Ingredients For Delicious Winter Salads

An younf woman eating a warm winter saladFood crops harvested in winter months with the use of hoop houses or hot houses (such as used in California, USA) and other methods that extend the natural growing season, and old-fashioned storage vegetables like cabbages and potatoes all mean that there are plenty of winter produce to choose from.

What winter produce that is available, is sufficient to enjoy delicious winter salads along with great homemade dressings and vinaigrette’s.

The different crops available in the winter months include among others:

Beets: Available in season from fall through spring in temperate climates, and those available during the summer months, are from storage.

Belgian Endive: This leafy green is forced to produce under artificial conditions, making them available year round. Their traditional season, as with all chicories, is late fall through winter.

When grown in open fields they are covered with sand for about 6 months to keep out the light. When grown in hot houses they are placed in darkness for 6 months before shipping to market for purchase.

Read more here about the endive (includes a recipe with video): Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken

Broccoli: This and all other cruciferous vegetables can be grown year-round in temperate climates, but broccoli tastes best when harvested in the cooler temperatures of fall in most climates.

salad plate with Warm Winter Salad with Apples Spinach Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Warm Winter Salad with Apples Spinach Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Brussels sprouts: These vegetables are part of the cabbage family.  They grow on stalks, and they last somewhat longer than when sold packaged or removed from their stalks.

Cabbage: This vegetable is crispy when raw with bitter flavor, though it mellows and sweetens the longer it’s cooked.

Sweet Potatoes: This root vegetable is often referred too or interchangeable with yams. The two vegetables are different though.

Most yams in the USA are sweet potatoes. Yams are dry and starchy, and grown mainly in Africa and Asia. They can weigh up too 100 pounds.

Sweet potatoes store very well and are available year round in warmer areas. Though their season is from late summer through winter.

Other vegetables available in fall to winter months include, radicchio, radishes, turnips, winter squash, rutabagas, parsnips, chard, collard greens, cress, spinach, kale, carrots, leeks, fennel, and celery among others.

There are also a verity of fruits in season during the winter months that you can enjoy in fruit salads, or as a snack. To view the available in season winter fruits link here: Fruits Info – Seasonal Fruits.

Salads To Enjoy In The Winter Months

Chilly temperatures, and dark winter days are traditionally suited to cheese, meat, and vegetable casseroles, including pastas. A salad filled with raw vegetables may not seem appealing in the cold winter.

But what if you could prepare a warm winter salad, like this one – Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts. This recipe is offered by a professional chef, author, recipe developer, educator and certified health coach at A Food Centric Life.

THE RECIPE

Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

1 large bunch of organic kale (Tuscan, Lacinato or Dinosaur)

a white salad plate with Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

Image Credit: A Food Centric Life

1 large shallot

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

Handful of dried cranberries

Small handful of chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar (suggestion: infused balsamic fruit flavored variety like dark cherry)

Salt and pepper, to season

Bring a large pot (5 quart/liter) of water to a boil while you are trimming the kale leaves and slicing the shallot. Trim the ribs out of the center of the kale leaves, and then cut the leaves crosswise into ribbons. Slice the peeled shallot crosswise into thin rings.

When water boils, add 2 teaspoons salt, then drop the kale leaves into the water and cook for 2 minutes (called blanching). Drain well through a sieve and place kale on a clean kitchen towel. Alternatively you can steam your kale for 2-3 minutes, and then proceed with the recipe.

In a medium sauté or fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat until warm. Add the shallot rings, then the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring until softened. Be careful not to let them burn. Add the cranberries, walnuts, and vinegar. Stir and cook for a minute, then add the cooked kale. Toss the kale ribbons to coat and warm, season up with salt and pepper, and then serve.

Make this a even more warm winter salad by either serving the warm salad as a side dish with roasted chicken, as Sally the author of “A Food Centric Life” explains, or as a foundation for roasted salmon. She also suggests placing the warm salad over a bed of quinoa for a vegetarian or vegan entree.

Sally says you can use a fruit flavored infused balsamic vinegar like dark cherry or fig when making the vinaigrette.

