Deep, rich greens are balanced by bright and lively oranges, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds, topped with a subtly sweet-and-sour homemade vinaigrette. This salad is simple, yet so very flavorful.
Perhaps you are like me right now, craving clean and healthy foods after over-indulging during the holidays. I don’t regret any of the holiday over-indulgences, because they were part of spending time with family and friends, but January is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. A refreshing salad is a great way to recharge and energize.
I keep reading about winter greens at this time of year. Hardy greens can survive the winter in milder regions, or in more extreme regions like mine, can grow during the winter in a greenhouse or another similar gardening apparatus. Apparently, cold weather brings out the flavor of these hardy greens, such as kale, collards, chards, spinach, and others, and locally-grown varieties are available at markets or even in some grocery stores all winter long. I’m really glad about this, because I have been craving greens for the last couple of weeks. Recently, my daughter and I have been enjoying a gently fried egg on top of a bed of sautéed greens, and I have been making lots of salads.
This salad is a lunch favorite for me. Not only does it use the deeply nutritious winter greens, but also vitamin-C-packed oranges. We often get oranges as Christmas presents, and they are also wonderful this time of year. The sweetness of the oranges balances the earthy, slight bitterness of the greens, making a really flavorful combination. The vinaigrette goes great with this salad too, and since we have a lot of oranges right now, I used fresh-squeezed orange juice in the dressing. Delicious! And I love the jewel tones in this salad–the emerald, topaz, ruby and pearl colors.
The days are now getting a little bit lighter and brighter, and I can sense a subtle shift in the light outside. Everything looks a little brighter, and I am inspired to exercise more and de-clutter the house. (A really big, never-ending job!) After a relatively mild December, we are now having some very cold days and nights–just in time to put the kids’ new flannel sheets on their beds. We went up north after Christmas, and were able to go sledding and skiing, and the kids made s’mores with their cousins around an outdoor fire. Ever since my sister-in-law introduced me to the word “hygge”, a Danish word and concept embodying a special type of coziness and togetherness in the cold and darkness, we have been trying to embrace winter and cultivate an appreciation for the aspects that make wintertime unique. Food is often at the center of this coziness, so I am looking forward to getting back to my blogging space and also checking out what fellow bloggers have been doing.
Jewel-Toned Winter Salad
For the salad:
- a mixed bunch of hardy greens, such as spinach, kale, or chard
- 2 small oranges, one for juicing and one for slicing
- a handful of slivered almonds
- a handful of dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
- optional: Feta cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons of orange juice (fresh-squeezed is best, but prepared is fine too)
- 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon of honey
- 1/3 cup of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Select a handful of greens–enough for 2 people. Wash the greens and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Peel the oranges. Set one aside for the salad dressing. Separate the other orange into sections, and cut each section into bite-sized pieces. Place on top of the greens. Sprinkle on the desired amount of slivered almonds and dried cranberries.
For the dressing, juice the remaining orange. In a glass jar with a screw top, add the orange juice, white wine vinegar, mustard, honey, and olive oil. Shake well. Add salt and pepper to taste and shake again. Pour the desired amount over the salad, and refrigerate the rest. Sprinkle with Feta cheese, if desired. Serve as a side dish or with bread or crackers for a light, refreshing lunch. Enjoy!