Winter produce holds a special place in my heart. It’s true, we may not have juicy, ripe tomatoes, or the sweet, summer berries that warmer weather affords us, but thanks to cool-weather crops like citrus and pomegranate, winter foods don’t always have to weigh you down.
Like many after-holidays online-junkies, I spent an evening with Pinterest and browsed the health and fitness pages to find recipes and workout ideas to lose the turkey weight. After several “Eat only this for 2 weeks and lose 10 lbs!” impossible posts, I stumbled across something that intrigued me: Warm salads.
Now, I’ve never been a salad person. I’ll eat them if it comes with the meal, but never in a million years would I consider it a meal in itself. The ideas before me weren’t your everyday cobb and ceasar salads; they had names like “Super-Food Salad with Black Rice” and “Roasted Curried Carrot Salad” These were salads I could get behind, especially in the wake of the Polar Vortex. Finally, something warm and comforting, but most importantly, healthy.
We recently got our CSA box, so I took stock of my pantry and newly acquired veg to come up with a warm salad of my own.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad
This was an easy recipe to do both vegan and gluten-free (just substitute sorghum) and it was immensely satisfying after weeks of over-indulgence. It takes advantage of winter produce and gives healthy, whole-grains a starring role. It was exactly what I needed, and bonus, if traditional cold salads are more your thing, this is really great the next day at work, no heating required.
1/2 cup hard wheat berries (or sorghum for GF)
2 cups water
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 lb Brussels sprouts
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1/3 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
zest from 1/2 an orange
For the dressing:
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
Begin by bringing the wheat, water, and tablespoon of salt to a gentle boil in a small pot. Once at a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until al dente, about 45 minutes. If you’re going gluten-free, simmer the sorghum for about 30 minutes, testing as you go in the last ten minutes or so of cooking.
While the grains are going, pre-heat the oven to 425. Slice the stems off the Brussels sprouts and cut into quarters, removing any dirty or yellowed leaves. Place in a 9×13 pan and pour the melted coconut oil over the sprouts. Toss with a wooden spoon to coat and sprinkle with a little kosher salt to taste.
Roast for about 15-20 minutes, tossing with a wooden spoon about halfway through, until soft and nicely browned.
While the sprouts are roasting and the grains are simmering,this is the time to peel the pomegranate. If you bought a container of arils all ready to go, you can happily skip this step and move on to chopping the hazelnuts.
Give them a very rough chop, and dry toast them in a saute pan until golden.
Once the grains are soft and the Brussels sprouts golden, it’s time to assemble. Add all but the dressing ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine.
Right before serving, shake together the dressing ingredients and pour over each plate.
I love the toasted, nutty taste of this so-called salad, and the different textures at play worked well together. If you’re saving this for tomorrow, go ahead and shake together the dressing ingredients, pour over the whole salad and toss it a bit before putting it in your favorite storage container for lunch. Unlike other day-before salads, you don’t have to worry about this one getting soggy on you!
Today’s post marks my return to regular updates, so barring any unforseen circumstances that might prevent me from doing so, I will see you all next week!