Three Salads for Winter Blahs

I get very quickly bored of salad.  It’s especially hard in winter to maintain enthusiasm for salad when there are no local, fresh ingredients, and I often find myself in a rut.  Here are some salads sure to please tired taste buds.

salad-May11-HH-AskAmy-LeslieWilliamsMy all-time favourite salad is Fresh’s Tangled Thai Salad.  There is a Fresh restaurant down the street from me, and I never even look at the menu anymore.  I just order the Tangled Thai.  In part, it’s a treat because I cannot have peanuts or sesame at home, so I treat myself to those allergens when I go out.   For some reason, lime has become my winter comfort, and it’s the lime and cilantro that make this salad particularly appealing to me in winter.  (To add protein to this delicious dish, try adding some marinated tofu.)  You can find the recipe on the Canadian House and Home site here.

I also saw this lovely, crisp and zesty salad in The Globe and Mail last week: Shaved Fennel and Mint.  The Red and White appealed to me because I love fennel but have a limited number of ways to prepare it.  With mint, it felt like a taste of summer in the middle of winter.  Yum.  And while pomegranates symbolise Persephone’s banishment to the underworld and the death of all that’s green in winter, they also promise the return of spring, so you can toast the Greek gods’ promise of the green to come and have your salad, too.

Finally, my go-to taste bud pleaser is a pear and blue cheese salad.  My portions of cheese are usually immoderate, but with this salad, I get my cheese fix with just a wee crumble of pungent blue.  Enjoy!  And please share your recipes for great salads!

Pear and Blue Cheese Spinach Salad

Serves 2

4 cups baby spinach, rinsed and dried

1 ripe pear, cored and sliced

1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Heat a frying pan on medium heat for one minute.  Add nuts and stir constantly until nuts are fragrant and toasted golden brown.  (1-2 minutes)  Remove immediately from heat.  Mix oil, vinegar and Dijon with a whisk in a large salad bowl.  Pour out half of dressing, and toss spinach in remainder.  Serve dressing-coated spinach in bowls, topped with sliced pear, nuts and cheese.  Add remaining dressing if necessary or reserve for another day.