A good salad is tasty any time of year! Especially if you use in-season vegetables! Many greens and root vegetables, as well as citrus fruits are at their best this time of year.
We love all salads! Depending on what looks fresh at the market, and what’s in my refrigerator determines what kind of salad I make. Kale salads keep well for a few days. If you use regular lettuce, it should be eaten right away as it tends to wilt and get soggy. I never buy dressing, because growing up we just used a bit of olive oil, vinegar or lemon and a sprinkle of salt. This lets the vegetables shine! Bottled dressings are pricey and contain all kinds of things I’d rather not ingest!
Kale, both, the curly and Tuscan varieties make for a hearty salad, especially if you add in other colorful fruits and veggies. For this kale salad, I wash the kale thoroughly, then cut out the ribs and tear the leaves into smaller pieces. Next I stack a handful of these and slice them into superfine ribbons. I add a “dressing”, which consists of maybe a tablespoon of good quality olive oil, the juice of a lemon, a pinch or two of sea salt, red pepper flakes, a little minced garlic and a tablespoon of maple or agave syrup. With clean hands, I “massage” the greens until they become soft, shiny and start to shrink in volume. This helps to break down the fiber and makes the kale easier to chew and digest. At this point, you can let the kale rest for a while and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Here are some ideas of veggies to add to your salad:
Golden and red beets: wash, cut the tops off and either boil in water until just tender or roast in a hot oven wrapped in foil. When the beets are cool enough to handle, scrape of the skin (a serrated knife does a great job) and cut them into thin wedges. I store the golden and red ones separately to avoid bleeding of the colors.
Don’t forget carrots, which come in a rainbow of colors and add crunch either sliced or grated.
Radishes , kohlrabi, celery, red cabbage, napa cabbage, red onions, scallions, baby bok choi and jicama are all great add-ins.
One of my very favorite fruits in a kale salad is red grapefruit, as well as tangerines and orange slices. In order to get peeled segments of grapefruit or orange, I first cut the fruit into wedges and then take those apart. This method is somewhat tedious, but you’ll end up with perfect bite-sized fruit segments.
A crunchy topping adds a whole other dimension to any salad. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a baking sheet spread out some raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds and spray them with a tiny squirt of cooking spray. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top and stir the seeds. Then roast them for a few minutes until they turn a light brown color and start getting crispy. Watch them, they can go quickly from crunchy to burned!
To serve your salad, mix your add-ins into the salad, taste and adjust seasoning if you like and sprinkle with the seeds.
The best part is that these types of winter salads keep extremely well for two or 3 days. Just leave the seeds out and add them at serving time!
What is your favorite winter salad?