Lemon Pepper Chickpea & Shaved Brussels Salad

"Eat your brussels sprouts", as your nose is turned up at these mushy, steamed, green blobs sit on your dinner plate. I use to hate brussels as a kid and even the thought of them as an adult would make me cringe. Often we avoid many delicious and nutritious foods due to preconceived notions based on our past experiences. Rightfully so, but often we have not tasted these food for 5...10...15 years, yet we continue to reject them over and over again.

In the past 5 years brussels sprouts' status has been elevated by the hipster foodie scene and their impeccable nutrition status. You see them on menus, raw, roasted, sauteed, topped with bacon, maple glaze, or a honey, balsamic drizzle. Initially when I would see these gorgeously described brussels dishes on a menu, I would think "gross, no thank you". But time and time again friends and family would order fancy brussels sides for the table.

With decades of eating behind me, what is the hope for changing my long-held hatetrid of brussels?

Actually pretty good! What I found along with science is that repeated exposure to disliked foods over a period of weeks to months may result in the eventual acceptance. The process of “taste exposure” — slowly and gradually trying tiny morsels of different foods — is key to creating new taste preferences. I did not go about this intentionally but rather came about to having bites of brussels due to peer pressure. Friends would order brussels sprouts sides for the table and as they raved about how much they loved the crispy, crunchy green nuggets, I would spoon a small serving to my plate and pretend to have the same enthusiasm. With each exposure I noticed my distaste grew less and less and eventually bloomed into an unexpected enjoyment. To the point that all week for lunch I have been having 2-3 cups of raw brussels in my Lemon Pepper Chickpea & Shaved Brussels Salad.

There is hope for all of us to create new taste preferences, the key is going slow and having an open mind. Want to learn to love a new foods? Give these simple steps a shot:

(1) Taste exposure: slowly and gradually trying tiny morsels of disliked foods.

(2) Variety is the spice of life: try a variety of preparations (steamed, roasted, fried, sauteed etc). Often texture, not flavor is the reason we do not like certain foods.

(3) Fake it till you make it: if you think it is going to taste bad, guess what... it is going to taste bad. Our perceptions plays a major role in how food taste. Try to have more neutral or positive thoughts about new foods you are trying.

(4) Mix and Match: try disliked foods with food that you love and have positive affiliations with.

(5) Try, Try, Try again: one or two bites is not going to change your mind, weeks to months of exposure are key to making a taste changes.

Lemon Pepper Chickpea

& Shaved Brussels Salad

6-8 Servings

Ingredient List

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 2-3 cans low sodium chickpeas

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

*you can use any seasonings you like


  • 2 lbs Brussel sprouts (shaved 8-10 cups)

  • 6 tbsp sunflower seeds

  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino cheese

  • 4 tbps golden raisins

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • Juice of 3 lemons

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

  • 2 tbsp. while balsamic vinegar

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Open the cans of chickpeas drain and rinse. Once rinsed place in an absorbent dish towel and dry. Then place the chickpeas on backing sheet (nothing on them) and bake for 15 minutes. This will help remove some of the moisture and ensure the chickpeas get and stay crunchy. After chickpeas have baked for 15 minutes, pull out of the oven and coat them lightly in olive oil and seasoning. Place back in the oven for about 30 minutes. I like mine supper crunchy so after 30 minutes I will check on how dry the chickpeas are. I will continue to cook until a get a desired dry and crunchy texture. Set aside to cool. They typically will last 4-5 days in an air tight container. Do not refrigerate.

Step 2:

To shred the brussels sprouts, cut the bottom ends off and then shred them using a food processor’s slicing blade or using a mandolin by hand. For a short cut many grocery stores will sell shaved brussels sprouts prepped and ready to use.

Step 3:

In a large bowl combine shaved brussels sprouts, sunflower seeds, pecorino cheese and golden raisins.

Step 4:

To make the dressing whisk together olive oil juice of 3 lemons, Dijon mustard, white balsamic vinegar and lemon zest.

Step 5:

When ready to serve top salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing and roasted chickpeas.

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