Salad for the Season

This week I could not bring myself to have my nutritious, spirulina, protein punch of a  morning smoothie… it was just too cold to swallow So, I had to make a warm breakfast smoothie (more on that in another post).

Living in the Northern hemisphere, Fall forces a change in the way I eat. Fresh salads of summer fade into the past, replaced by a need for warm, stick-to-your-ribs, as my Nana would say, stews, soups, chilli, roasts etc. As delicious and necessary as these types of meals are when cold weather hits, I find myself craving more fresh and raw.  But when the fresh local berry studded salads of summer are replaced with old flavourless imported berries – salads lose their life and the same luster can not be gained by eating it (and isn’t that the whole point of a salad anyway)?!

If this is reading as salad snobbery, it’s not. I’m merely dissecting why making salads becomes a dubious task for me this time of year. If it was prepared for me I would happily eat any kind of salad any day, really. Sometimes I fantasize about being a Kardashian just so I could walk around all day eating a crunchy salad out of a plastic takeaway container (if you watch the show you know they are always eating them…who makes them? where do they come from? resto? craft services? personal chef? I want to know all about this lavish salad life)!

Anyways! For salads to elbow their way to the front of the craving line in cold-weather I suggest an ingredients shift. With an emphasis on more seasonal ingredients and flavours, salads can not only rally their appeal but become effortless, crave-worthy accompaniments to autumnal dishes.

Here are some ingredient suggestions I’ve come up with:

Roast butternut squash, cubed

Roast delicata squash, sliced

Fennel

Kale

Micro-greens and sprouts (fun to grow your own)

Red Cabbage

Radish

Roasted  beets, carrots, and brussel sprouts

Raw grated beets, carrots and brussel sprouts

Carmelised onions and shallots

Toasted Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, hemp hearts

Toasted Nuts: pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts (if they weren’t so dear)

Goat cheese: flavours of cranberry, fig, or pumpkin are faves. Alternatively vegan cashew cheese (For PEI ppl: Faux-mage for sale at Riverview Country Market is great).

Fresh Fruit: Pears, Apples, Persimmons, Figs, Grapefruit, Blood Oranges…

Dried Fruit: cranberries, currants, prunes, apricots

Grain-based salads are also great for turning your salad from a side to a main (I like barley, oat groats, rye berries, amaranth and quinoa).

Dressing ingredients: I prefer fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (with “the mother”) to other vinegars, and use a little maple syrup or fig jam for sweeteners. Dijon and balsamic are also dressing flavours that work with the above ingredients.

What are your favourite salads for fall & winter?!

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