During the summer I eat salads daily. The hardest part seems to be choosing what yummy, fresh vegetables to add to my daily dose of greens. When the weather cools down and fresh produce becomes more scarce, I’m forced to get more creative with salads. I still like to have a variety of raw greens in my diet, but my preferences and options for toppings change.
When Nick and I picked up some Point Reyes Blue Cheese during our recent trip to the coast, I knew I wanted to make a salad. We had some baby greens and arugula growing in the garden, and I knew the greens would pair beautifully with the creamy cheese. I added some toasted walnuts for texture and the benefit of Omega 3′s and sliced up some crunchy apples for sweetness. Caramelized fennel added the perfect final touch. Topped with a whole grain mustard vinaigrette, this salad is full of seasonal, nutrient rich ingredients and totally hits the spot.
Many people add raw fennel (which tastes a bit like black licorice) to salads, but I like it cooked. Caramelizing fennel mellows the licorice flavor and brings out a subtle sweetness. Fennel is full of antioxidants, such as anethole, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and help prevent the occurrence of cancer. Fennel is also a good source of vitamin C, which helps neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
10 oz. mixed greens (I would suggest using half baby greens, half arugula)
2 bulbs fennel
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (Point Reyes Blue if you can get it!)
1 apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon white balsamic
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the greens, chopped apple and blue cheese in a large salad bowl. Whisk the balsamic, mustard and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the walnuts until fragrant and light brown, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Slice the fennel bulbs in half. Cut out the core out and thinly slice the fennel. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and saute, turning occasionally, until brown and caramelized. Add the minced garlic and cook one minute longer. Set aside and cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the fennel and walnuts to the large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing and serve.
Serves 5 as a side salad
After I left the farm stand in Bolinas with a bag full of bounty, all I could think about was roasted squash. I love how the natural sweetness of winter squash comes out after spending time in a hot oven. The crispy, caramelized outsides complement the sweet, soft inside perfectly.
I wanted to make something that screamed fall – a recipe that would bring together the flavors and colors of the season. Also, with Thanksgiving looming in the near future, my thoughts went to a vegetarian main dish that would please the omnivores as well. Serving the squash over the wild rice creates a prefect entree, but the squash could also be chopped up and tossed with the rice for an easy side dish.
This dish is chock full of all things good. Both the delicata squash and the pomegranate seeds are full of antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and C. Wild rice is a whole grain that is actually not related to Asian rice and is high in protein, fiber, manganese and B vitamins. Pecans are a rich source of healthy fats as well as Vitamin E and B complex vitamins. This is a great holiday season meal that will leave you feeling energized.
1/2 cup pecans
1 large red onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 delicata squash
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 cup wild rice
2 1/3 cup water
crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons white balsamic
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and black pepper to taste
- Combine the wild rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the onions and squash. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Chop the onion into a large dice, place in 8 x 8 roasting pan, and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set aside. Slice the squash into 1/2 inch thick rings. Using a butter knife or the back end of a spoon, scrape the guts of the squash from each ring. Delicata squash does not need to be peeled. Toss the squash with the chopped sage and rosemary, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the squash in one layer on a cookie sheet. Roast the squash and onions in the oven for 25 minutes. At this point, remove the onions and flip the squash over. Continue to cook squash for another 10-15 minutes, until browned.
- While the squash is roasting, toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and chop. Set aside.
- Whisk the white balsamic, maple syrup and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil together in a small bowl. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper to taste.
- To assemble the dish: Toss the pomegranate seeds, chopped pecans, wild rice, parsley and dressing together. Top with the roasted squash. Enjoy!
Serves four as a main dish.