This shaved brussels sprouts salad is absolutely delicious, tossed with plenty of lemon zest and juice, olive oil, loads of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and freshly cracked pepper. Inspired by one of our favorite salads at a local restaurant, this raw brussels sprouts salad is great to make ahead and perfect for impressing company, but easy enough for a weeknight dinner! My husband requests it for every special event.
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This is a cacio e pepe-style Brussels sprouts salad, so there’s a ton of intense flavor, all from a few simple ingredients. Cacio e pepe (meaning “cheese and pepper”) is a traditional Italian pasta dish of spaghetti tossed in olive oil, black pepper, and Pecorino Romano cheese to form a creamy sauce. You won’t get the creamy sauce here since you won’t have the heat of the pasta, but you will have all those amazing flavors.
- The parmesan cheese blends beautifully with the slightly bitter Brussels sprouts, and the bright lemon juice really ties everything together. This is really nice for a holiday meal because it feels a little indulgent (but also healthy), and it’s a great way to mix things up a little.
- Brussels sprouts salad keeps really well because the Brussels sprouts don’t wilt or get soggy, so it’s perfect for making ahead of time. Throw it together early in the day and chill it until dinner, or meal prep it on Sunday for an easy dinner side during the week. We LOVE having a big bowl on hand in the fridge. It’s easy enough to make last minute, too, though.
Brussels Sprouts – Obvious, I know. You can buy Brussels sprouts already shaved, or you can shave them yourself – whatever you prefer! If you’re shaving your own Brussels sprouts for this salad, use a very sharp knife. Cut away the stem end, then, in vertical motions, cut down the sprouts as thinly as possible. You could use a mandoline for this, but Brussels sprouts are pretty small, so it’s kind of dangerous. A food processor with a shredding blade would work, too.
Grated Parmesan – I much prefer using freshly grated parmesan here, rather than the store-bought pre-grated version. Grating your own is SUPER easy. Just use a microplane grater (you’ll need one to zest the lemon anyway!) and a wedge of decent-quality parmesan cheese. You’ll have freshly grated parm in no time!
- The really great thing about this salad recipe is that you can put just about anything you like in it and it will be amazing. Not feeling very cacio e pepe today? Try apples, pumpkin seeds, and a maple vinaigrette. If Brussels sprouts salad will have a spot on your Thanksgiving table, consider adding some dried cranberries and chopped pecans for a seasonal touch. The sweetness of the cranberries goes really well with the rich cheese and raw Brussels. You could also use shredded broccoli or cabbage instead of or mixed in with the shaved Brussels sprouts.
- If you really hate raw Brussels sprouts, you can make this with sautéed Brussels instead, but I’m begging you to try it at least once this way first! If you decide to sauté shaved Brussels, it’s imperative that you don’t overcook them. Sauté them in a little olive oil until they’re just soft, maybe 5 minutes or so.
- Before serving the salad, let it sit at room temperature for 10-ish minutes, then taste it and adjust the seasonings if needed. Letting it sit helps the sprouts to soften a little but it also gives the flavors in the dressing a chance to really blossom.
More Veggie Recipes You Need to Try
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Garlic Aioli
- Italian Green Beans
- Sweet Potato Soufflé
- Instant Pot Broccoli
- Medium bowl
- Microplane grater
- Place shaved Brussels sprouts in medium bowl. Use hands to gently break up leaves.
- Add olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, black pepper, and salt. Toss to distribute evenly, until all Brussels sprouts leaves have been coated in dressing.
- Gently fold in freshly grated parmesan cheese. Chill until ready to serve. Before serving, let salad sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- To Shave the Brussels Sprouts: Cut off the stem end. Place sprout on cutting board and, in vertical motions, cut as thinly as possible down the sprout. Repeat until all sprouts have been shaved. Note: You could do this with a mandoline but Brussels sprouts are really small so it can be dangerous. A food processor with a shredding blade would also work.
- Grated Parmesan: Use a microplane grater (the one you use to zest the lemon is fine!) to grate a wedge of decent-quality parmesan cheese. Fresh parmesan will have a much better taste and texture than store-bought, pre-grated cheese, but if you’d rather use store-bought that’s fine. Just be sure to use grated, not shredded.
- Serving: Before serving the salad, let it sit at room temperature for 10-ish minutes, then taste it and adjust the seasonings if needed. Letting it sit helps the sprouts to soften a little but it also gives the flavors in the dressing a chance to really blossom.
- Make it Dairy Free/Vegan: Use a dairy-free parmesan or nutritional yeast, or skip the cheese completely.
- Make it Paleo/Whole30: Omit the cheese.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.