janet @ the taste space

Warm Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions and Brussels Sprouts

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on December 28, 2011 at 6:04 AM

When we asked my kitchen-challenged friend if we could pick up anything from the grocery store for her, she asked for Brussels sprouts.


Of all things, she wanted Brussels sprouts.

Nothing in her fridge and freezer other than drinks and some frozen dinners, and she asks for Brussels sprouts?!

She explained that she loves to microwave them and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Delicious, she assured us.

My curiosity was piqued. I will confess, I have never had Brussels sprouts. My mom doesn’t like them so she never served them. Thus, I have never eaten them.

Then, I start seeing recipes for them all over the place! Here I am, seeing recipe after recipe involving the sproutsBloggers adore them.

Some people may be tempted by elaborate cakes and cookies, whereas I am in a tizzy by new vegetables. There are so many (cruciferous) vegetables I have yet to try. Today is the the day to try something new.

I noticed a trend: people like their sprouts caramelized either through roasting or pan-frying. They like to be off-set with something sweet – caramelized onions or shallots, or even dried fruit, then finished with nuts for crunch. Usually served as a side, I wanted to beef them up as a main-course salad. Enter the lentils.

I based this dish off of my Mujaddara, which is a Middle Eastern dish lentil and rice dish with caramelized onions. I replaced the rice with caramelized roasted Brussels sprouts, omitted the cinnamon from the simmering lentils and added some toasted pecans. A simple warm salad that is more than the sum of its parts. The earthy lentils lend a base of the sweet yet earthy sprouts, contrasted by the sweet caramelized onions with a crunch from toasted pecans. And the Brussels sprouts? They taste like little dense cabbage. Sweet, after the roasting. I think I’ve found a new veggie friend. 🙂

This is my submission to My Kitchen, My World for Belgium, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

Warm Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions and Brussels Sprouts

2 tsp oil, divided
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and cut in half if large
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch Aleppo chili flakes
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1. Preheat your oven to 425F.

2. Begin by caramelizing your onions: heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat (the oil is optional is you have a non-stick pan, actually), adding the onion and sauté, stirring all the while, over a high heat for about a minute. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking the onions for another 45 minutes, stirring them occasionally. You want them dark and caramelized.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, or in a silpat-lined oven-proof dish, toss the remaining 1 tsp olive oil with the Brussels sprouts, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili flakes.

4. Roast Brussels sprouts in oven for 20-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to even the browning. When they are dark brown, they are finished.

5. While the onions are caramelizing and the sprouts roasting, add lentils to a medium pot and cover with 1″ of water (or vegetable broth). Bring to a boil, then simmer on low, covered, for 30-40 minutes. When ready, drain and set aside.

6. Meanwhile, toast your pecans in a small skillet over low heat until fragrant. Set aside.

7. When ready to eat, mix together the lentils, onions, and Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with nuts.

Serves 4.

  1. This sounds awesome, and thanks for the mention! Brussels sprouts are one of my fave veggies, and caramelized onions are awesome too! 🙂

  2. here i am, at 7:30 am, rubbing my tummy and wanting to go into the kitchen right now and make this. brussels sprouts, carmelized onions, and pecans?? doesn’t get much better than that(for real.).

  3. Wow, we are really thinking alike, because I just made a warm lentil salad yesterday! Now I will have to try your version. Of course, I can’t resist anything with Brussels sprouts. Great idea.

  4. what a great combination of veggies!

  5. Brussels are by far one of my favorite winter veggies! I love them simply roasted but I also love finding new and exciting ways to prepare them. The flavor profile of this salad sounds fabulous!

  6. Mmm… I love Brussels sprouts. Try them roasted with balsamic… delicious.

  7. Fantastic looking recipe!!

  8. Growing up we ate brussel sprouts cooked like most other green veggies. Steamed in the microwave with a bit of bacon drippings and served with vinegar. I didn’t try all of these roasted/caramelized ones until recently. I definitely like mine finished with a bit of acid, and lightly cooked.

  9. Even though I’m not especially keen on brussel sprouts your salad sounds lovely. I think I need to eat them prepared in more interesting ways like this and then I’d probably love them.

  10. I have become a big fan of Brussels sprouts the last couple of years. Roasting is the way to go. This salad looks amazing–you have combined some of my favorite things. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays.

  11. ANYTHING brussel sprouts is delicious… and this looks out of control good! Mmmm!

  12. I can never remember if it’s brussel sprouts or brussels sprouts. No matter how many times I google it haha. I’m really surprised you’ve never tried them! You’re such an adventurous eater. I love how you paired them with lentils. I’m always happy to find delicious lentil recipes. 🙂

  13. […] The Taste Space shared Warm Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions and Brussels Sprouts […]

  14. I too LOVE Brussel sprouts. It’s one of those things. I could eat them like candy all day long, everyday. I like how you up nutrient content with the lentils.

  15. I diccovered this recipe from Wheat Free Meat Free’s round up. It looks wonderful – I am looking forward to trying it!

  16. I used to hate Brussels Sprouts as a kid thanks to my mother’s “put them in a pot and boil the bejeezus of them” method of cooking them. Like many other things, once I learned to cook them my own way I grew to love them. Love that you turned them into a meal rather than a side by adding the lentils. It’s mid-summer here right now, so several months to wait before Brussels sprouts season rolls round but will give this a try when it does.

    Like you, I get much more excited about an interesting vegetable dish than a new cake recipe.

    Sue 🙂

  17. I’m going to make this lentil salad this weekend; thanks!

    Cathy of What Would Cathy Eat was too modest to mention her recipe that my wife will gladly trample flowers and sucker-punch unicorns to get to: http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/11/healthy-thanksgiving-series-vegetables/ Dirt-simple, highly recommended.

  18. YUM! Loved this. Every mouthful. BUT—–I did tweak it because I like stuff saucy—made a reduced balsamic vinegarette. But thanks to you, I combined pecans, b. sprouts, and green lentils, along with caramelized onions, and was in heaven (nutritionally and taste-wise).

  19. […] Warm Lentil Salad with Caramelized Onions and Brussels Sprouts […]

  20. […] sprouts roasted, I also like them slipped into scrambles, skillets, stir fries, pastas, soups and salads. The last on my bucket list (I think) was to try them raw, shredded into a […]

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