Alternative Title: Awesome autumn salad recipe made entirely from ingredients you buy at Trader Joe’s and chop nothing. Perhaps a little long winded?
Before we dive into this easy-to-make, legit-healthy-for-you, and still-yummy-to-eat salad, let me tell you how I found it. This autumn salad was served at one of the gazillion baby showers I went to in 2012, and I didn’t even try it. But one of my closest friends did, and she would not stop talking about it. I was also pregnant at the time, and I seriously had no idea what amazing salad she kept going on about, much less which shower it was served at. In my head, I was all, “OK. I get it. You ate a salad. How good could it possibly be?”
Because you know, it’s a salad.
But it’s true. This autumn salad recipe is amazing. And it isn’t even one of those “salads” that’s piled with dried fruit, cheese, croutons, tortilla chips, bacon bits, and a creamy dressing, nor is it a salad of the pasta or mayonnaise variety. The main ingredients in the autumn salad are kale and Brussels sprouts. If I had seen it on a menu, I would have thought, “Nope,” and moved on with my life.
But it didn’t happen that way.
Let’s be real, kale is basically the healthiest thing a person can eat, so I’ve always been pretty sure I hated it. Then, post-giving birth, my friend made the autumn salad for a playdate, and I learned that I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
What makes the autumn salad even better? You can make it entirely from ingredients you buy at Trader Joe’s and skip all that time-consuming chopping nonsense.
With the exception of one ingredient: safflower oil. But once you have the safflower oil, it’s in your pantry (maybe it’s already in your pantry?), and ta da! You can buy all of the other ingredients at Trader Joe’s.
But seriously, this autumn salad recipe is so easy, it is literally the only thing I make now when asked to contribute to a potluck situation.
AUTUMN SALAD WITH KALE AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS
2 cups Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced or about half of a bag of Trader Joe’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts
3-4 cups kale, chopped or about 3/4 of a bag of Trader Joe’s pre-chopped Kale
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
Autumn Salad Dressing
1 TBSP Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Dijon mustard or any other whole grain mustard
Juice of one lemon
½ tsp coarse salt
1 TBSP + 1 tsp pure maple syrup
2 TBSP safflower oil
Toast the sunflower seeds. You can do this in the oven: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toast sunflower seeds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. OR you can do this on the stovetop, which I think is easier. Just toss the seeds in a saute pan over low heat and flip them around every so often for a few minutes (2-4 minutes). You have to watch them so they won’t burn. I regularly walk away and burn sunflower seeds. Learn from my mistakes people.
Toss Brussels sprouts, kale, and sunflowers in a big bowl. I actually like to do this while the sunflower seeds still are warm. Kale is a hardy green and the heat from the sunflower seeds causes it to wilt just slightly.
Combine mustard, lemon juice, salt, and maple syrup in a small bowl, whisk in oil until emulsified.
Pour dressing over kale mixture and toss to coat.
Final Note: The autumn salad will keep in the refrigerator with the dressing already on it for up to three days. I’m not kidding. I’ve had no problem with soggy or browning greens in this salad and will often make it ahead for a healthy side dish to go along with dinner.