This Brussels sprouts pear salad with wild rice, hazelnuts, and the most incredible pumpkin apple cider vinaigrette is a perfectly satisfying fall lunch!Jump to Recipe
To put it mildly, I am obsessed with this Brussels Sprouts Pear Salad. The different flavors and components are eclectic but come together perfectly, and the pumpkin apple cider vinaigrette is to die for. I must say, I even surprised myself with how incredible and satisfying this fall salad is. The best part is, if you prep the wild rice ahead of time, this salad comes together in less than 20 minutes! Now that’s what I call a win.
Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts Pear Salad
Shaved Brussels Sprouts: Now look. You can certainly go the extra mile and buy whole Brussels sprouts that you shave yourself. That is not my journey. I usually buy a bag similar to this one.
Pears: The key to a really good pear salad is to buy firm pears! Mushy pears will not work (and honestly, they don’t taste very good either).
Wild Rice: This little grain is actually not rice at all. It’s actually the seeds of aquatic grass that grow near fresh water, mostly near the Great Lakes. Indigenous folks have eaten it for centuries. But you are likely not here for a history of wild rice, so I digress. Cook time can vary depending on what type of blend you get. I prefer to get mine at Trader Joe’s, where it’s most affordable.
Roasted Hazelnuts: You could certainly substitute pecans or walnuts if that’s what you have on hand, but I highly recommend hazelnuts. It lends a nutty, toasty, warm vibe to the salad that can’t be replicated. I generally get hazelnuts at Trader Joe’s.
Parmesan Cheese: You know I’ve gotta add a little cheese to really put this salad over the top. If you want to keep this salad vegan, you could omit or use plant-based parmesan instead.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Olive Oil: Definitely use the highest quality you can afford for this particular recipe.
Apple Cider Vinegar: One of my favorite vinegars, especially in fall dishes, and it works so so well in this particular vinaigrette.
Canned Pumpkin Purée: This likely goes without saying, but do not use pumpkin pie filling for this one! Pumpkin should be the only ingredient here.
Honey: To sweeten things up a bit. You can definitely use maple syrup instead to keep things vegan.
Dijon Mustard: For some tang and spice.
Garlic: As always, totally necessary.
Cinnamon: A full teaspoon! This is the lynchpin of the dressing that really pulls all the flavors together. Don’t skip!
Sea Salt and Black Pepper: To enhance the different flavors and finish everything off.
Water: A couple of tablespoons to get the flavors just right.
Make It a Meal!
If you’re wanting to make this salad more filling or make it go farther, here are a few ideas:
- Up the veggie content by serving it on a bed of mixed greens or arugula.
- Throw some chicken or salmon on top for extra protein.
- Toss the salad with a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas or white beans for some plant-based protein.
If you make this Brussels sprouts pear salad with wild rice, be sure to leave a rating and review! This helps Google discover little blogs like mine and truly means a lot to me.
More Amazing Lunch Ideas:
- Simple and Incredible Dill Pesto Tuna Melts
- Fantastic Street Corn-Inspired Salad
- Delicious Mango Shrimp Quesadillas
Brussels Sprouts Pear Salad with Wild Rice
- Blender or Food Processor (Optional)
For the Salad:
- 1 10-12 oz bag of shaved Brussels sprouts
- 2 pears diced
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- ⅓ cup roasted hazelnuts
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
For the Pumpkin Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup canned pumpkin purée
- 2 tbsp honey (maple syrup works too!)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp water
- First, cook your wild rice according to package directions and let cool for 20 minutes. Cook time will vary based on what variety you get.
- While your rice is cooling, make your pumpkin apple cider vinaigrette! Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute to ensure everything is well-combined and emulsified. Alternatively, you could place all ingredients in a mason jar with lid tightly shut and shake until all ingredients are well-combined.
- Assemble your salad! Place cooked wild rice, Brussels sprouts, pears, hazelnuts, parmesan, and dressing in large bowl and toss to combine. This salad is sturdy and it's okay to go ahead and dress the whole thing. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Photography by Hope Agresti