Winter is not known as the season for great salad but it could be! I am giving you two salads for this post. Try your own blends but it is best not to throw everything in the fridge in it. Try to be selective and highlight one or two ingredients. Simple ones I like have only three – five ingredients and I mostly use my homemade vinaigrette dressing. Salad can be pretty healthy and fairly low in calories yet high in nutritional value if you avoid fatty dressings. These are basic recipes which you can tweak depending on the ingredients in your fridge. Here are two February versions of my winter salad. Avocados are really good for you as are the celery and pomegranate seeds.
Super Winter Salad (serves 1)
½ an avocado
1 celery stalk
3-4 leaves of green loose leaf lettuce
2-3 tbsp. fresh pomegranate seeds
Or try a very different but still yummy winter salad which shows off citrus flavor and color:
Citrus Fennel Salad (serves 1)
1 inner stalk of celery cut in 1/3 inch rounds
1 navel orange
¼ cup fennel bulb, cut in ¼-1/3 inch slices
Peel the orange, either by hand or using a paring knife. Cut across into rounds about ¼-1/3 inch across. Cut again across into halves.
Fennel has a sweet crunch to it, faintly tasting of licorice, kinda sort of and it marries really well with citrus. I also like to use blood orange or cara cara navel oranges in this recipe. Even grapefruit slices are great. Cara cara oranges have an interesting orange-pinkish cast to the fruit and a lovely sweet flavor. The local Giant grocery store has them on display right now. You can also mix two citrus in your salad; a navel and a blood orange. Fantastic!
Finishing directions for both salads:
Place the salad ingredients in your salad dish; I have some very low sided ceramic bowls I got a long time ago that I love for salad. Then sprinkle the salad with vinaigrette which you just shook up one last time! Please don’t add too much salad dressing or you will have soggy salad.
I named this after my older sister who passed away nearly two years ago. She made fantastic vinaigrette. Mine is not quite like hers but close enough to masquerade as it. She would approve….
My preference is to use one of those Good Seasoning’s salad dressing jars but I add my own ingredients, if you don’t have one, use a pint jar; the main thing is a tight fitting lid. Fill it to the vinegar line with red wine vinegar, not the cheap store brand (skimpy 1/4 cup). Then some filtered water to the water line (about 1/3 inch more or two tbsp.). Next I add ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp dried oregano, a sprinkle of dried thyme, one garlic clove (peeled and mashed down a bit to release flavor), 1 tsp mayonnaise, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper and ½ tsp sugar. Then add extra virgin olive oil, stop a bit before the oil line and finish it with lighter olive oil (1/2 cup plus one tbsp of combined olive oils). Shake it up really well. Then shake it some more, you need to get the mayo to blend in as completely as possible. It tastes best at room temperature and plan ahead – let it rest for at least an hour before you use it the first time. Keep it in the refrigerator if there is any left over, lasts like a month in there. The mustard adds snap and the bit of mayo helps the dressing stay emulsified (fully blended) longer than it would without the mayo. If your salad is delicate and you don’t want as much olive oil flavor use only mild olive oil and skip the EVOL. If you chill the dressing you will need to let it warm up before using it; ten seconds in the microwave can help with that process.
Note: You could up the nutritional value with a few almonds or walnuts if you like nuts in your salad.
More thoughts: I make any number of salad combos. Two of my favorite ingredient combinations are: shredded carrot, sliced radishes, chickpeas, romaine and half rounds of European cucumber or a mixture of torn kale leaves, shredded raw Brussels sprouts, scallion rounds and julienned raw summer squash. Both mixtures are great with this vinaigrette.
Last thought: I avoid tomatoes in winter although some of the grape tomatoes are pretty tasty; use them if you feel the need for tomatoes.
So, go get your healthy green on and enjoy a fruity salad, even in the winter.