Mexican Brussels Sprouts Salad with Tomatillo Dressing

5 from 15 votes
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Mexican Brussels Sprouts Salad with cotija cheese, avocado, sweet corn, and creamy tomatillo dressing. Enjoy this shaved Brussels sprouts salad as a side dish, or top with blackened shrimp or grilled chicken for a total flavor fiesta meal. Mexican Brussels sprouts salad assembled in a bowl with serving spoons

This shaved Brussels sprouts salad is creamy, crunchy, salty, and delightfully tangy. Even salad skeptics cannot deny its appeal.

As much as I adore Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, there is something SO satisfying about a hearty Brussels sprouts salad.

And yes, you can absolutely eat raw Brussels sprouts in a salad. When they’re thinly sliced or shaved, their fibrous texture becomes much easier to chew. (However, for those who prefer a cooked Brussels sprouts salad, try my delicious Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad.)

This salad makes a fantastic side dish on taco night, however it can also stand on its own as an entree.

I love topping it with blackened shrimp, grilled chicken, or tofu. You can also toss some crunchy roasted chickpeas in the mix for a vegetarian meal.

How to Make Mexican Brussels Sprouts Salad

The combination of crunchy Brussels sprouts with a creamy dressing works magic in this salad.

You can prepare it 1 to 2 hours ahead without worrying about the sprouts softening too much.

The IngredientsRecipe ingredients in separate bowls with labels

  • Brussels Sprouts: You need 1 lb. of Brussels sprouts, which you can purchase whole or pre-shredded. See below for the best methods of shaving whole Brussels sprouts.
  • Cotija Cheese: Cotija is an aged Mexican cheese with similar flavor and consistency to feta. It’s delightfully salty and crumbles well, making it a great salad contender. 
  • Avocado: Look for an avocado that’s ripe enough to peel and slice, but not too soft. You want the chunks of avocado to stay whole in the salad, and mush into oblivion. 
  • Almonds: I love using sliced almonds, which lend the perfect crunch. Alternatively, you can use toasted pumpkin seeds or even pistachios.
  • Corn: Feel free to use fresh, canned, or frozen corn. My go-to is Trader Joe’s frozen fire-roasted corn, which adds a hint of smoky flavor to the salad.
  • Pickled Red Onion: Quick-pickled red onion only requires four ingredients: thinly sliced red onion, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. (Ok, and water, but that doesn’t count!) Feel free to double the batch and use extra throughout the week on burgers and tacos.
  • Tomatillo Dressing: This creamy dressing is like the love child of green goddess dressing and ranch. It does require fresh tomatillos, which are available year-round in the produce department. Also in the mix is yogurt, cilantro, fresh jalapeño, and spices. 

Tossed brussels sprouts salad topped with pickled onions and avocado

The Directions

Step 1: Pickle Red Onions

Place red onions in a medium heat-proof bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil. Turn off heat and pour vinegar mixture over red onions.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours) at room temperature. (Note: you can prepare and refrigerate red onions up to 3 days in advance.)Pickled red onions in a gold bowl

Step 2: Shave Brussels Sprouts

There are three different methods for shaving Brussels sprouts. (Alternatively, you can purchase the bags of pre-shredded sprouts, if available!)

How to Shave Brussels Sprouts 

  • Food Processor: If you have a food processor with a slicing blade like this, this is by far the quickest route. It takes fewer than 5 minutes to shred all of the sprouts.
  • Mandoline. The second-best option is a mandoline slicer. Hold the sprout firmly by the stem end and watch your fingers VERY carefully as you reach the end.
  • Knife: A final option is a SHARP chef’s knife. This method may take the longest, however it’s nice to not have to dirty additional kitchen tools.

Add shaved brussels sprouts to a large mixing bowl.

