Keeping my New Year’s resolution to try and eat salad once in a while…
I started growing some baby kale in the sun room a few weeks ago, and this week I’ll be planting a bit of lettuce, swiss chard, mache and arugula. It’s not much, one small window box of each for now, but somehow it’s just enough to satisfy my gardening needs until the spring gardening season comes around.
Which got me thinking about how I utilize what I grow indoors. Typically the greens wind up in soups, stir fries or sandwiches, but I rarely seem to use them to make salads. To be honest with you, I’m typically not a huge salad fan. Maybe it’s the oil based dressings. Or the icky taste of under ripe, out of season tomato slices. Or the raw, shredded carrots that I’m horribly allergic to that often seek refuge in the iceburg lettuce chunks in restaurant side salads. It’s hard to find the allure in eating cold, slimy food that might also send me inadvertently racing for my epi pen.
But last week blackberries were on sale and I had a big bag of arugula in the fridge at home. Two days later, after much trial and error and tinkering, my family was snarfing down the new salad creation! To my surprise, all the kids liked the dressing and one of them even ate the arugula! They also thought that the pink salad dressing was festive and fun. The garlic croutons were probably the biggest hit though, because well, who doesn’t like carbs? And carbs combined with butter and garlic are even better.
The peppery bite of the arugula is tempered by the sweet, creamy blackberry dill dressing and the nuts add a nice bit of crunch. All the colors make the salad visually appealing, too. It’s like eating a healthy rainbow.
On a final note, be sure to use unsweetened coconut yogurt, not sweetened. And use real maple syrup, not table syrup or that corn syrup laden stuff in a plastic bottle passing itself off as maple syrup. It just won’t give you the same flavor as the real deal.
Salad Dressing Directions:
- 1/4 Cup of Unsweetened Coconut based Yogurt (I used So Delicious Brand)
- 1/4 Tsp of Vanilla
- 1 Tbs of Maple Syrup (use real maple syrup!)
- 3 Blackberries
- 1/2 Tsp Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 1/2 Tsp Fresh dill, Chopped
- 1/8 Tsp of Salt
- 1/8 Cup Cranberry Raisins
Combine all of the salad dressing ingredients into a blender, processor or food chopper and blend until smooth. You’ll probably wind up with some cranberry raisins that don’t blend. No big deal, they’re still delicious and will give your salad some texture.
Crouton How To:
- Four to Five Slices Cut From a Fresh Loaf of Italian Bread cut into cubes
- A Dollop of Earth Balance Butter (about a tablespoon or so)
- A Large Pinch of Garlic Powder
- A Pinch of Sea Salt
Melt your butter in a fry pan over medium heat and add in the garlic powder and sea salt. Once the pan is nice and hot and all of the butter has melted, slowly add your cubed Italian bread into the pan. Mix them up to ensure that they are all evenly coated with the butter and garlic mix. Allow them to brown slightly then give them a gentle flip or stir so that the other side gets browned as well. Remove them from heat after a few minutes.
- Salad Ingredients:
- A Bag of Pre-washed Arugula
- A pint of Fresh Blackberries
- A Large Handful of Shelled, Unsalted Pistachios (optional, but recommended)
- 1 Small red onion, sliced thin
- A Handful of Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
Grab four salad plates and fill them with arugula. Add equal amounts of cherry tomato halves to each plate, along with some red onion slices and blackberries. Toss a couple of unsalted pistachios on top if desired. Garnish with the garlic croutons and drizzle with the Blackberry Dill dressing. Or serve the dressing on the side if you’d prefer.