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Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecans, Bacon and Manchego Cheese

Brussels sprout salad with bacon, manchego cheese and pecans
Brussels sprout salad with bacon, manchego cheese and pecans

I love main course salads for dinner in the summer. I get the bacon from Hemlock Hill Farm, where the animals roam free. There are no nitrates in the bacon and it is beyond delicious! (It’s so good that I rarely eat any other bacon and buy several pounds at a time, freezing them in bundles of 4 slices.) If you live near or find yourself in Northern Westchester, NY, check them out. They have a store on the farm and the meat is the best you can find anywhere.

Speaking of which, I know “grass fed meat” is a buzz word these days, but there is some confusion. 100% grass fed is not necessary for your health or the welfare of animals—you want to know they are pasture raised; some grains are fine.

For example, at Hemlock Hill Farms, their beef, chicken, geese, goats and lamb are all pasture raised and their pigs are grain fed.  They have this awesome partnership with local brewers, Captain Lawrence Brewery and get their leftover barley from making beer.

According to the owner, “In the summer months we cut ‘hay’ which is in turn grass.  That hay we feed to them in the winter months.  Cattle, as all ruminants, must have some form of hay/grass in their diet always. On top of that they get spent barley in their diet which is an excellent by product that breweries make.  It’s a great feed source for cattle.  There is about 30% spent barley in their diet year round.”

Anyway, back to this salad. It is really tasty!

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pecans, Bacon and Manchego Cheese

Serves 8 as side, 4 main course

1 ½  pounds baby brussels sprouts, slicer attachment on food processor or cut in half and hand slice thin

¼ cup lemon juice

1 T olive oil

8 slices bacon, cut into pieces, reserve fat

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 t Dijon mustard

3 T cider vinegar

Salt & Pepper

¾ cup pecan, toasted at 350 until lightly brown and fragrant; watch carefully—5-10 minutes–and chopped coarsely

4 ounces manchego cheese, chopped into small pieces

Cook bacon and remove from pan, leaving bacon fat. (Note: depending on bacon, you will either have the right amount of fat or too much. You can eye it and remove some or just make a bigger batch of dressing, which can be used on any green salad.)

Add garlic to bacon fat and cook a few minutes on low. Turn off heat. Wisk in mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, salt & pepper.

Combine everything and let sit for about 20-30 to wilt brussels sprouts slightly.

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