Editors' Picks

Kale, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprout Chopped Salad

March 19, 2014

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A salad you can eat with a spoon -- and a reason to get back on the chopped salad bandwagon. 

Kale Chopped Salad from Food52

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Chopped salads used to be a thing of country clubs and steakhouses. And those were the dish’s golden days: sitting stately, next to a baked potato or a rib-eye, medium. They were a proud third wheel to California business lunches, this time shrouded in bacon and avocado and egg. They were much-ordered and well-loved. 

And then we went too far. Now, there are chain stores armed with knives in both hands, ready to violently dismantle your lunch. There are articles reporting their popularity; there are drugstores selling them. Now? We love to hate chopped salads.  

The climate around chopped salads may have calmed slightly -- to a dull drizzle from a full storm -- but still, somewhere in between the chains and the trend pieces and the grilled lemon-herb chicken option at Duane Reade, the chopped salad lost its way.  

Let’s get it back on course.   

Kale Chopped Salad from Food52

This salad comes from Andrew Burman of newly-minted The Runner in Brooklyn, and it’s one that’s meant to be chopped. It’s a happy, brassica-heavy family full of all your stalwart late-winter vegetables, and their cruciferous backbones protect effortlessly against over-dressing -- which is arguably the chopped salad’s most common sin. The chopping here is discriminating, careful, considered. And it’s delicious.

What we originally loved about about chopped salads was that they’re equal opportunity: A chopped salad levels the ingredient playing field in a way that few other dishes do. With no one part allowed to take the spotlight, it’s a game of passing instead of laying up, where everyone wins in the end. This salad reminds us of that.

Burman likes his salad dressings “as thick as mayonnaise,” which is why he’ll instruct you to use a blender for yours. I’ve done it with a whisk, which works, but if you’re not feeling particularly masochistic, you should pull your blender down and dust it off. He’ll also have you salt and sugar the chopped vegetables beforehand, a technique you’ve probably used on your coleslaw a time or two. And he’s right to: this helps relax their tight-shouldered leaves and draw out any of their lingering bitterness. 

Kale Chopped Salad from Food52

Massaged and showered with sugar and salt, this salad will last up to 3 days in the fridge; alone and undressed, it will last a week. Which is a good thing, because I can’t, for the life of me, find a time not to eat this. It’s for when you want to restore your faith in chopped salads, for when you don’t want something that threatens to spiral every which way on date night. It’s for when you don’t want your food to put up a fight; for when you have no clean utensils other than spoons. And it’s for every time in between. 

Kale, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprout Chopped Salad 

Serves 8 to 10

For the greens:

1/2 pound lacinato kale (about one small bunch, or half of a larger bunch)
1/2 pound curly kale (about one small bunch, or half of a larger bunch)
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 pound green cabbage (about half a medium head or a quarter of a large one)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt  

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil, optional
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon toasted pistachios

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Photos by Eric Moran 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Grayce
  • Robyn Burgess
    Robyn Burgess
  • Brian
  • alicia
  • Yessica
Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Grayce March 24, 2014
I tried this salad yesterday (with some edits)........ I only had one type of kale, just a few brussells sprouts (so I only made a half salad..... substituted pine nuts for the sesame seeds (and didn't roast the nuts because I scorched the first batch)....... light brown for dark brown sugar...... but still, delicious!
Robyn B. March 24, 2014
I think I officially read too much food news. I correctly guessed all three of the linked articles in your second paragraph. I'll give this recipe a try!
Kenzi W. March 24, 2014
Just the right amount. :)
Brian March 23, 2014
The healthy greens are covered up by heavy amounts of oil and sugar. What's the point?
Kenzi W. March 23, 2014
The point is an end product that's different, new, satisfying, and -- despite said oil and sugar -- still completely wholesome. It's probably not the most austere salad in the world, but we believe in balance here; if you're happy after having eaten it, that's all that matters. Regardless, thanks for taking a spin through this column. If I can't change your mind about this salad in particular, I hope you'll find another to love on Food52.
alicia March 20, 2014
I love every part of this salad. And the fact that it's a nice, hearty chopped salad makes it even more appealing!
Kenzi W. March 20, 2014
I'm so glad! Let me know if you try it.
Yessica March 19, 2014
This sounds incredibly delicious...and satisfying.
Brette W. March 19, 2014
I used to work in the kitchen of a country club, and people liked their salads so chopped that it was like a fine powder.
Kenzi W. March 20, 2014
That's a whole new level.
Marian B. March 19, 2014
I always make fun of my mother for her chopped salad and now I won't be able to anymore, because I'm likely to be making this all the time. Crap.
Kenzi W. March 20, 2014
Just embrace it.
Catherine L. March 19, 2014
You have restored my faith in the chopped salad! Also how did you know I only have spoons at my house right now...
Kenzi W. March 19, 2014
I think probably because I only have spoons and we're more or less the same person...