Last Days of Winter Salad

Yes. Winter may finally have left our little part of the world (I apologize now if I have just jinxed everyone here in the north). The snow is almost gone and we’re reaching temperatures above 0 degrees C – we may even get to the double-digits this week! Swoon! However, with spring comes the closing of the ferry on the river that intersects the one highway into our city. Which means we start to lack produce, then dry goods, and eventually you’re scouring the city for milk. While everyone else in the country starts to get excited about the spring fruit and vegetables found at farmer’s markets and grocery stores, we’re trading our unborn children for a loaf of bread. Okay – that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but after 4 weeks of this things start to get desperate.

This is why you have to have a plan. You need to be prepared with a well-stocked freezer and recipes to use up all those carrots, potatoes, and apples you have stowed away. I will admit that this year things aren’t looking as dicey as they used to. I’m seeing healthy asparagus and juicy looking strawberries at the stores; instead of picking up what looks like a healthy sweet pepper only to discover the underside is a big black mushy mass. Cue lost appetite and pizza-ordering time. But when the ferry first goes out, there always seems to be an initial scramble by the stores, so this year I was happy to have this recipe from Bon Appetit at my fingertips.

I absolutely love salads, and luckily so does Kyle. Don’t get me wrong, I usually need them to be paired with something substantial like grilled steak or roasted prawns. But every once in a while they can really shine as the star of the meal. This is definitely one of those salads. While there may be a little room for improvement (more salt? more lemon?), this salad has a lot of things going for it. Number one is the kohlrabi. I love the fresh crunch of kohlrabi – it’s such a perfect little snackable veggie. But I had never thought of putting it in a salad (quite obvious really, but just never made the simple connection). Number two is avocado. Just the mention of this silky, smooth fruit gets my heart racing. I’ve never met a dish, drink, or dessert I didn’t like when avocado’s involved. This salad gets a one-two kick of avocado: first from the avocado in the salad and then again from avocado oil in the dressing.

So, while most of you are enjoying your freshly sprouted peas and tart rhubarb, we will munch on salads like this – but please bookmark this one for next year, I promise you’ll enjoy it!

Winter Salad with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2011

The original recipe for this salad makes enough for 8 side servings and also calls for jicama to be added. We were making this for ourselves, so I halved the recipe and only dressed 1/2 the salad so we could have some with our lunches the next day. The only thing I didn’t half was the garlic – we love it, and I’m glad I didn’t. Like I mentioned before, I thought the dressing may have been a bit on the bland side, so next time I’ll be adding more lemon and/or salt to taste. Also, as it goes this time of year, jicama was no where to be found in the city. so it was left out with no replacement veggie. Okay – I lie. We replaced ours with extra avocado.

1/2 cup plain greek/balkan yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 Tbsp avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 cups romaine, chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup kohlrabi, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted & halved
1/4 cup radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, roasted

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Taste dressing to see if it needs more seasoning or lemon.

In a large bowl toss the lettuce through sunflower seeds together. Add the dressing, and use your hands (no one likes mushed-up avocado in their salad) to toss the salad, ensuring everything is lightly coated with the dressing.

Serves 4 as side dish.

We ate this with a turkey, pork, & beef meatloaf (this one to come…).



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