I’m on a brussels sprout kick. A couple weeks ago I posted a very autumn-ish sprout recipe which I feel like is sooo taboo to do around here. Pacific Northwesterners like to keep things seasonal ya know. So I kinda broke the PNW foodie rules, but sometimes with food ya just got to. Anyways, I began feeling like I needed to help the baby cabbage lookalikes have a chance at really shining in a summery type recipe. And I think I’ve got one! Check out this Brussels Sprout & Pancetta Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette! It comes together with minimal effort containing 6 ingredients for the salad and 8 ingredients for the vinaigrette. And I think it has summer written all over it. ☀️
This recipe was inspired by one of my recent (kiddo-free) grocery shopping trips. When I’m kiddo-free at the grocery store my pace through the aisles tends to slow down a bit and I start analyzing what’s on the shelves and in the refrigerated display cases a little bit more. I’m always intrigued by what the grocery store has going on in their pre-made “fresh” food deli/salad refrigerated area. You know the section I’m talking about? Does it have an official name? It’s the area where you can order to-go containers of a bunch of different pre-made meal items and you can basically walk out of the store with a full dinner in hand without ever dirtying a dish. In theory this grocery store section seems brilliant.
However…I stare at the food in that case and the food voice in my head says “you can make that, and you can make it cheaper and better, and when you make it you will know exactly what’s going into it, and it will ACTUALLY be fresh instead of just pretend fresh.” Tell me you hear that voice when you stare at that case too. Those refrigerated cases with the pre-made food kind of give me the heebs because I don’t know how long ago the food was actually made and what was actually put into it. I seriously can’t help it. I think it might come from some childhood experiences with those buffet restaurants that were super popular in the early 90s (which we won’t get into). It’s a total control thing, I know. But I’m kinda okay with having control over my food and what goes into it and how’s it prepared and how long it’s been sitting around… anyways…moving right along….
So I saw this salad in that one area in the grocery store, and I stared at it long and hard (which I think kind of weirded the guy out behind the counter). I do a lot of staring at the grocery store, at food that is. So if you see some lady in a Portland grocery store staring hard at that refrigerated pre-made food case, it’s probably just me analyzing the food. So just come over and say “hi!” I’d love to meet my fellow foodie readers. But anyways, the staring part is essential because I’ve gotta figure out what’s in the salad and how I’m going to make it into something more spectacular and tasty when I get home and so much prettier looking than the pre-made salad in the case.
And let me tell you…not only did this salad end up looking prettier than that store salad but I’m pretty sure it probably tastes more AWESOME too! And definitely something that I will be eating a lot of throughout the summer!
So here’s the breakdown –> fresh crunchy vegetables (think raw brussels sprouts, red cabbage and roasted corn) combined with the cured saltiness of pancetta and then accented with cotija cheese and the nutty crunch of pepitas (the edible seed of a pumpkin). Then mix this all up with some home-made chili-lime vinaigrette and you’ve got a very flavorful, fulfilling, zesty, savory, (insert any other awesome adjective), salad that will please a crowd at your next bbq or will just give you a sense of personal fulfillment that you one-upped that grocery store salad.
Happy eating friends!Print
A perfect summer salad featuring raw brussels sprouts, red cabbage, salty pancetta, cotija cheese, nutty pepitas and then drizzled with a zesty chili-lime vinaigrette!
- 1 dozen brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced in food processor
- 2 cups purple cabbage, thinly sliced in food processor
- 1 ear fresh corn, grilled + kernels removed from the cob (*see notes below)
- 2 oz. pancetta, thinly sliced and chopped
- 1/2 cup cotija cheese, chopped into small cubes
- 2 Tbs. pepitas
- In a large bowl toss together thinly sliced brussels sprouts and purple cabbage, grilled corn, pancetta, and cotija cheese. In a container with a tight fitting lid, combine lime juice, honey, olive oil, avocado oil, crushed red chilies, cumin, garlic, cilantro and salt. Shake well. Drizzle salad with chile-lime vinaigrette to taste. Top with pepitas. EAT!!
For grilled corn, heat grill to medium. Remove husks and silk from the ears of corn and place in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for about 10 minutes. Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning half-way through or until kernels are tender. Another method for tasty “grilled” corn is to cut the corn off the cob and place in a pan over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and sauté until the kernels begin to brown slightly.
Nutritional information is for the salad only and does not include the chili-lime vinaigrette since the amount you use is up to your own personal taste.
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