Another great warm winter salad you can enjoy is: Sweet Potato, Kale and Shrimp Skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil

salad plate with Sweet Potato, Kale and Shrimp Skillet½ cup onion, diced

Red pepper flakes, to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups sweet potatoes, diced

2 cups fresh shrimp

3 cups trimmed and coarsely chopped kale leaves

Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a a ceramic coated cast iron pan over medium heat, add olive oil.

Next add onions and red pepper flakes, and saute until onions are soft and browned.

Next add garlic and cook about 30 seconds more.

Next add sweet potato and cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes. If necessary add a 2 or 3 tablespoons of water to help cook the sweet potato.

Next add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they are pink in color.

Turn heat to low and add kale, stirring in until wilted.

Season to taste with salt and pepper (optional).

Plate and serve.

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Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

Just because the weather is cold shouldn’t keep you from enjoying in season fresh produce. Nature gives us a collection of its best winter vegetables that have proven to be flavorful. Winter root vegetables can contribute an interdependent, sweet flavor to a hearty winter soup recipe, like carrots, or sweet potatoes.

Roasting most winter vegetables brings out their best flavors. Even using complementary herbs and spices helps add some extra exceptional tastes.

Available In Season Winter Vegetables

Brussels sproutsAlthough Brussels sprouts are available year-round, their peak season is from September to February.

When looking to purchase them, remember to look for small firm sprouts with compact bright-green heads, and the smaller the head the sweeter the taste. Roasting Brussels sprouts lightly caramelizes their edges but keeps them tender inside.

To view a few recipes using Brussels sprouts one of the following links:

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon – includes a video

Warm Brussels sprouts and Dilled Potato Salad –  includes a video

Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel

At All Recipes (allrecipes.com) they call Broccoli the star vegetable in stir-fries, soups, salads, and casseroles. Broccoli can be purchased year round. But when in season, as a winter vegetable when roasted retains its entire flavor and even gains deliciously crisp bits when.

preparing broccoli to eatWhen asked the question – How Do You Describe Broccoli? – to a community of online people at answers.com, one member answered saying, “Broccoli is good chopped into small pieces or cut into larger piece and cooked until tender.

It’s delicious to eat as it is when cooked naturally and also in recipes. The popular dish, broccoli and cheese is made with cooked, tender broccoli before draining and stirring in cheese until it melts and mixes in with the broccoli. You can also make cheese sauces, which you serve, poured over the broccoli on a plate. Either way it is cooked or served, broccoli is a favorite among vegetables and nutritionally powerful” (Answers).

To view a recipe using broccoli click here: Baked Garlic and Broccoli

The Sweet Potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the Convolvulaceae family. This species of plants are known commonly as the bindweed or morning glory family, which has more than 1,650 species of mostly herbaceous vines, but also trees, shrubs and herbs.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn SaladThe sweet potato is a starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root. There are about 1,000 species of sweet potatoes, with some varieties sold at market for food, while others are not for consumption, as they are poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the common potato, though it is not part the nightshade family.

The website – “The Worlds Healthiest Foods” – has this to say about sweet potatoes when preparing to eat them, “It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable.

Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat can be very easy to include.

In our Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe, for example, we include 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and with just this one tablespoon, each of our 4 servings for this delicious recipe provides 3.5 grams of fat (whfoods).

To view a few recipes using sweet potatoes click one of the following links:

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips

KaleKale is considered to be the most robust of the cabbage family. Its high nutritional worth and intense flavor make kale an exceptional addition too many vegetable recipes. At Mind Body Green, Alison Lewis makes note of kale as “the new beef,” “the queen of greens,” and “a nutritional powerhouse”(MBG).

To view a few recipes using kale click one of the following links:

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Leeks are winter root vegetable that looks much similar to onions, and to which they are also related. Their flavor is onion-like but much milder, mellower, and not overpowering, as onions sometimes can be.

The darker green parts have plenty of flavor. They can either be cooked longer then the root parts to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock, like chicken broth base soup along with potatoes, carrots, and herbs.

They can also be eaten raw or joined with a salad of leafy greens to divulge a wonderful crisp crunchy flavor.

