My vegan Brussels sprout salad, packed with chewy couscous, cranberries and toasty pecans, is for all of you who keep asking for more vegan and vegetarian recipes!
This Brussels sprout and couscous salad recipe is what I like to call accidentally vegan. I didn’t set out to make it exclusively vegan, but it worked out that way and I’m so glad. You could ‘unveganize’ the recipe by adding feta or bacon, but it really needs neither to be outstanding and worthy of a place at anyone’s table.
Vegan Brussels sprouts salad is made with Brussels sprouts in both shaved and roasted form, for maximum texture and flavor. Then we’re going to add steamed pearl couscous for carby delicious goodness, and finish with tart dried cranberries, toasted pecan nuts and a shallot-mustard vinaigrette. Served warm or at room temp, it’s a perfect between-seasons salad and hefty enough for a main course.
Read through the post for notes and extra details about the salad, then scroll to the bottom for the full recipe and ingredient list!
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Brussels sprouts salad dressing
This salad recipe is an earthy affair, with its couscous base and a generous amount of pecan nuts. And an earthy salad demands a bright, zingy dressing.
This vinaigrette fits the bill perfectly, with shallots for bite, Dijon mustard for depth and apple cider vinegar to offset the depth of the Brussels sprouts.
The dressing is super easy to make; just chop your shallots very finely and put into a jar with the rest of the ingredients. Put the lid on and give it a good shake to combine.
I make the dressing first thing for my Brussels sprout salad. It gives the flavors time to meld and mellow while you put together the other ingredients.
An optional extra in this dressing is a spoonful of honey or maple syrup (although, obviously, the honey is not vegan). I love the tang of it without any additional sweetness, but it does soften the mustard and vinegar a little if that’s something you like.
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Steaming couscous for vegan Brussel sprout salad
Cooking pearl couscous is easy in your steam oven or on the stove top.
If you’re using the steam oven, it’s very similar to cooking regular couscous in a steam oven. In the case of the pearl, or giant, grains, use a ratio of one part couscous to one and a half parts liquid.
Steaming the couscous in a shallow pan helps it to cook very evenly and makes it simple to fluff up the grains once they’re done.
If you’d like to make your couscous for this salad on the stove top, use the same quantities as for steaming. Bring the liquid to the boil in a wide-based pan or pot, then add the couscous and turn the heat right down to its lowest setting. Basically, you’re cooking your couscous by absorption here rather than boiling it. You need just enough heat to keep it a smidge (yes, that is an official term. Or at least my official term) below boiling. If the liquid is bubbling like mad around the couscous it’s too hot and your grains will stick to the bottom of the pan.
With either method, the couscous will take roughly 15 minutes to cook. When it’s done it’ll be slightly chewy but not hard, and most of the liquid will have absorbed. It’s ok if there’s a little liquid when you fluff the grains, because it’ll soak in over the next few minutes.
Shaved and roasted Brussels sprouts
Sure, you could just make a shaved Brussels sprout salad, or a roasted Brussels sprouts salad. They’d both be excellent dishes.
But the real beauty of this salad is the combination of both preparations. The raw shaved sprouts are tender but crisp, fresh and bright green. Halved and roasted at high heat (either using convection steam or a regular oven), they take on a caramelized, deeply nutty and earthy finish. If you’ve never roasted your Brussels sprouts before, you’re in for a treat.
Those two Brussels sprouts, so similar yet so different, are the highlight of this salad for me, and I hope for you too.
Whether your eating habits are strictly plant based or not, I can’t wait for you to try this vegan Brussels sprout salad. Tell me in the comments, or over on Facebook, if you give it a go!
Happy steam oven cooking, see you here again soon.
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Vegan Brussels Sprout Salad
- Make the dressing. Put all the ingredients into a lidded jar and shake well to combine. Set aside.½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup water, 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 shallot, 2 Tbs Dijon mustard, Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 450℉/220℃. Use a fan setting if your oven has one.
- Put the stock or water into a wide based pan and bring to a boil. As soon as it reaches boiling point, tip in the couscous and put the lid on. Lower the heat to the lowest possible setting and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes.1 cup pearl couscous, 1½ cups light vegetable stock
- When the couscous is done, the liquid should be mostly absorbed and the grains tender and chewy. Stir to loosen the grains, and put it into a serving bowl.
- Trim and halve one portion of the Brussels sprouts and put into a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and cook until they’re tender and starting to blacken at the edges, about 16-20 minutes.1 lb brussels sprouts, 2 Tbsp olive oil
Steam Oven Method
- Preheat oven to 212℉/100℃, steam setting (100% steam).
- Put the couscous into a shallow pan and cover with the stock. Put into the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes. When the couscous is done, remove from the oven, fluff and put it into a serving bowl.1 cup pearl couscous, 1½ cups light vegetable stock
- Change the oven settings to 450℉/220℃, combi steam setting. If your oven has variable steam settings, select 80% (high steam). If not, don’t worry! Just set to combi steam at the correct temperature and the oven will take care of the rest.
- Trim and halve one portion of the Brussels sprouts and put into a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and cook until they’re tender and starting to blacken at the edges, about 12 minutes.1 lb brussels sprouts, 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Thinly slice the other portion of the Brussels sprouts and add to the serving bowl with the couscous (yes, these sprouts are raw! They’re meant to be!).1 lb brussels sprouts
- When the roasted sprouts are done, put them into the bowl with the couscous and raw shredded sprouts. Add the pecans, cranberries and a little salt and pepper.½ cup toasted pecans, ½ cup dried cranberries, Salt and pepper
- Drizzle dressing on top and toss to coat. Taste and adjust if necessary, adding more salt or pepper to the salad.
- Serve immediately, warm, or allow to cool to room temperature.