Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter Salads with Kick

(Yes...I did take this picture of a salad in a fresh Barrhaven snowbank--the perfect salad chiller!)
As you cruise past the magazine racks at your local grocery store you suddenly begin to stare and salivate. Perhaps you spotted soccer stud-muffin David Beckham or Mrs. Posh gazing out at you with a pound of desire or yet another magazine advertising comfort foods with juicy photos of saucy dishes—sure to bulge the belly! You want to bring one home—a magazine—that is, but what about that New Year’s resolution to eat salad and exercise every day so you can slip—rather than cram—yourself into something a little more comfortable. Like that little black dress or spandex tux for your niece’s wedding next June?

Finding a line-up of fresh, lively ingredients for salads during mid-winter however is no easy feat. So, try a new game and give your salads a kick to keep you scoring on the right side of the scales. Add a few untried players from the back-bencher grocery aisles to your field of greens; fennel bulbs, mung beans, hearts of palm, walnuts, mandarins, cranberries, or roasted parsnips. Other options might include nuts, grains like bulgar or couscous, sharp cheese like Swiss or Stilton or other proteins such as sliced hard-boiled eggs, diced tofu or cottage cheese. Try these winter salad recipes to stay on top of your game and eat like Mr. and Mrs. do at Beckingham Palace!

Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing
Serves 12
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp diced onion
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 apple cored, thinly sliced
1 pear cored, thinly sliced
In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Process until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream (or whisk in) until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds, and process just a few seconds more to mix. In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce and dressing, then cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, apple, and pear. Serve immediately.

Apple yogurt salad
Makes 4 cups
¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 tbsp orange or mango juice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 apples, chopped bite-size
2 Clementine tangerines, peeled, sections cut in thirds
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
Mix the yogurt, orange juice and cinnamon in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the apple, then the more delicate tangerines and mint. Serve immediately.

Winter Vegetable Salad
Serves 6-8
1/2 lb parsnips, cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) chunks
1/2 lb carrots, cut into 1/2 inch (2 cm) chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced
3/4 cup frozen peas
½ small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp chili sauce
pinch salt
Steam parsnips and carrots over boiling water until tender-crisp. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pour hot water over peas, just to thaw; drain well. In a medium bowl, combine parsnips, carrots, celery, peas, red onion and raisins. For dressing: Combine yogurt, vinegar, chili sauce, and salt. Pour dressing over vegetables; mix until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. From:

Couscous Date Salad
Serves 4
198 g Package of Couscous with fruit and nuts
(or plain couscous and add your own chopped dried fruit and nuts)
2 cups chopped unpeeled English cucumber
½ cup pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup raspberry vinaigrette
Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous. Stir. Return to boil. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Transfer to a large bowl. Chill uncovered for 30 minutes. Add cucumber and dates. Toss. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss well. Makes 5 cups. Serves 6.

Mung Beans Salad
Serves 6
Mung beans are very nutritious, protein and fibre full.
2 cups whole mung beans (at the Bulk Barn)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp garlic, mashed
1 tsp chopped hot pepper
2 tbsp shredded coconut
Salt to taste
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Soak whole mung beans overnight. Drain and put to simmer on very slow heat, until buttery soft. Add the dressing to the hot beans, and serve immediately with Naan or pita bread.

Colorful Bean Salad
Serves 6
2 cups dried beans, soaked overnight
½ cup chopped roasted red pepper (bottled is fine)
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 small can (398ml) Hearts of Palm, sliced
½ cup sliced purple onion
½ cup celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
¼ cup vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Watercress or salad greens of your choice. Rinse beans and cook in 6 cups of water until just tender, about an hour. Drain and add all other ingredients. Mix well, and let flavors blend for at least one hour. Serve at room temperature, on a bed of greens.

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