Solstice Salads: Winter Jewels

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

During the winter months, I add more root veggies to my dishes. The lighter salad greens  are replaced by darker greens and the veggies are hardier. I also like to use the jewel-toned veggies to brighten up the table, since the landscape outside is somewhat barren. At least my table is colorful, reflecting some of the colorful leaves of fall, my favorite season. (My next posting on the 21st is for the Solstice, where I talk about the beauty of leafless trees.)

The first dish uses roasted butternut squash as a main ingredient. (I had a similar salad at a restaurant a few weeks ago and realized that diced or chunky squash could be used as a main ingredient, but if cut smaller could be used as gluten-free croutons, or maybe “squotons.”)

The second dish uses purple cabbage, joined by yellow beets and orange carrots for a jewel of a salad. Both can add colorful to your holiday meals. Enjoy!

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Utensils: Cutting board and knife, baking pan, bowl for tossing and a serving platter
Prep. Time: About 20 minutes with pre-roasted squash
Cooking Time: About 20-30 minutes for squash
Categories: Vegan (V), No Sugar Added (NSA), Gluten-Free (GF)

Ingredients (Organic if available)

one cup roasted squash, cut in chunks for main ingredient or diced for croutons (Can be roasted the day before or earlier in the day.)
(Note: I used squash chunks already peeled and cut into larger pieces*)
1/2 cup broken pecans or walnuts—optional
1- 2 Tbl. coconut oil or ghee for tossing squash
a few slices of (watermelon) radishes
red cabbage cut into large pieces, the same size as you would use for lettuce, about 8-10   pieces
1/4 ripe avocado, sliced
2-3 tsp. olive or macadamia or sesame oil for tossing
microgreens or jar sprouts
kosher salt (and black pepper, optional)


Roasted Squash with Pecans

Directions

  1. Toss squash with coconut oil or ghee and bake in a 350 degree oven until squash can be pierced easily with a fork. You will need about 30 minutes for larger pieces and 20 minutes for crouton-sized pieces. (Also, feel free to toss also with herbs of your liking, such as curry powder, Italian herbs, or rosemary and thyme.) If you do this the day before, place cooked squash in fridge, covered. If at meal timer, cool in fridge while assembling other ingredients. (Add pecans or walnuts during last 10 minutes, if using.)
  2. Wash and cut or slice other veggies: cabbage, radish, and avocado. Place in a large bowl and toss with olive and a pinch or two of kosher salt (and pepper, if using), mac nut oil or sesame oil. Add cooled squash pieces and toss again.
  3. Place the salad on a serving platter, add sliced avocado and garnish with microgreens or jar sprouts (ex, alfalfa, clover, radish,  etc.)Serves 2 to 4, depending on what else is on your menu.
    Note
    : If using the smaller squash as croutons, you can add them at the very end instead of tossing with the salad and eliminate the micro greens or sprouts, since the croutons will be the garnish.

 

Pickles & Cabbage Salad

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, scrub brush for veggies, small bowls, hand grater or food processor, serving platter
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None!
Categories: Vegan (V), No Sugar Added (NSA), Gluten-Free (GF)

Ingredients (Organic if available)

1/2 of a small purple cabbage, grated finely (about 1 cup)
1/4 of a yellow beet, scrubbed, peeled and grated finely
1 orange or yellow carrot, scrubbed and grated finely (if organic, keep skin on)
1 (purple daikon) radish, washed, peeled and sliced and/or two or three wedges of watermelon radish if available
1 dill pickle (I use Bubbies made without vinegar), cut into bite-sized pieces
sunflower seeds for garnish (optional)
Kosher salt (pinch)
2-3 tablespoons organic olive oil or (toasted) sesame oil

Directions
1. Wash and grate the cabbage. Place in a small bowl. Scrub and grate all the root veggies except radishes. Cut separately and place in separate bowls.
2. Wash and cut radishes into circles or wedges and place in a  small bowl.
3. Dice the pickle and place in a bowl.
4. To assemble the salad, spread grated purple cabbage on the plate in a circle form. Then add grated yellow beet on top, but leave a rim of purple from the cabbage. Next, add, grated carrot,  leaving a rim of the beet. Finally, sprinkle the diced pickle over the grated veggies.
5. Add slices or wedges of whatever radishes you are using. Add a pinch of Kosher salt. Sprinkle olive oil on all the veggies. Do not toss. The person eating the salad can toss the different veggies together on his or her plate.

Serves 2-4 depending on what else is on the menu. (I ate half for my dinner.)

P.S. The recipe posting before this featured potato pancakes (latkes) and I promised I would report back when we made them, because I was going to try to make sweet potato latkes. I did, adding an egg because sweet potatoes are not as wet as white potatoes when they are grated. The result was  a cross between a sweet potato omelet or scrambled eggs with grated sweet potatoes. I’ll stick to white potatoes!

 

Holiday Salads: Past & Present

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

I first posted these two salads in 2009, and they stand the test of time for this holiday season.

