, herbs de Provence, a small pinch of salt, olive oil, a pinch of garlic powder and paprika powder.
- Wash the Brussels sprouts, trim the stalks of the florets a little and finely slice the Brussels sprouts.
- Peel onions, halve and cut into fine strips. Heat 1 tbsp. of sesame oil in a pan/wok. Briefly sauté the onions, add the Brussels sprouts and fry for 2-3 minutes. Season Brussels sprouts with salt and pepper.
- Rinse the chickpeas thoroughly. Wash red cabbage, chop finely and “massage” vigorously with a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar.
- Now you can combine all the ingredients for the salad. Mix 2/3 of the peanut butter dressing with the cooked rice (dilute the sauce again a bit). Add the rinsed chickpeas as well as the sautéed Brussels sprouts. Mix well. Peel two mandarins, cut the mandarin pieces in half and mix in as well. Mix in pomegranate seeds to taste.
- Serve the salad in a large bowl, add the marinated red cabbage and plenty of the vegan feta on top. Finally, drizzle the remaining peanut butter sauce over the delicious rice salad and serve sprinkled with cilantro and chili flakes, if desired. If you like, you can add a handful of pecans to the salad. Enjoy your meal!
You can, of course, mix and match the ingredients in this delightful, colorful winter salad. I like to add mandarins seasonally, but you can also use pear pieces, apple, oranges or persimmon. However, I find a “fruity note” important in this salad! What also tastes great is if you additionally sauté a few cubes of smoked tofu with the Brussels sprouts and onion strips. Also, nuts and seeds of any kind go great with this salad. I had first planned pecans, but then omitted them in the end, because the salad was just perfect for me. But try e.g. pumpkin seeds or hazelnuts, too. Here you go with a tasty, easy to make, satisfying and healthy salad for the whole family! Enjoy.
I’m super excited to hear your feedback. Write me in the comments below! xoxoxo Lea