roasted brussels sprout and black rice salad

I recently undertook the enormous challenge of cleaning out my pantry. I found dried cranberries from 2009, hazelnuts likely from the same year and a box of Sprinkles red velvet cupcake mix someone had given me. I also discovered exactly 1/2 cup of black rice stashed away in a plastic bag hiding underneath said hazelnuts.

If I hadn't cleaned out my pantry this past weekend, I wouldn't have made this lovely salad. It's everything a fall salad should be: warm, crunchy, bright and hearty. I couldn't stop eating it, and I'm sure I'll make it many more times this season. I've been really inspired by all the beautiful Thanksgiving side dishes in magazines and on my favorite blogs this year. There's a lot to be said for well prepared, thoughtful ingredients that bring just the right amount of cozy to a winter afternoon.


This is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table because it can accommodate a range of dietary needs. The salad is gluten free, vegetarian and easily made lactose free and vegan by omitting the dusting of Parmesan cheese.

Serves 2

Recipe inspired by Bon Appetit, November 2011

1 pound brussels sprouts, halved (quartered if large)
1/2 cup black rice
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large kale leaves, torn or thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Add 1 tablespoon oil to a small saucepan. Add almonds and stir to coat. Cook over medium for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Turn off heat and season with salt.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread brussels sprouts on a sheet pan and toss with some olive oil and salt. Roast 25-30 minutes until caramelized.

While the brussels sprouts roast, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Season with salt and a tab of butter, if you like.

Grate garlic and shallot into a small bowl. Add mustard and lemon juice; slowly whisk in oil until the dressing is thick and emulsified.

When ready to serve, add the torn kale leaves, brussels sprouts, rice and some almonds in a large bowl. Pour on some dressing and toss gently to combine. If using, add some crumbled shards of Parmesan cheese and serve.