Brussels Sprouts and Lentil Salad

This Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Lentils, Bacon and Parsley salad is perfect for springtime, and, with the known medicinal benefits of Brussels Sprouts, will be a highly nutritious meal.

It’s a good idea to get into the habit of soaking grains and legumes overnight before you use them. Once soaked, the lentils can be steamed perfectly while keeping them loose and light. Once you’ve cooked them this way, you’ll never go back. Brussels sprouts, being raw cruciferous vegetables, are a lot easier to digest if they have been cured with some sort of acid and salt.

Serves: 4


  • 2 red onions, unpeeled
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 370g black or green lentils, soaked in water overnight
  • 200g Bacon (spiced smoked ham), sliced into small batons
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 16 Brussels sprouts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, plus extra to serve 

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Holding the top and bottom of the onions with your thumb and index finger, cut the onions in half crossways (not from sprout to core). Leaving the skin on, place the onions, cut side down, on the prepared tray. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and bake for 1 hour, until the onion is extremely soft. Remove the onions from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile drain the lentils. Place them in a steamer and cook for 25 minutes or until tender. If you don’t have a steamer, cook the lentils in a saucepan of barely simmering water for about 15 minutes until just done. Drain the lentils and separate them with a fork.

Cook the Bacon slowly in a frying pan over medium–low heat, until it renders down and becomes crispy. Remove the pan from the heat and fold the Bacon through the lentils, leaving the fat in the pan. For the dressing, add the olive oil and sherry vinegar to the fat in the pan and stir well, scraping any solids from the bottom.

Shred the Brussels sprouts with a mandoline or sharp knife. Put the sprouts in a bowl with a generous pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Break down the tough fibres of the sprouts by massaging the salt and lemon juice into them and allowing the sprouts to sit for 15 minutes to cure and soften the leaves. Add the parsley to the bowl, along with the Bacon and lentils. Spoon in some of the dressing to coat the ingredients.

Take the onions and remove the dried skin layer by squeezing the onion gently and pulling up the skin to reveal a glossy, soft inner onion. Pick each layer of onion out and add it to the lentils and Brussels sprouts. Toss together with a little more dressing and serve.

Medicinal benefit
Brussels sprouts contain good amounts of flavonoid antioxidants, which can help protect against prostate and colon cancers. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidant vitamins like A and E, which help protect the body from harmful free radicals. Vitamin A is essential for healthy mucous tissue and skin, and for eye health. Brussels sprouts also contain vitamin K (for bone health and blood clotting), B complex (to help convert food to energy), potassium (for balancing bodily fluids) and iron (essential for the production of red blood cells). 

Recipe taken from Real Food by Mike by Mike McEnearney
This book reminds us of the age-old truth that we are what we eat. Everything we put in our bodies has a profound effect on our wellbeing and long-term health. But this doesn’t mean it can’t also be extraordinarily delicious, diverse and indulgent! Across four chapters spanning the seasons, acclaimed chef Mike McEnearney harnesses the best produce available to bring­ you fresh, wholesome recipes you will want to cook and eat over and over. Beautifully photographed and illustrated, and with notes on the health benefits of each recipe, Real Food by Mike reminds us of the sometimes lost art of joyful eating.

You can purchase Real Food by Mike at

Published by Hardie Grant Books.

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