A LITTLE SEASONAL RANT!
Eating seasonally just makes sense. Produce in season costs less, has a higher nutritional content, is readily available and if I really listen to my body it is what I’m craving. So this might seem drastic to some but there are some foods I don’t buy out of season…..at all. Like I don’t buy strawberries and tomatoes in the winter and winter squash in the summer. By truly waiting till strawberries are in season, cheaper and actually taste good, I am letting my tastebuds get really excited for them. When strawberries are in season I eat a ton of them because I’ve missed them so much! It makes what I’m eating a treat that I don’t take for granted. Just so I don’t get busted by someone later, there are foods I buy year round. Things like lemons, avocados and lettuce. Where I live (Oregon) our truly local growing season is about 4 months long so I am at the mercy of our grocery stores and a few local CSA opportunities.
So since it’s winter, my salads look very different than they would in summer. Lots of roasted veggies, crunchy lettuces and winter fruits. My ideal salad always has a fruit, a cheese, a nut and an herb and I’m thinking about balance. They don’t always, remember the word was ideal. If my greens are bitter (endive, radicchio) than I want my fruit to be sweet ( pear, apple,grapes) and my cheese to be creamy (blue, brie). If my greens are sweet (butter, green leaf) than my fruit can be tart (orange, grapefruit, green apple) and my cheese can be salty/tangy ( Chèvre, cotija). A majority of my salads are dressed with a drizzle of really good olive oil and an acid like lemon or balsamic. And of course salt and pepper. When you put all the thought and effort into good ingredients you don’t need a lot from your dressing. Eating this salad with a thick dressing would cover all the flavors. One last thing, a lot of my salads have avocado. Mostly because I’m in love with all aspects of this fruit but also because it adds a richness, a creaminess to salads that make them feel more satisfying.
So this is a recent salad we had for dinner.
Roasted mushrooms, cauliflower, poblano peppers (I use these in place of green bell peppers every time. More flavor, spice and nutrition)
Chopped mixed baby greens and kales
Avocado, chèvre, and pomegranate.
Lemon, olive oil, S & P
Heat your oven to 425. Chop up the veggies for roasting into smallish bite sized pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a metal baking sheet, preferably a rimmed sheets pan. (More on this later!) Roast about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Look for caramelization. This golden brown color is pertinent! Let them cool a bit while you assemble the rest of the salad. Feel free to make twice as many veggies as you need so you have a jump on tomorrow nights dinner of roasted veggie pasta!
Every single one of these ingredients can be swapped out for what you have in your fridge or what you love.by