Link here for a recipe using leeks: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken –  includes a video

Turnips are a a round, light-colored root related to the mustard family. Though the vegetable is grown for its eatable root, the top green parts are also enjoyed in salads. Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern U.S. cooking, primarily during late fall and winter months.

Smaller leaves are preferred when boiling them in water, as the larger the leaf the stronger the flavor. However, if you find yourself cooking with larger turnip greens, any bitter taste can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water.

The natural sweetness of Parsnips comes alive when they’re roasted and caramelized. The addition of fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar makes a sweet, aromatic glaze. Roasted parsnips make a great side dish for pork tenderloin.

Link here for a recipe using parsnips :  Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Belgian EndiveThe genuine Belgian endive is deeply rooted in its country of origin – Belgian, were it was discovered in 1830. This compact white colored small cylindrical shaped leaf vegetable with light green tips is a tangy, but tender and delicious vegetable.

Some cooks add the leafy vegetable to soups, while others use it in salads.

Link here for more about endives discovery and for a recipe: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken –  includes a video

Other winter vegetables that can still be found in your local market are…

Buttercup Squash – Collard Greens – Delicata Squash – Sweet Dumpling Squash – Winter Squash

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Roasted Chicken Breast With Ginger Carrot Salad

Roasted Chicken Breast With Ginger Carrot Salad - close upWith chicken breasts on hand that are skinless, and boneless , you can always have something quick and satisfying to eat for dinner. Whether you grill, boil, pouch or roast, there will always be an easy chicken breast recipe for any occasion.

roasting skinless, boneless chicken breasts with coconut oilBoneless chicken breasts are a go to fresh meat choice for any time-pressed home cook and their kitchen because they’re quicker to cook than bone-in chicken breasts.

Brushing the chicken breasts with a cooking oil (preferably olive, coconut, or avocado oils) or marinade before roasting or broiling helps prevent the chicken breasts from drying out.

For a quick lunch or dinner, it is really easy to incorporate chicken breast into salads, or pastas (Link here for ideas using chicken and leafy greens as: Salads as a Main Course).

We have the roasted chicken breast recipe, and all you have to do is choose the occasion. Our featured recipe is, Roasted Chicken Breast With Ginger Carrot Salad. Just 45 minutes from start to finish, and here is what you will need.

4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless

3-4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

3 medium rainbow carrots shredded, one each: yellow, purple, orange

1/2 cup dried cherries

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1/4 ginger cilantro dressing, best choice is Paleo Chef

Boston Lettuce leaves, about 8 pieces

melted coconut oil Slice breasts into two’s horizontally. Melt coconut oil (it is bought solid, but melts above 76 degrees), and place into a 13 X 9 glass baking dish.

chicken breasts coated with coconut oilNext coat chicken in oil on both sides. You will note that the coconut oil will solidify once again on the cold chicken breasts, as they are colder than 76 degrees.

Place baking dish in to oven on middle rack and roast for 10 minutes, than turn breasts and roast another 10 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature.

heating shredded carrots and dried cherries in hot water

While cooking the chicken, you can prepare the salad. Boil some water in a small pot, about 2 cups. Place shredded carrots and dried cherries into a medium glass mixing bowl, and add boiling water. Set aside for 3 minutes.

rinsing shredded carrots and dried cherries under running water Next drain water and rinse carrots and cherries in a colander under running water, and pplace produce back into the glass bowl.

Carrot Ginger Salad

Next add the chopped cilantro with the 1/4 cup of Ginger Cilantro dressing (by Paleo Chef), and mix together. Set aside.

Roasted Chicken Breast With Ginger Carrot SaladNext plate a piece of Boston lettuce leaf, and place piece of chicken breast on top. Then top the chicken breast with the ginger carrot salad, and enjoy!!

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Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice 

Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice 

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet potato, commonly referred to as a yam in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? In some parts of North America, including Canada, the yam and sweet potato are enter twinded or in other words people think they are same.

The fact is, they are not. They both are tubers, and that is as far as it goes to being similar.

The yam are monocots related to lilies and grasses. Were as sweet potatoes are related to or we should say the unrelated morning glory family (Wikipedia ).

Yam in a market

Yam in a market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to About Foods, yams are mostly sold in chunks sealed in plastic wrap, as they can grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 150 pounds. (Home Cooking – About Food).

