Kimchi is a fermented Korean side dish bursting with zesty, spicy, brine-y garlic flavor. I love kimchi so much that I’ve been known to purchase the larger-than-life 58 ounce tub of it from Costco. But I haven’t always possessed such love for the spunky Korean dish. At Korean culture camp as a kid, it was always offered to us for lunch, but I couldn’t stand the smell, much less the taste. Furthermore, the kimchi juice would always end up saturating the store-bought cookies (the best part of the meal) on my plate, making me hate it even more. Sadly, that heavenly, home-made kimchi always ended up in the garbage all 7 years I attended the camp.
It’s amazing how your palate changes as you grow older. In college, my best friend reintroduced me to kimchi. I distinctly remember her words in response to my obvious avoidance of it during our first Korean meal together: “Dude, how do you not like kimchi?” I innocently shrugged as visions of pungent, wilted cabbage ruining my beloved cookies ran through my head. Yet, after taking a few bites, I began to realize what I’d been missing out on. I loved cabbage, loved garlic, and was just starting to develop a fondness for spicy foods. The ingredients of napa cabbage, ginger, garlic, scallions, and red pepper flakes are soaked in a simple brine and left to ferment. Basically, kimchi is a cabbage, garlic, and spicy food lovers dream.
If the words ferment, brine, and spiciness are catching you off guard, not to worry. I’m sharing a much tamer kimchi-inspired recipe today. Let me explain. Let’s break down the components in this Kimchi Brussels Sprouts Salad.
- Shredded raw Brussels sprouts: Curious on how to shred them? Use a food processor, mandolin, or knife. Or, simply buy them pre-shredded.
- Simple dressing: I dreamed up a kimchi-inspired dressing made with all familiar ingredients that will take the place of the traditional brine. Soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes are all you need for this simple and zesty dressing!
- Bacon and parmesan: The salad could be complete at this point, but why not send it over the top with some bacon crumbles and grated Parmesan? They’re basically staples of any Brussels sprout salad and should not be overlooked even in an unconventional kimchi-inspired salad. The salty bacon and nutty parm add just the right amount of texture and flavor punch to the base of tangy, shredded sprouts.
- Fried egg: This is an optional ingredient. In the original posting of this recipe, I included a fried egg in the pictures, but I decided to keep it out this time to really showcase the main components of the salad. Note: a drippy fried egg is 100% encouraged as an addition to this salad.
Since it’s fall and Brussels sprouts are in season, give this unique and easy salad a try! And for a complete meal, pair it with this Quick and Easy Bulgogi (Korean Beef) or Slow Cooker Korean Pulled Chicken.
And on another note, I’d like to say HI again after a few months away from the blog. I was busy preparing for a new baby, having a baby, and adjusting to life with a baby and 2 other kids. Now that we’ve all settled into somewhat of a routine, I’m excited to be back in the kitchen. Over the next few months, I’m excited to revive some old recipes (like this one!) that have been hiding in the archives and to create new cozy and comforting dishes that will get us through fall and winter!
- 1½ pounds of Brussels sprouts
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 5 strips of cook bacon, chopped into crumbles
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 to 2 eggs (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (or sriracha)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅛ tsp fish sauce (optional)
- Prep the salad: Shred the Brussels sprouts using your method of choice. Place them in a large salad bowl. Add in the bacon bits, green onion and shredded Parmesan cheese.
- Make the dressing: Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl or shake in a jar.
- Assemble salad: Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss until fully combined. If desired, fry an egg or two and place them on top of the salad.