Pretzel and Brussels Sprouts Panzanella

December  4, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

German classics take the form of an Italian bread salad—because a pretzel has been made into a hot dog bun and a croissant but rarely a salad, though it's up for the cause. It can stay soft on the inside while toasting on the outside, it takes to liquid (dressing...), and speaks up above other loud ingredients. Here, those shouters are hearty brassicas (brussels sprouts and broccoli), mustard, and pickled red onions (adapted from fiveandspice's recipe). Sausage wouldn't be an outsider here, either.

Seek out good bakery-quality soft pretzels here; they just have more pretzel flavor—though I've used the Super Pretzels from the frozen section (defrosted) and nobody's complained. —Ali Slagle

What You'll Need
  • For the pickled onions and mustard dressing:
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the salad:
  • 3 cups 1-inch chunks of big, soft pretzels
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Flaky maldon salt, for coating
  • 1 large head broccoli, floreted and stalk peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch coins
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut, as devoid of liquid as possible
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. For the pickled onions and mustard dressing:
  2. For the pickled onions: In a medium bowl, combine the water, 1/2 cup vinegar, salt, and sugar and stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the red onion, make sure they're pretty much submerged in the liquid, and let stand for 30 minutes. They'll keep in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks.
  3. For the dressing, combine the mustard, honey, pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 4 tablespoons oil, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper in a jar. Shake to combine.
  1. For the salad:
  2. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spread the pretzels out on a baking sheet, drizzle with a thin layer of oil and sprinkle with flaky salt.
  3. On a second baking sheet, combine the broccoli, brussels sprouts, rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then, add 2 tablespoons of the dressing to the mixture and toss so the vegetables are evenly coated. Hold onto the rest of that dressing.
  4. Stick both trays in the oven. Bake the pretzels until they're crisp but still give to a touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer them to a big bowl. Keep the vegetables in the oven until they're also tender yet crisp, a further 10 or so minutes.
  5. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the pretzels, then throw in the dates, sauerkraut, and 1/4 cup (or more) of pickled onions. Thin out the reserved dressing with 1 tablespoon of the pickled red onion liquid. Then add it to the salad and toss to combine. Add the parsley, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, then serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • oregon cassie
    oregon cassie
  • epicharis
  • Ali Slagle
    Ali Slagle
  • Crystal

6 Reviews

oregon C. April 22, 2017
Just discovered this recipe for first time -- looks like a great switch from my traditional panzanella salad. Any substitute suggestions for the Brussels sprouts during BBQ season?
Crystal September 25, 2016
I did a lot of modifications to the recipe but it was still fantastic because there's so much flavor and texture variation. I used the pickled onion exactly. I substituted maple syrup for honey in the dressing. I skipped the Maldon salt, Brussels sprouts, and rosemary.
epicharis January 1, 2016
Update: this is amazing. Every flavor and texture is on point. Served with a bottle of sparkling Riesling. Thank you for sharing your genius with us!
lois December 27, 2015
request permission to skip the sauerkraut--what am I missing here?
epicharis December 24, 2015
I think I just found my New Year's Day dinner. Will day-old pretzels work?
Ali S. December 24, 2015
I think so!