Salads get a bit of a bad rap as a “diet food”. Ugh. I don’t even like the word “diet” and I really like salads. They’re a great compliment to so many foods and can even be a wonderful meal on their own.
The salad that I’m talking about here is a veggie filled chopped salad that could fit into both categories. It would be fabulous paired with a stir fry, some roasted chicken, or a big bowl of chili. But, add some crispy tofu or chicken to it and it turns into the main dish.
I love a salad with lots of great crunch. It can come in the form of great raw veggies, seeds, and one of my favorites: nuts. For this salad, I chopped up some raw walnuts from my in-laws’ tree. I toasted them on the stove top for a few minutes, then tossed them with some spices.
For this wintery salad, I thought a great honey-mustard dressing would be the perfect compliment. It’s a simple mixture of honey and mustard, of course (if you don’t do honey, try some maple syrup), along with some fresh squeezed orange juice, rice vinegar, and olive oil. I love creamy slaws and salads, but sometimes I want something a little bit lighter. This was perfect.
I used what I had on hand for the rest of the salad: broccoli, greens, cabbage, radish, shallot, and chopped orange. You could totally substitute with carrots, cauliflower, and red onions. You could use leeks and any kinda greens that you think would taste good (like bok choy, spinach, kale, mizuna…). It’s kinda like a cross between a chopped salad and an awesome coleslaw. Call it what you like, as long as you call it…
- 1 1/2 C raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, pinenuts), chopped
- pinch cayenne
- to taste salt
- 2 C greens (kale, chard, spinach, mizuna), chopped
- 1 C cabbage, shredded
- 1 C broccoli or cauliflower, finely chopped
- 1 C radish or carrot, grated
- 1/4 C shallot, leek, or red onion, minced
- 2 C orange, chopped (drained in a strainer to catch excess juice for dressing)
- 4 t dijon mustard
- 2 t honey (or maple syrup)
- to taste salt
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 1/4 C orange juice
- 6 T olive oil
- Heat a dry skillet. Add nuts and toast for 3 minutes over medium-low, turning often. Toss with cayenne and salt and set aside.
- (If using kale, massage with a bit of salt and some olive oil, using hands, for 3-5 minutes.) Toss greens through shallot.
- Whisk dijon through rice vinegar, add orange juice that's drained from chopped orange and top up to make 1/4 C. While whisking, stream in olive oil to create an emulsion. Taste for seasoning.
- Toss veggies with oranges and dressing. Top with nuts.