Let’s talk about salad, shall we? It seems that when January rolls around, everyone starts eating salads again. Sure, I understand that a lot of people are making resolutions and turming over a new leaf in the new year, but as someone who is not a big fan of salads, it’s always a struggle for me.
Regardless of your opinion on diets, resolutions, or even salads, though, I think we can all agree that trying to incorporate more veggies into our diets is a good thing. So, even though I’m also not big on resolutions or diets, I do find myself taking a step back after the holidays and trying to get back to more balanced eating… And, yes, that often includes eating salads.
To make salads interesting (and in my opinion, edible) in the winter months, I tend to focus on roasted vegetables and big flavors. Cold foods don’t really do it for me any time of the year (except for ice cream…), especially in January. Eating a big salad for lunch sounds like a great idea until I realize that it’s in the 20s outside and all I want for lunch is something warm. That’s where the roasted veggies come in. Not only do they add flavor, but they also add warmth, and warmth is key. My winter favorites include butternut squash, beets, and carrots.
In addition to the warmth, I find that I want different salad dressings. I have to keep things interesting, and the same old organic Balsamic vinaigrette that I always have in the fridge (with a spare bottle in the pantry) just doesn’t do it for me. Lately, I’ve been turning to citrus. Most recently, I decided to whip up a fast vinaigrette with some blood oranges I picked up at the grocery store. Sadly, the oranges weren’t quite as nice as I had hoped, but they still made a tasty vinaigrette. Of course, any oranges you have on hand will work just fine!
I am especially fond of butternut squash (or other winter squash) with citrus, so I served the vinaigrette over a nice bed of greens (i.e. the obligatory lettuce) with some roasted butternut squash, toasted walnuts, and feta cheese. And, though it pains me to admit it, I really did enjoy it. If that isn’t a good endorsement for a salad, I don’t know what is.
Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Makes a generous 1/2 cup, about 4 – 6 servings
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, and honey in a mixing bowl (or a liquid measuring cup). Whisk vigorously. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. If the dressing separates, just give it another good whisk or a shake (if it is in a bottle with a lid!).