We’ve updated the classic grilled romaine Caesar salad with charred brussels sprouts. It’s topped with a creamy homemade dressing, jammy soft boiled eggs and garlicky croutons.
We love a great salad here at Vintage Kitty! We’re big fans of this Italian Salad and this Asian Noodle Salad, but right now we’re loving this warm brussels sprouts salad! It’s a winter winner for sure!
Caesar salad is one of those dishes most of us only eat in restaurants but it doesn’t have to be that way. A long time ago, I worked at an inn that served table side caesars and that’s when I realized how easy this salad was to make. There was a big wooden bowl, a spoon and a cart full of basic ingredients and once I got the hang of it, it took only a few minutes to make.
With this new found knowledge I started making caesar salads for everyone I knew…that week at the beach with the fam, dinners with friends, date night with Kevin… garlic breath all around! Everyone loved the fresh salads and I enjoyed the praise. It was a neat parlor trick but by no means a great feat.
Making a caesar salad is stupid easy and you don’t really need a recipe. The classic Caesar salad dressing includes worcestershire sauce, extra virgin olive oil, raw egg, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, dijon mustard, garlic, anchovies, salt and pepper. Tableside, we’d make the dressing without measurements…a drop here, a pour there, a spoonful of this and that, determining the end result based on thickness.
There’s no right or true recipe. Some will prefer more lemon or dijon and contrary to popular belief, you don’t need anchovies. The worcheshire sauce provides that pungent flavor. However if you’re a fan, go for the anchovies.
I’m not beholden to tradition, so I decided to take the best parts of the classic Caesar recipe and reinvent it a little. I took a little inspiration from the grilled romaine Caesar version swapping the lettuce for charred brussels sprouts. This winter vegetable is much more filling than lettuce, so it’s perfect for dinner salads.
But the most important swap is taking the egg out of the dressing and instead serving it as a soft boiled egg. As a society, we’re much more cautious about raw eggs now and finding pasteurized eggs in the grocery store can be problematic. So, we’ve gone for a deconstructed approach. Coincidentally, the soft boiled egg ratchets up the presentation by a factor of 10!
But you’ll still find all those classic flavors! Salty parm, the acidity of lemon and of course garlic! It’s pungent in a good way but mellowed by the crunch of freshly baked croutons.
But where this warm brussels sprouts salad shines is in its use of seasonal ingredients and pantry staples. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but my kitchen is always stocked with these dressing ingredients. In fact, the only things I had to purchase were brussels and a baguette!
That’s why this is such a practical weeknight dinner recipe during brussels sprouts season. We try to buy Brussels sprouts on the stalk, which tend to stay fresh longer in the fridge. We often also have a loaf of bread in the freezer for emergencies….because bread if life y’all!
If you’re organized, this salad takes just about 30 minutes to make from scratch. If you’re a meal prepper, the dressing and croutons can be made in advance, making this recipe take about 15 minutes instead. You can also char the brussels ahead, but must admit I preferred them warm.
Because you can prep most of the ingredients in advance, this also makes a great special occasion side salad. It would be great starter for Thanksgiving or Easter Sunday or any dinner where you want to impress your guests with restaurant quality food.
Tips for making Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
- Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian as it contains anchovies. For a veggie version my sister in law uses 365 Organic Worcestershire Sauce.
- I did not include anchovies in the recipe because you only use 1-2 for a single recipe of dressing. If you love anchovies feel free to add them.
- Since the egg is omitted in the dressing, the dressing will be quite pungent and garlicky. We like it that way as the Brussels, soft boiled egg and croutons are mild. But if you would like a milder dressing, feel free to add more oil to soften the flavor.
- Speaking of garlic, garlic breath is not pleasant! Eating a Granny Smith apple does wonders for clearing that up. Consider slicing one to have with dessert.
- We got a little fancy pants and made parmesan crisps for added crunch. You’ll find the instructions in the recipe notes.
- We only use half of the croutons, to save calories. Leftover croutons can be stored in an airtight container. Use the leftovers in my friend Lauren’s Winter Kale Salad, it’s so good!
- You don’t need a blender for the recipe, but it does make a faster, smoother dressing. Feel free to whisk it in a bowl.
- The best way to prepare the garlic is by mincing it and then smashing it into a puree on a cutting board with sea salt and a fork. If you do not use a blender, this will help evenly distribute the garlic flavor.
- For speed here is the order to make the ingredients:
- Preheat oven, griddle and a pot of water to boil
- Make croutons because they take the longest
- While the croutons bake, make the dressing
- Next prep you brussels and sear them
- When your croutons are almost done, boil the eggs
- Toss salad and top with sliced soft boiled eggs
It might seem like a lot of steps, but really, this is a very impressive salad that is simple to make. The warm brussels sprouts are filling, so we enjoy this as a weeknight dinner salad but it also works well as a side salad for family dinners.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 large french baguette , cut into cubes
- 6 drops worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 lbs brussels sprouts , cut in half
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 large eggs
- shaved parmesan cheese
- parmesan crisps (optional, instructions in recipe notes)
Preheat oven to 400F and place a small pot of water on the stove to boil the eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, salt and pepper then add the bread cubes and toss to distribute the oil.
Spread bread cubes out on a large cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing the cubes halfway through.
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the dressing is thicker or more garlicky than you like, add extra virgin olive oil to taste.
Preheat a skillet or on a griddle on high heat
Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
When the pan is smoking hot, place the brussels cut side down on the griddle. They should char in about 2 minutes, so work quickly to place them and then flip them.
Cook the brussels until they are bright green, charred and still crisp.
Prepare a bowl of ice water for your eggs
Once the water is boiling hard, turn back the heat to low for a minute then drop your eggs into the water with a slotted spoon.
Turn the heat back up and boil for 6-1/2 minutes.
With the slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the ice water bath.
Peel the eggs and slice in half.
Toss the brussels sprouts with the croutons, dressing, a handful of shaved parmesan . Arrange on a plate and garnish with parmesan crisps, sofft boiled eggs and freshly cracked pepper.
- This recipe will make two dinner sized salads or four side salads.
- Croutons can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.
- Dressing can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator up to one week.
- To make parmesan crisps, preheat oven to 400F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Shred parmesan using a small holed box grater and sprinkle onto parchment in one tablespoon rounds. Bake for 3-5 minutes until melted and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool then remove crisps with an offset spatula.
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