Better Homes and Garden (BHG) suggests storing yams in a cool dry place. Much like you would do with potatos.

BHG says do not store yams in the refrigerator as they will dry out (BHG).

Before we get on with our featured recipe, here is a link to a pdf file from the University of California on yams and sweet potatoes: LINK HERE.

Our featured recipe is: Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice, and here is what you will need.

2 medium yams, washed and diced with skin on

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons dried cumin

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lime

diced yams with olive oil in a large bowel Add the oil, cumin, and salt to a large mixing bowel. Mix together, then add died yams and toss to coat.

Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice  - close upSpoon yams onto a baking sheet spread out evenly. Place baking sheet into a preheated 425 degree oven, and roast the diced yams for 30 to 40 minutes or until a fork can pierce them, turning once during the roasting process.

Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Add yams to a serving bowel along with chopped cilantro and lime juice. Mix gently to coat roasted yams.

Eat the dish as is or as a side dish with your favorite meat.

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Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

When roasting vegetables I just love how it draws out all of the natural sugars and creates a crispy outside and a tender inside.

Some vegetables need a little cooking to break down enzymes that would otherwise prevent our digestive system from obtaining the vegetables nutrients, like Brussels sprouts among many others.

Other vegetables do just fine eating them raw, though when cooked, they are more flavorful, like carrots, and sweet potatoes among others.

Talking about potatoes, baby potatoes are great for roasting because they are not as starchy, and they can even add some color to a roasted vegetable dish.

It is better to either roast or steam the vegetables. Cooking them in water should only be done for 3 minutes or less, so as not to kill any nutrients.

Even though vegetables are roasted in a 350 to 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes depending on the vegetables being used, the micro-nutrients are never fully destroyed as the internal temperature of the vegetable reaches only about 150 to 165 degrees.

Adding dried herbs like rosemary that has a pine lemony flavor, also has a concentrated flavor and will not burn while roasting, where as fresh herbs would burn in a 350 to a 400 degree oven. Be careful with oregano though, as it has a pungent earthy flavor, and can be over powering if to much is added.

It most cooking when add salt to meat or vegetables while being cooked can make them tough, but no so when using salt in its natural form, such as Himalayan salt or sea salt. These two salts do not only have sodium, but also other trace minerals naturally found in salt rock mines, or ocean salt.

Let’s get to cooking, and enjoy the video on how to prepare Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon.

 

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

1/3 cup organic EV olive oil

3 medium organic rainbow carrots, sliced

1 1/2 cups organic Brussels sprouts, halved

1 1/2 cups organic trio baby potatoes

1 medium organic sweet potato, cut into

1.5 inch slices

1 medium parsnip, cut into 1.5 slices

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 pound thick cut bacon, cut strips into 1 inch pieces

___________________________

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place vegetables into a large bowl and mix with herbs and oil.

Spread out vegetables into a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish. Place dish on middle rack in oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile fry bacon in a large pan over low heat. Do not let bacon get crispy.

In a large serving bowl add and mix roasted vegetables and bacon with a little bacon drippings.

Serve as a side dish or as a main dish as it contains meat (if doing so add 1 pound of bacon)

 

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Red Potato and Sweet Pepper Salad

Red Potato and Sweet Pepper  SaladA potato salad, though it is named, is generally a side dish as it accompanies the main course. The dish comes in many variations, and is found in different parts of the world, such as, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Holland, Italy, Germany, Romania, Syria, France, and the United States.

The potato salad is often served along side barbecued food, roasts, hot dogs, fried chicken, hamburgers and cold sandwiches.  No matter how the potato salad is made, it is considered a casual fare dish, as it is part of the menu at picnics, potlucks and other casual meals and events. It is even found in delicatessens and food bars.

It is easily made in large quantities, therefore popular among restaurant cooks and chefs, as it can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until needed, and requires ingredients that are inexpensive.

It is written that Arnold Shircliffe, executive chef of Chicago’s legendary Edgewater Beach Hotel, traced the origin of the potato salad to the 16th century. John Gerrard in 1597 writes about potatoes and their virtues (Homework Hero by ChaCha).

