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Hearty winter salads. January 5, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading, recipes.
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Silence Dogood here. In winter, I always enjoy heartier salads most—ones with lots of body and flavor. They seem to hold their own against the cold. And of course, they’re even better when they’re made with long-keeping winter staples like apples and beets. Here are two great salads that are favorites of my friends Delilah (Lentil-Apple Salad) and Lynn (Syrian Beet Salad). Enjoy them!

         Lentil-Apple Salad

Cook 5 ounces of French lentils (the larger lentils get mushy) according to package directions, and allow to cool to room temperature. (Delilah prefers to use half lentils and half brown rice, and cooks the whole lot in her rice cooker.)

For the dressing, mix together:

1-2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice (to taste)

2 tablespoons white wine (or white wine vinegar if you like it sour)

1/4 cup olive oil

dash cayenne pepper, to taste

Shred one tart apple (such as Granny Smith) and toss immediately in the dressing to keep it from browning. Add the cooked lentils and 4 chopped green onions (scallions), tossing again to coat everything with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss a final time to distribute seasonings. Mound servings on fresh greens and sprinkle with pine nuts or slivered almonds. Serves four.

            Syrian Beet Salad

3 large raw beets or 2 cups cooked beets

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or basil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 fresh hot pepper, seeded and minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

If cooking raw beets, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Peel beets and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Place cubes in boiling water, lower to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain beets and transfer to serving bowl.

If using leftover cooked or canned beets, cut in 1/2-inch cubes and reheat until warmed through.

Mix rest of ingredients together and pour over beets. Toss well. Serve warm. [I estimate that this recipe would serve 2-4, depending on your fondness for beets!—Silence]

You might ask yourself what you’d serve a warm beet salad with. Well, I think I’d treat it as a side dish and serve it up on the dinner plate with your other veggies and main course. I think rice or a baked potato or baked sweet potato and spinach would go well with this, and so would—dare I say it?—Delilah’s Lentil-Apple Salad. Yum! For lunch, you could mound the salad on a bed of hearty greens (such as arugula, radicchio, endive, fennel tops, Romaine, and chopped scallions) and top it with crumbled feta. Add a crusty baguette and a bottle of red wine and you have a meal!

          ‘Til next time,

                    Silence

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Comments»

1. Victoria - January 5, 2010

Now you’re just making me hungry!

Ha! I got hungry writing this post, too!

2. Jen - January 5, 2010

Oh, yum! After the excess of the holidays, it’s nice to have ideas for some lighter and healthier dishes. I have some red and yellow lentils that are used in east Indian cooking – are those the same as French?

French lentils are tiny (the size of a glass pin head), roundish, and dark green, Jen. I can find them at the wonderful Echo Hill Country Store outside of nearby Fleetwood, which carries a vast selection of dried legumes (not to mention every other good thing under the sun). If you want to try this with the lentils you have, I’d use the orange (red) ones, since I suspect that the yellow, like the regular brown lentils, would get mushy. (Though I have a sneaking suspicion that if you just used regular brown lentils and sauteed them briefly in oil before cooking, kept an eye on them to make sure you took them off the heat the second they were cooked through, and perhaps rinsed them in cold water to stop the cooking process, they’d work well in this, too.) Let me know what you do and what you think!


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