Holiday Fruit Salad

(Vegan)

pomsaladimg_0002.jpg

The pomegranate is a perfect holiday food. It is available in the fall and is bright and cheery, similar to holly berries, only these you can eat! According to a book entitled, Apples and Pomegranates by Rachel Musleah, the pomegranate is mentioned in the Bible, in art, and in literature as a symbol of beauty and fertility because of the large scarlet flowers, the glossy greens leaves, its round red fruit, and its numerous seeds.


Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl or plate
Prep. Time: 20 minutes – 1/2 hour*
Cooking Time: none
* You can now buy pomegranate seeds in a container in the cooler section, which cuts down prep time by half.

Ingredients
1/2 pomegranate, seeded
2-3 red-skinned organic apples
2 Organic green kiwi (also comes in yellow)

Optional toppings: yogurt, dried (unsweetened) coconut, walnuts, honey

Directions
1. Wash all the fruit well, even if you are peeling it and it is organic.
2. Place pomegranate seeds in a bowl. (Remove all the membrane when you peel it.)
3. Peel and cut kiwi into small pieces and add to bowl.
4. Cut apples in half, remove core and seeds, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with some lemon juice to avoid discoloration. Add to bowl.
5. Toss all the fruit and place back in the bowl or on a plate. Add topping of your choice, or serve as is. Colorful, crunchy, and delicious! Serves 3-4.

Note: Instead of pomegranates, you feel free to use cranberries, which are perfect for the holidays, as well. It may make the dish too tart, so drizzle on some honey or maple syrup.

Holiday Tossed Salad

holidaytossedsaladimg_0014.jpg

This is a simple salad that uses very few organic veggies, but is in keeping with the red, white & green of the holiday season.


Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl, serving dish
Prep. Time: About 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Categories: Vegan, GF, No Sugar Added (NSA)

Ingredients
(organic whenever possible)
10 -12 cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 or 1/3.
1-2 stalks of celery or one piece of fennel, washed & cut into small pieces
one cucumber, washed, partially peeled* and cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise if needed
balsamic vinegar or dressing of choice +
organic salad sprouts (optional)
* You can peel the entire cucumber or use the peeler to peel away strips, so the cucumber looks striped.

Directions
1. Cut cucumber into bite-sized pieces, which may require thirds or quarters, depending on its diameter. Place in a bowl.
2. Cut tomatoes in half and add to bowl; likewise with celery or fennel.
3. Toss all the veggies with your dressing. Place on an attractive serving plate and garnish with sprouts.
4. Serve soon after the salad is tossed. If not using right away, refrigerate without dressing and toss with dressing right before serving.
Serves 3 or 4.

+Fennel Dressing(Vegan)
Since I am using fennel elsewhere this month, I decided to use the feathery leaves for a dressing, but you can use the dressing of your choice. You can also use it on the veggies in the recipe below.

Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 organic lemon
fennel leaves (more or less to your taste)
1 T. fennel seeds
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Place all ingredients in blender ’til smooth. Pour into a small pitcher and add fennel seeds.


Fruity Holiday Salad for 2015


This recipe combines my increased interest in fennel and pomegranates, plus my ongoing love for avocados, which I always believed to be a healthy food and finally it has been acknowledged as such. All three can be part of your health-enhancing menus.

Utensils: Cutting board & knife, grapefruit knife, bowl for mixing, and serving platter or bowl.
Prep. Time: 15 min. (or 5 min. more if using a fresh pomegranate)
Cooking Time: None
Categories: Vegan, GF, No Sugar Added (NSA)

Ingredients

6-8 organic lettuce leaves (I mixed Romaine with red, curly leaf lettuce.)
1/4-1/2 c. pomegranate seeds (arils)
one fennel bulb, cut at end and one piece removed
one small avocado, pitted & peeled
one small lemon or lime
2-3 Tbl. avocado, almond, or sunflower oil (Olive is too strong)
seasoning of choice (I used 5-spice powder because it seems to
fit this fruity-like salad with its cinnamon, cloves, fennel, anise, etc.
1/4 c. slivered almonds
optional fronds of dill or fennel

Directions

1. Wash and dry lettuce and rip into small pieces. Place in bowl.
2. Remove seeds (arils) from cut pomegranate to equal about 1/4-1/2 cup. (I use a grapefruit knife.)
3.Cut the end of the fennel bulb so sections can be separated.  Slice the washed piece of fennel bulb very thinly and add to bowl.
4. Slice the peeled avocado into thin slices and add to bowl.
5. Add the slivered almonds and toss all the ingredients except (optional) fronds.
6. Add in the oil and the juice of one small lemon or lime and toss again. Finally, add your choice of seasonings, toss and place on a serving platter or bowl. Serve immediately once dressed, garnished with fronds, if using.

Variation: Feel free to use feta cheese cubes if not a vegan. Trader Joe’s makes a goat cheese log rolled in cranberries that is perfect for the holidays.

Happy, Healthy Holidays!


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