Step 3: Blend Tomatillo Dressing

In a blender or nutribullet, combine tomatillos, olive oil, yogurt, cilantro, jalapeño, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and salt; blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. Tomatillo dressing being blended in a Nutribullet

Step 4: Assemble Mexican Brussels Sprouts Salad

To the bowl with Brussels, add corn, avocado, cotija cheese, and almonds. Pour dressing overtop and toss well to combine. Transfer salad to a serving platter and scatter red onions overtop. If desired, top with additional cotija cheese and/or sliced almonds. Brussels, corn, almonds, cheese, and avocado being tossed in a mixing bowl

Serving Suggestions:

This salad can be enjoyed as a side dish or the main event. Serve with:

  • Blackened Shrimp. Season medium peeled and deveined shrimp with a homemade or store-bought Cajun or Creole seasoning blend. Sauté shrimp over medium-high heat until cooked through.
  • Grilled Chicken or Tofu. Grill chicken breasts or super-firm tofu on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan until char marks appear. Slice into strips or cubes, and serve over salad.
  • Tacos. Enjoy this salad alongside fish tacos for a total flavor fiesta of a meal.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:

  • Make-Ahead:
    • Pickle the onions up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container. 
    • Blend tomatillo dressing up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight jar or blender bottle.
    • Shave Brussels sprouts 1 to 2 days ahead of time. If preparing the whole salad in advance, I suggest lightly moistening it with half the desired amount of dressing, then adding the remaining dressing right before serving. 
  • Store: Prepared salad will last up to 2 days refrigerated. 

Mexican Brussels Sprouts Salad tossed in tomatillo dressing in a gray serving bowl

More Reader-Favorite Brussels Sprouts Recipes

Cider-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Miso-Sesame Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Maple-Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts

10 Minute Warm Brussels Salad

If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

5 from 15 votes

Mexican Brussels Sprouts Salad with Tomatillo Dressing

Mexican Brussels Sprouts Salad with cotija cheese, avocado, sweet corn, and creamy tomatillo dressing. Enjoy as a side dish, or top with blackened shrimp or grilled chicken for a total flavor fiesta meal. 
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • Medium saucepan
  • Blender or Nutribullet

Ingredients  

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp. sweetener of choice (granulated sugar, honey, or maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp. salt

Brussels Salad

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup frozen/thawed, canned, or fresh corn kernels (I use frozen fire-roasted corn)
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

  • 3 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/4 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt (sub mayonnaise)
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Serving Suggestions

  • Blackened shrimp or grilled chicken, crispy oven-roasted chickpeas
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Instructions 

  • Pickle Red Onions:
    Place red onions in a medium heat-proof bowl.
    In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil. Turn off heat and pour vinegar mixture over red onions.
    Let sit for at least 30-45 minutes (or up to 2 hours) at room temperature. (Note: you can prepare and refrigerate red onions up to 3 days in advance.) Drain before using.
  • Prepare Tomatillo Dressing:
    In a blender or nutribullet, combine tomatillos, cilantro, yogurt, olive oil, jalapeño, onion powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin; blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. 
  • Assemble Salad:
    Shave or very thinly slice Brussels sprouts and add to a large bowl.*
    Add corn, avocado, cotija cheese, almonds, and a pinch of salt. Add about two-thirds of dressing and toss well to combine. Transfer salad to a serving platter and drizzle remaining dressing overtop. Scatter pickled red onions over salad, and garnish with additional cotija cheese and sliced almonds, if desired.

Notes

How to Shave Brussels Sprouts:
  • Food Processor: If you have a food processor with a slicing blade like this, this is by far the quickest route. It takes fewer than 5 minutes to shred all of the sprouts.
  • Mandoline. The second-best option is a mandoline slicer. Hold the sprout firmly by the stem end and watch your fingers VERY carefully as you reach the end.
  • Knife: Use a sharp chef's knife to very thinly slice Brussels sprouts crosswise.
 
Make-Ahead:
  • Pickle the onions up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container. 
  • Blend dressing up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight jar or blender bottle.
  • Shave Brussels sprouts 1 to 2 days ahead of time. If preparing the whole salad in advance, I suggest lightly moistening it with half the desired amount of dressing, then adding the remaining dressing right before serving. 
Store: Prepared salad will last up to 2 days refrigerated. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 500mg | Fiber: 6.5g | Sugar: 6.5g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

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16 Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    This is so good! Definitely make the onions, that are so simple and so spectacular, at least a day in advance to let them ‘pickle’. They are fantastic. I served with a crispy baked tofu. Great recipe!