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This brown butter Brussels sprouts salad is made with Brussels sprouts, bacon and arugula and drizzled with the most delicious balsamic brown butter you’ve ever had! It’s an easy lunch, dinner or side dish that you’ll want to make again and again.
Ohhh my my, the most magical brussels sprouts salad you’ve ever seen! I had a very similar salad while in San Juan and it completely stole my heart (if a salad can do that sort of thing).
You guys loved my Brussels sprouts pizza, so I figured I’d create another Brussels sprouts recipe for ya because you really can’t go wrong with any sort of Brussels sprouts salad, in my opinion. Brussels sprouts are so versatile, so hopefully you’ll give this one a try.
Bacon – can sub pancetta (the original recipe called for pancetta, but I couldn’t find any at the store); both work really well in this recipe
Arugula – can sub ANY kind of green, though preferably kale or spinach
Parmesan – optional. I like adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese to many salads, but it’s not absolutely necessary in this one.
Step 1: Cook the bacon. Add chopped bacon (or pancetta) to a large skillet, then cook it until it’s crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove it, reserving the grease.
Step 2: Cook the brussels sprouts. Add the brussels sprouts to the same skillet, and sauté them with the bacon grease. You may need to add 1-2 more tbsp of olive oil to the skillet. You want them to be bright green, but slightly browned too.
Step 3: Stir in the cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese into the skillet, then add the bacon back in a stir to combine.
Step 4: Combine everything. Place arugula onto a large plate/serving platter/bowl, then drizzle some of the balsamic brown butter over top (see below for specific brown butter instructions). Spoon the brussels sprouts mixture over the arugula, then top the entire thing off with more brown butter, salt and pepper.
How to brown butter
When I’d first thought to recreate the salad recipe I had on vacation, I knew what ingredients I wanted to keep and which ones I wanted to omit, but I had no idea how they got the dressing to taste so darn good. It looked like balsamic but it tasted….better than regular balsamic. I’m convinced the formula for getting something to taste better is to just add butter. It works nearly every time.
So yes, the secret ingredient is the balsamic brown butter dressing, and it’s TO DIE FOR. Let’s walk through how to actually brown butter, because it’s actually quite simple
Step 1: Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
Step 2: Once the butter has melted, occasionally stir it and keep an eye on it. Slowly, the butter will turn from its normal color to a golden brown color. That’s what you want!
Step 3: As soon as it’s the appropriate color, pour the butter into a bowl. If you leave the butter on the stove, it will burn, so act quickly. That’s it though! Just like that you’ll have beautiful brown butter dressing.
FAQs and tips
- You don’t have to use all of the brown butter. This recipe uses 1/2 cup of butter, which is a pretty good amount. I recommend pouring a little, then adding more as needed.
- To quickly shred brussels sprouts: add them into your food processor and pulse for 10 seconds or so. Or, you can buy pre-shredded ones (I know Trader Joe’s sells them).
Is there a way to make this vegan-friendly?
Of course! I’d sub tempeh (preferably the bacon-flavored kind if you can find it), use dairy free butter and then either omit the cheese altogether, or use a vegan-friendly parmesan.
More delicious salads
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts Salad
- 4 slices bacon chopped; or sub 4 oz. pancetta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 cups brussels sprouts shredded
- 3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 cups arugula
for the dressing:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet. Once it's cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon but save the grease. Place bacon in a bowl and set aside.
- Add olive oil to the skillet, then cook the brussels sprouts in the skillet over medium-high heat until they're browned to your liking. Add bacon back into the skillet, then sprinkle parmesan over top and set aside.
- Next, make the dressing. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to burn it! You want it to be a golden brown color. Pour butter into a bowl, then add the balsamic; stir to combine, then drizzle HALF of it over top of the brussels sprouts mixture.
- Place arugula onto a plate, then pour the brussels sprouts mixture over top. Drizzle the whole salad with a little more of the brown butter, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. It's ok if you have leftover brown butter -- save it for another recipe!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in October 2018. It was updated with new text and photos in August 2020.