My inner English language nerd is geeking out over the name of this recipe.
Balsamic. Brussels. Bacon. Blueberries. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
Ah, see? It’s coming full circle.
This salad is entirely the result of a moment of inspiration, a rumbling tummy and a little too much caffeine-induced cooking creativity. It’s the result of my inner sweet and savory monster, the one that wants both bacon and blueberries at the same time — with a little bit of goat cheese thrown in, thankyouverymuch.
This salad also is the result of my inner brussels sprouts monster — you know, the one that wants brussels however, wherever, all the time. It’s why I crave brussels sprouts, in any form, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My parents may have had trouble getting me to eat my mushrooms and my sandwiches (yeah, I was a weird anti-sandwich kid), but the sprouts never were questioned.
I know I just said the other day how I rarely eat meat and now here I am with yet another meal of the meat-inclusive variety within one week. But before you call blasphemy, hear me out — this salad, though you may not believe me, is just as good sans bacon. I swear. And when we’ve met our meat eating quota for the week, that’s how I make it. Sometimes we eat it as a main salad — other times, as a side dish. Sometimes I have a bowl for dessert, sometimes I want to sprinkle it like granola on top of my breakfast yogurt, I don’t know. It’s just something the body tells me to do.
Of course, if you’re not a blueberry fan or don’t feel right buying them in the dead of winter, dried cranberries or cherries work just as well. You can add a little bit of crunch and saltiness to the salad (especially the baconless version) by tossing in a handful of walnuts or cashews. And if you’re not into goat cheese, you can use blue cheese crumbles instead. Then, you’ll have balsamic brussels sprouts salad with bacon, blueberries and blue cheese.
Boy, that is a beautiful thing to behold.
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon and Blueberries
A Girl Versus Dough original
Yields: 4 servings as a main dish, 6 as a side
6 ounces (about 4 strips) bacon, chopped
24 ounces (about 4-5 cups) brussels sprouts, stems removed, halved and leaves picked off (you can cut the cores into quarters or leave them out)
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup blueberries
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Heat a large (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium heat. Add bacon; cook until just crispy, about 5 minutes.
Add brussels sprouts, minced shallot and garlic; toss. Saute until brussels sprouts leaves begin to wilt, about 3-4 minutes.
Add balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste; toss to combine. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Add blueberries and goat cheese; toss lightly to combine. Serve warm.
NOTE: If you want to make the salad without bacon, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (instead of adding bacon), then proceed as directed.