Most of us have heard about the Thanksgiving Side Dish of sauteed brussels sprouts with pancetta and toasted pine nuts. It’s simply delicious and a dish I’ve enjoyed in various forms, more recently at a friends for Thanksgiving Dinner. I had actually intended to make the dish one evening to see if the kids would like it but somehow the idea started to slip away….and I got inspired to make a winter slaw instead. The cold version of this hot dish seemed logical since I had some pancetta, brussels sprouts and napa cabbage in the fridge, all seemingly with a shorter shelf life now that winter has arrived.
And so it began. Started chopping and creating piles. We always have pomegranates on hand (daughter loves), so I did the water trick and cleaned one in less than 60 seconds while toasting up some pine nuts in a pan. It was coming together. The only tough decision (well not really) was to use a crisp apple or almost ripe pear. After sampling both, the pear got my vote, although apple would work to. I tossed most of the ingredients together with a dressing, sampled the crispy pancetta a few times (yum), carefully added the pear and topped it with the pancetta, that I couldn’t stop eating.
As with most coleslaw’s, they taste better the next day once all the flavours have married and the crunchiness of the cabbage softened a little. A nicely grilled halloom cheese, goat or blue cheese would add a really nice flavour to this salad. You could also change up the nuts and toast some slivered almonds or walnuts. Serving it for dinner you should get four servings. Making it for one, you might get two meals out of it, if you are lucky.
Make this vegetarian by omitting the pancetta.
- 8 large brussels sprouts sliced thin or 2 cups
- 2 cups napa cabbage, sliced thin
- 2 thick (1/4 inch) slices of pancetta, sliced into long strips
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 1 semi ripe pear, sliced into long thin slices
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper
- ½ tsp cumin
- In a bowl or measuring cup whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a pan over medium high heat add your pancetta pieces and cook until nicely crisp and brown all over. Set on paper towel to drain.
- In your serving bowl combine sliced brussels sprouts, napa cabbage, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.
- Pour dressing on top and toss.
- Since your pear will be on the ripe side gently drop on the pear slices and lightly toss with your hands. Layer crisp pancetta strips on top of salad and serve.