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A Take-to-Work Winter Salad Starring Brussels Sprouts, Apples, & Cheese

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We hit the road with Tillamook to take Not Sad Desk Lunch to the masses—and third on the list was Nordstrom in Seattle. (Read about the first two at L.A.'s Headspace and San Francisco's Everlane.)

Recently, our Not Sad Desk Lunch roadshow landed in Seattle to visit Nordstrom's downtown offices (amid a Seattle Sounders MLS victory parade!). We were excited to be toting a big bowl of our editor Ali's Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad with Cheddar and Rye Breadcrumbs along with us—plus lots of local meats, cheeses, seasonal fruit, and chocolate truffles.

Photo by James Ransom

Sprouts and apples are the stars in this cold-weather salad, although arugula make an appearance, too—it's hearty enough for dinner and holds up for lunch the next day. Here's Ali's rundown of why it makes a great Not Sad Desk Lunch:

With its brussels sprouts, apple, cheddar, rye bread, and mustard, this hearty salad is the kind of thing you’ll want alongside a sausage and beer on a Saturday, but—good news—it’s also light enough for Tuesday’s lunch, and making it won’t drag you down, either. The mustard-coated brussels sprouts roast on one baking sheet, while torn pieces of rye bread toast on another. Then there’s some quick knife work of cubing apples and cheddar, and some graceful dressing-whisking, and you have lunch.

To take this salad to work, pack up the brussels sprouts, breadcrumbs, arugula, and cheese separately, and bring the cut apples in the vinaigrette so that the acid in the dressing keeps the apples from browning. Toss everything together when you’re hungry.

If you do all the heavy-lifting for this salad (roasting and chopping) the day before you plan to eat it, it'll be a no-brainer to skip the deli soup at lunchtime in favor of sprouts, apples, cheddar, and rye.


The salad was much adored by our lunch crowd (some even snagged the recipe so they could recreate it themselves). By the end of the meal, I overheard Nordstrom co-workers hatching a plan to host a similar kind of lunch once a month, potluck-style. Music to a Not Sad Desk Lunch's ears.

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Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad with Cheddar and Rye Breadcrumbs

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Makes 2 lunches
  • 3/4 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dijon mustard, for drizzling
  • 3/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 slices Jewish rye bread
  • 1 tart, crisp apple (like Granny Smith or Jonagold)
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup arugula
Go to Recipe

Watch out West Coast: We're taking Not Sad Desk Lunch on the road with Tillamook, visiting friends in 3 cities to share tips, tricks, and recipe inspiration for packing a work lunch you'll be looking forward to all morning. Head here for more info on where to get Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Tags: tillamook, seattle, nordstrom