Here at Splendid Recipes and More this is the version of potato salad you will find: Red Potato and Sweet Pepper Salad.

Here is what you will need…

ingredients for Red Potato and Sweet Pepper  Salad

2 lbs. medium red potatoes, washed, diced into 1 inch chunks

1 onion, medium, cut ½ inch slices

1 red bell pepper, large, diced

2 celery ribs, diced ½ inch slices

8 oz. package cream cheese, soft

2 tsp. spice mix *

*Spice Mix

1 tbsp. granulated garlic

½ tbsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried parsley

½ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. Sea salt

Mix together and measure out 2 tsp. and mix with 1 tsp. orange zest, finely grated.

steaming red potatoes for Red Potato and Sweet Pepper  Salad

Prepare potatoes and place into a steamer basket above boiling  for 8 to 10 minutes or just until tender. Remove from steamer basket and place into a large mixing bowl.

creamcheese and spice mixes for Red Potato and Sweet Pepper  Salad

Mix spices with soft cream cheese in a small bowl until well incorporated.

mixing potato salad ingredients for Red Potato and Sweet Pepper  Salad

Place diced and cut vegetables into the large mixing bowl with the red potatoes, mix together until will incorporated. Next add the cream cheese/spice mixture to the potato mixture. Stir and mix in well.

close up of Red Potato and Sweet Pepper  Salad
Plate and serve with your favorite meal.

 

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Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad

Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad

 

Orange colored vegetables and fruits have a lot of health benefits. Such as beta-carotene not only good for eye health, but can also delay cognitive aging and protect skin from sun damage.

Beta carotene is a precursor for vitamin A, which is commonly referred to as retinol. Vitamin A is important for night vision, also an antioxidant that can neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.

The old days always taught us that only citrus fruit had vitamin C. But all orange foods are full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects against heart disease and helps rebuild collagen in the skin. Also as an added note: Vitamin D is not the only vitamin for bone health and suppport, your collagen also helps make and maintain strong bones.

All the more reason you need to prepare Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad. Here is what you will need.

ingredients-for-Kale-Sweet-Potato-and-Chicken-Salad

 

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (1 inch squares)

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper

3/4 pound frozen breaded chicken tenders

1 cup Mango Chipotle dressing

1 bunch Tuscan kale, tough stems and ribs removed, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)

½ cup cashews, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

This recipe calls solely for Kale, but as you can see on the cutting board above, we mixed in other greens. Such as some spinach, arugula, white and red cabbage and julienne cut broccoli.

adding-olive-oil-salt-and-pepper-to-sweet-potato

In a large mixing bowl toss sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

preparing-chicken-and-vegetable-on-baking-sheets

On two rimmed baking sheets, arrange diced sweet potatoes on one sheet and frozen breaded chicken strips on the second rimmed baking sheet.
Put in the preheat oven and bake 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Let cool to room temperature.

Make the dressing while the chicken and sweet potatoes are baking.

Mango Chipotle Dressing

2 Mangoes, peeled, pitted (about 1 ½ to 2 cups)

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 Chipotle Chili Peppers in adobo, wash peppers and de-seed *

½ cup Olive Oil

¼ cup Vinegar

3 – 4 tbsp. Lemon Juice

2 tbsp. Sugar

¼ tsp. Salt

Place mango flesh, garlic gloves and peppers into a food processor and puree. Next add oil, vinegar, lemon juice and processes until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add sugar and salt process a few seconds.

Makes about 2 ½ cups

*if too spicy, use only 1 pepper

_____________________________________________________________________________

After chicken has cooled, chop into pieces.

chopped chicken strips for Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad

In a large serving bowl toss potatoes, chicken, and kale with dressing and sprinkle with cashews. Plate and serve.

close up for detail of Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad

Here’s another health tidbit….the Kale, broccoli, and spinach are cruciferous vegetables that ward off cancer with only four servings a week. That red cabbage you see there has more vitamin C than an orange and has sulfur as well. Sulfur also helps build beautiful skin.

Have you forgotten what you just read, red cabbage can help you with that. Current research reports that red cabbage increases brain function.

Enjoy your Kale Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad.

 

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