This week I’m on a road trip from Louisiana to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. It’s 1002 miles; a long drive. A home cooked meal is always welcome when we’re on these driving trips. Often we’ll stop at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. This restaurant chain is scattered along the interstates throughout the Eastern states; we discovered that they serve family-type menu foods. This time we stopped to eat at one somewhere in Alabama and I tried a new menu item: Brussels Sprouts and Kale SaladYou should stop here for a meal at one of these restaurants if you have not yet discovered Cracker Barrel restaurants. The restaurants appear to be popular with both local patrons and travelers. The chain has the same theme throughout the country. Lots of memorabilia, old photos and gadgets. There is a porch with rocking chairs.Always checkers or other trivial games at the tables, and large hearth and mantle.As you enter the restaurant you are welcomed by a novelty store with lots of interesting choices.
And the menu features plenty of home cooked food choices: meatloaf, pork chops, chicken livers, seafood, sandwiches and salads.
Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad
The Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad was a new menu addition. A salad, especially a healthy one, is a wise choice on long road trips where it is easy to get consumed with fast food. This is a great surprise.
And Brussels sprouts and kale are both very nutritious vegetables. The dark green vegetables have plenty of Vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants.
The salad consisted of finely shredded Brussels sprouts and kale. Mixed into the salad was dried cranberries and pecans. This was served with a maple vinegar salad dressing. Very tasty; but a bit sweet for my tastes. It didn’t appear to have much, if any oil, which was nice
This salad is very easy to prepare. Here is my suggested copy of the salad.
Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
- 2 cups fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts
- 2 cups loosely packed kale leaves, trimmed of center stalk
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Method and Steps:
- Add Brussels sprouts to a medium pot with about 1/2 cup water. Lightly salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat; cover and steam until the Brussels sprouts are just tender. Don’t over cook. Drain and chill. When chilled, finely shred. Set aside.
- Rinse and drain the kale leaves. Finely chop the fresh kale into tiny pieces.
- In medium bowl mix the kale and shredded Brussels sprouts. Add the dried cranberries and sunflower seeds or chopped pecans.
- For dressing, combine vinegar and maple syrup in small blender or food processor. Gradually swirl in oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour dressing over salad, stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve.
I recommend stopping at a Cracker Barrel restaurant if you are travelling cross-country for a traditional family-type meal.
Further on our trip and after driving all night–about 800 miles, we decided to stop for a nap. This was in the mountains of beautiful southwestern Virginia just south of Abington. We woke up to find several hikers coming towards us.
We discovered that the spot where we stopped for our nap was at the junction of where the Appalachian trail crosses Interstate 81. This hiker was 72 years old; he is hiking from Maine to Georgia — a trip that will take him 6 months. I admire anyone can do this; wish I could hike the trail, too.
Good luck. All types of travel adventures!