In The Mood For Salad?

I am. It’s been a long, pretend winter this year, and Everyday Chefs all over may want to break up the soup schedule with some interesting new flavors. And, it’s great timing. Word around town is that greens have resurfaced at the weekly farmers’ market.

This healthy winter salad is the perfect way to marry basement butternut squash with these lovely green gems from the market.

Butternut Squash and Smoky Black Bean Salad Adapted from Cooking Light

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 7 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 bag of winter greens
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Combine squash and 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Arrange squash on baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until tender.

3. Arrange walnuts on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt over nuts; toss. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring a couple of times.  Watch them carefully–toasted becomes burnt rather quickly.

4. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, paprika and oregano in a bowl; stir with a whisk.

5. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add squash, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, pepper, and beans; cook 3 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in 3 tablespoons dressing; toss to coat.

6. Combine remaining dressing and arugula; toss to coat. Divide arugula mixture evenly among 4 plates; top with bean mixture. Sprinkle evenly with nuts and cheese.

Rhubarb… Salad?

Yes!  Spring’s queen of tartness can be eaten in a main course.  Though Everyday Chef loves sweet and tart rhubarb desserts, we also love to explore new flavors–this Roasted Beet and Rhubarb Salad recipe from the Domestic Diva is surprisingly fresh and flavorful.

Roasted Beet and Rhubarb Salad with Orange Tarragon Dressing The Domestic Diva

 

For the dressing: 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 orange, zested and juiced 1 tbsp tarragon, chopped finely 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar 1 pinch of nutmeg 1 tsp Dijon mustard ½ cup grapeseed, canola, or olive oil

salt and white pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients except oil in blender or food processor and pulse.  Slowly add oil, until dressing is thick. OR, place all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid and shake vigorously.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

For the salad: 1-2 lbs of beets. (red, chioggia or yellow) olive oil salt and pepper 1 pound rhubarb 1 cup of sugar in 2 quarts of boiling water

1 lb of your favorite spring greens:  arugula, spinach, mesclun mix, baby beet greens, etc.

Wash rhubarb and cut into small bite size bites. Wash beets, toss in oil with salt and pepper, wrap in aluminum foil and place in 400 degree oven until tender.  Remove from oven, allow to cool, and rub off skins. Slice beets into bite-size quarters and place in a bowl.  Place rhubarb in boiling water just long enough for rhubarb to become slightly tender—not mushy!  Add to beets.

Place greens in a bowl and toss with just enough dressing to coat.  Pour out on a platter and sprinkle warm rhubarb and beet mixture over the top and serve. Beets and rhubarb should be warm when placed on the greens.   Feta, blue cheese, and slivered almonds make wonderful additions.

Root Salad

After doing quite a bit of research, I came  across a website that is extremely helpful for farm to school programs and healthy food tasting.  I recommend visiting Washington State’s Farm to School website and checking out their “Washington Grown Food Kit,” where you will find a number of links to vegetable and fruit nutrition and education facts, as well as recipes that are often split into appropriateness for schools, seniors, and child care.  This is where I found this mouth-watering root salad recipe that is perfect for preparing in the classroom or in your home kitchen. This recipe is adapted for a classroom size of 25! Each student would be able to try a 1/4 cup.

Ingredients: 1 pound Parsnips 1/2 pound Carrots 6 oz Beets 1 tbs Grated ginger 3 tbs Honey 3 tbs Fresh lemon juice 3 tbs Fresh orange juice 6 tbs Olive oil

Begin by cleaning and grating all vegetables and set aside.  Then, mix in the ginger, honey, fresh juices, and olive oil.  Combine the veggies into the homemade dressing and mix well.  Let stand for about one hour so that the vegetables can marinate.  Then serve and enjoy!

Pretty easy, huh?  – And a perfect recipe to do with students of all ages – knives aren’t necessary except to initially cut through the fruit (which an adult can surly handle before the salad preparation begins).  Also, using peelers to create ribbons of vegetables instead of graters can be a fun and safe way to get kids involved in the cooking. Adding raisins, cilantro, parsley, and/or scallions are other interesting and delicious variations to this recipe.

Happy Wednesday and remember to eat lots of vegetables !

Turnip and Apple Salad

Raw fruits and vegetables are not just tasty – they also contain all of the natural enzymes and nutrients that are partially taken out when they are cooked.  Eating more raw foods in your diet will increase your energy levels, let you sleep better, and increase mental clarity.  – And  the best thing about eating a lot of raw foods? You can eat as much of them as you want!

Preparing raw food is also usually much quicker and easier than cooking something else. Next time you’re looking for a snack or something light and yummy to add to your meal, try this raw turnip and apple salad.  Yes, root veggies are great raw, too!

