Orange and walnut salad to beat the winter blues (Recipe, vegan, plant based, gluten free)
It had rained for a few days last spring when I dug a hole in my back yard and carried the soil back to my porch. There I carefully filled several egg cartons and starter pots. I tucked tiny seeds into the soil so that they could grow. The soil was moist and rough in my hands. Dirt found its way under my finger nails. My eyes were straining trying to make sure that I had covered the seeds.
I watered them and watched them diligently. I even separated them when I found out I had planted too many in each pot, each sprout tiny and green and beautiful. After a few weeks, I planted them in my garden and they shot up into these gorgeous bouquets of green. Sometimes they would catch the sun at just the right moment, they seemed to glisten.
Growing food makes you appreciate where your food comes from.
I began to understand the struggles a farmer can go through to bring in a successful crop. It was terrifying going to sleep at night knowing that there was a cold snap on the way. I wondered what I would wake up to in the morning.
But at the end of the day it's so rewarding knowing that what's on your plate you grew yourself.
Unfortunately, as it's winter and I don’t have the equipment necessary to grow food in the cold. As such, I am dependent on organic farmers for my greens. Learning about the e-coli contaminated lettuce from California had me frustrated. Without romaine a lot of people, vegans and non vegans alike are unsure what to put in their salad bowls.
But there is hope, luckily Romaine isn’t the only lettuce or green that can grace your salad bowl. Most greens can even be better for you than Romaine. There are greens like spinach, kale, frisee and arugula. Then there are all kinds of herbs and veggies like cabbage and carrots that can also make a delicious salad.
Contaminated lettuce aside these dark days of winter can begin to takes it's toll. The bright flavor and acidity from the orange will help remind you of warmer days. Beat the winter blues and fill your empty salad bowl with a few simple ingredients that will make you smile.
Salad for the winter blues with grapefruit vinaigrette
½ C baby spinach
½ C baby kale
½ C of your choice of green (I recommend arugula or I used Trader Joe’s Power to the Greens blend)
½ orange, peeled and sliced (can substitute ¼ C mandarin oranges)
¼ C walnuts Toasted
¼ C Kalamata olives
2-3 Tbsp of grapefruit vinaigrette
Juice of 1 grapefruit*
Zest of ½ grapefruit
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
1/3 C olive oil
For the Vinaigrette
1. If you want to do this the old fashioned way place the grapefruit juice, salt and mustard in a bowl that is big enough to hold all of the ingredients. Begin to whisk until combined.
2. Continue whisking constantly as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil to make your emulsion. Do not stop whisking until all of the oil is in and the vinaigrette looks homogenous.
3. If you would like to do this in a more modern way put all ingredients into a blender and blend until homogenous.
4. Store in the fridge and use within a week. This recipe makes about 1/2 -3/4 C
For the Salad
1. To toast the walnuts place them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 3 to 5 minutes at 350 F, check them often. Nuts can burn very easily. Cool.
2. Place all of the salad ingredients in a bowl except for the vinaigrette
3. Toss the salad in the vinaigrette and serve immediately
*Feel free to substitute oranges if needed, just use the juice of two oranges instead of one grapefruit. Use the zest of a whole orange as well instead of the grapefruit zest.