Roasted brussels sprouts and squash salad with horseradish dressing – this warm salad combines all the favorite flavors of fall – the sweetness of roasted veggies and dry fruit, with crunchy nuts, and a pungent horseradish dressing that ties them all in.
I know most of you, in the northern hemisphere, are by now looking forward to spring, and probably eagerly anticipating all that fresh spring produce. You most likely, have long forgotten about pumpkins and winter squashes, or had one too many this season, and are definitely not searching for fall recipes. Me too – I was done with pumpkins, despite my all time love for anything pumpkin-related. But a recent visit to my local True Food Kitchen restaurant put this on hold, as I tasted this amazing roasted brussels sprouts and squash salad with toasted mulberries and horseradish dressing.
It was so incredibly delicious, with that perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty, and contrasting textures of soft roasted veggies, and crunchy mulberries, that I thought it definitely deserves to be shared on the blog. So I attempted to recreate it at home, and in the process, modified it a bit, by skipping or replacing some of the ingredients, but the final version tasted just as good, with the same explosion of flavors and textures you get at each bite. Let it be my symbolic good-bye-winter recipe here on the blog!
The one ingredient that tripped me off, was dry pomegranate seeds, but I honestly didn’t think this had much of an impact on the taste, so I didn’t look for it. The other more unusual ingredient is dry mulberries. I knew I could find these easily in Mediterranean or Mexican stores, as I’ve bought them before. For those of you, unfamiliar with mulberries, they look like white blackberries, but they are slightly smaller and elongated. The dry berries sold in stores, are sweet and chewy, so you have to take one extra step by roasting them briefly in the oven, to make them crunchy! That really is one of the highlights of the salad, so if you can, do try to find dry mulberries. You can of course, buy them online too.
This fruit is actually pretty delicious in its raw state, but for whatever reason, you don’t see fresh mulberries sold at the farmer’s market…I always wonder why. They are abundant in the Mediterranean and in Bulgaria, and growing up, I loved how I could find a mulberry tree on a random street, and all I had to do was stand up on my tippy toes, and grab a handful of fruit, from the low-hanging, berry-laden tree branches. You didn’t have to look up and search for the mulberry trees either because you can easily spot them by the berry-stained puddle of mushed up fruit underneath the tree.
But I digress. The other highlight of the salad is the horseradish dressing. I doubled the amount of horseradish, reduced the oil, and added a pinch of cinnamon, but if you would like to follow the original recipe exactly, you can find it here. The recipe makes more dressing than you need, so feel free to use it on other salads.
I omitted the cauliflower and beans from the original salad to save on time, and also because they too, do not contribute much to flavor, I think. You can roast both the squash and brussels sprouts at the same time, and in the first 10 minutes of the roasting, throw in the hazelnuts and mulberries to lightly toast them. If your brussels sprouts are small, roast them whole, and peel off a few layers – those will crisp up like chips and will add a nice crunch factor together with the toasted mulberries. And then, if you are me, for extra crunch, you would add some toasted hazelnuts because I can’t resist adding nuts to anything.
If you are not in the mood for fall salads, I understand, but keep this recipe handy, as it’s a true gem.
- 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
- 2 cups butternut squash chopped in bite-size pieces
- 4 Tbs olive oil separated
- 2 Tbs coconut/brown sugar optional, for roasting the butternut squash
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts or other nuts of choice
- 1/4 cup dry mulberries*
- For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 big pinch chili flakes
- 1 big pinch of cinnamon optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Wash and clean your brussels sprouts. Cut brussels sprouts in half if too big, or leave whole, but peel off a few outer leaves, and reserve those.
Spread brussels sprouts and the reserved outer leaves on a baking sheet, and drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for about 45-50 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the sprouts are soft and caramelized. Remove the foil in the last 15 minutes of roasting. Keep an eye on the loose brussels sprouts leaves, as they get toasted and turn into chips pretty fast - remove from the oven before the rest of the veggies, if necessary, and reserve to sprinkle on top of the salad.
Peel and cut the butternut squash into bite-size pieces. Place on a baking sheet with olive oil, 1-2 Tbs of brown sugar (if using), and salt. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the squash is nicely caramelized, and soft.
On a third baking sheet, spread the hazelnuts (if raw), and the mulberries, and roast for 10 minutes in the oven. Remove and let cool. The berries will still appear to be soft, but once they cool, they will be crunchy.
Make the dressing, by combining all the ingredients, except the olive oil, the slowly whisk in the oil a bit at a time.
Assemble the salad by tossing the roasted vegetables, with about 4-5 Tbs of dressing, some salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts and mulberries on top, and serve.
* Buy dry mulberries at Mediterranean or Latin stores, or online.