Ingredients 1/2 raw turnip grated 2 large green apples grated Fresh parsley chopped Juice of 1/2 lemon Salt & pepper to taste

Chop/grate it all up, mix it in a bowl, and you’re ready to eat!

Feel free to experiment with chopped apples and turnips versus grated.  Texture can often determine your favorite and least favorite dishes.

Buttermilk Basil Dressing

Thanks to the Domestic Diva for sharing this amazing dressing with us!

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 sour cream
  • 2+ tbsp finely chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine using any of the following options:

  • Super simple (for small quantities):  put all ingredients in a mug, and agitate in a circular motion with a fork.
  • Still pretty simple: put all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid (like a canning jar), tighten the lid, and shake like the dickens–fun job for kiddos.
  • Simple:  put all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously.
  • Not-so-simple, but still fun (good for larger quantities):  Pull out your food processor or (the Diva’s favorite) Magic Bullet, add solid ingredients first (like garlic or ginger) and pulse until everything is minced.  Then all other non-oil ingredients (vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, etc), and then, while the processor is still on, add the oil slowly.  Voila.  You’ll have a tasty and emulsified dressing.

If you’re making a big batch, leftovers can be kept in a sealed jar in your refrigerator for up to five days.

Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine using any of the following options:

  • Super simple (for small quantities):  put all ingredients in a mug, and agitate in a circular motion with a fork.
  • Still pretty simple: put all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid (like a canning jar), tighten the lid, and shake like the dickens–fun job for kiddos.
  • Simple:  put all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously.
  • Not-so-simple, but still fun (good for larger quantities):  Pull out your food processor or (the Diva’s favorite) Magic Bullet, add solid ingredients first (like garlic or ginger) and pulse until everything is minced.  Then all other non-oil ingredients (vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, etc), and then, while the processor is still on, add the oil slowly.  Voila.  You’ll have a tasty and emulsified dressing.

If you’re making a big batch, leftovers can be kept in a sealed jar in your refrigerator for up to five days.

Homemade Dressing: How?

So you’re convinced that making your own homemade dressing is at least worth a shot. Here’s the how-to that will help you to take this theory and put it into practice. Where to start? Unless you’re already well-acquainted with different oils and vinegars, it is helpful to start with a recipe.  Check out our Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette and the Domestic Diva’s Buttermilk Basil Dressing, and then check out the considerations for combining below.

5 Basic Elements of salad dressing for Everyday Chef.

  1. Oil:  Use a good quality olive oil or neutral-tasting alternative like canola, grapeseed or safflower. Combined with a bit of sesame oil or nut oil, you’ve got an dressing you won’t find in the store.  How much oil do you need? Traditionally, the oil to acid ratio is 3 to 1, but I prefer an equal 1 to 1 mix.
  2. Acid: The go-to vinegars are balsamic, red wine and rice vinegar. Want a change of pace? Try champagne or sherry vinegar.  You can also substitute some or all of the vinegar with freshly squeezed lemon juice. A splash of lime juice goes well with citrus-based salads.
  3. Sweet: To take the edge off the acid, add a touch of sweetness. Ordinary white sugar will do, but you’ll add more flavour with honey, maple syrup, apple juice, or even jam.
  4. Salt: A generous pinch or two is usually enough.  If you’re desired dressing is Asian-inspired, opt for Tamari (a slightly more refined soy sauce) instead of salt.  The Domestic Diva recommends kosher salt and sea salt.
  5. Aromatics: Minced fresh herbs, shallots, citrus rind, black pepper and/or garlic aren’t mandatory but add flavor. Common salad herbs include basil, thyme, tarragon, cilantro, mint, parsley and dill. Mix and match as you please.

How to combine it all?

You have several great options for combining your dressing accommodates any kitchen set-up or budget.  The following list details options from simple to complex:

  • Super simple (for small quantities):  put all ingredients in a mug, and agitate in a circular motion with a fork.
  • Still pretty simple: put all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid (like a canning jar), tighten the lid, and shake like the dickens–fun job for kiddos.
  • Simple:  put all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously.
  • Not-so-simple, but still fun (good for larger quantities):  Pull out your food processor or (the Diva’s favorite) Magic Bullet, add solid ingredients first (like garlic or ginger) and pulse until everything is minced.  Then all other non-oil ingredients (vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, etc), and then, while the processor is still on, add the oil slowly.  Voila.  You’ll have a tasty and emulsified dressing.

If you’re making a big batch, leftovers can be kept in a sealed jar in your refrigerator for up to five days.

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