RECIPE #153, DAY #181
ORIGINAL RECIPE: The dressing is from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison*
TIMING: 10 minutes
TOOLS: You have to have a whisk or some other way to emulsify the dressing
COOK TYPE: None
HEALTH: Yay! We are finally back to one of our no-holds-barred, healthy recipes. Salads are (obviously) great for you, and not just because of the raw veg, but also because of the combination of vitamins and nutrients and heart-healthy lipids (in moderation, of course). This salad has it all: fresh greens, dried berries, raw nuts, and heart-healthy oil.
EXPERIENCE: When I was growing up, salad was iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, a box of croutons, some Bacos, and your choice between bottled Italian and Ranch dressing. It did not matter the season, that was a salad and it was consumed frequently. I’m sure you understand, then, why I thought salads were ehn.
Even when I got to college, the salad bar salads were still started with iceberg lettuce, but there were a few new things, including shredded carrot and–woo hoo!–chickpeas. I actually got anemia trying to become a vegetarian, living off that salad bar. Then on to work at The Gale Group, where basically the same salad bar lived, complete with the same sneeze guard, but the ingredients were mildly more exciting.
Then I met Nellie. That woman would bring a salad to almost every potluck I attended with her, and I had never had anything so wonderful and refreshing. And the things she would put in there! Seeds! Nuts! Spring lettuce! Ten veggies in one salad! And a homemade dressing she claimed was no big deal. It didn’t take long for me to turn to my Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone to create more signature salads. And it also didn’t take me long to realize that the wonderfulness of any salad is largely dependent on the veggies being in season.
All that to say that I am now a firm believer in the seasonality and variation of salads. Here is a great, super simple winter salad, which I used to compliment our Christmas meal.
NOTES: I meant to have this salad with dried cherries, but they were not stocked at my grocery store. Then, when I assembled the salad at my mom’s house, she said, “Don’t you want dried cherries, instead?” Ye-es! My step-dad’s sister is a cherry farmer, and she sends “seconds” to my mom. They are wonderful!
Either cherries or cranberries are great here.
Measurements of the salad ingredients (not the dressing) can be adjusted to quantity and taste, very easily. Always dress your salad at the last moment and only add as much as needed.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons walnut oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon sherry, 2 minced shallots, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until emulsified. Set aside.
- In a salad bowl (or in individual bowls or plates), compose 5-10 ounces baby spinach, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/2 cup raw walnuts (roasted would be nice), and 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing and toss.
Serve on the holiday table with various other sides and entrees. Or just use it as an accompaniment to winter dinners, like a roast or pork chops.
*Recipe changed from the original.