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Salad deserves attention

When it comes to planning any big meal, a salad is often an afterthought. Stately roasts, crowd-pleasing potatoes and sultry pies tend to grab the spotlight, and by the time we think, “Oh, yeah, we should probably have a salad,” a bag of mixed lettuces and a container of cherry tomatoes might be all we have the mental bandwidth for.

But there are good reasons to give salad its due consideration. A salad adds some

Associated Press
This winter greens salad comes together quickly and adds color and crunch to any meal.

critical lightness and crunch to a hearty meal. It can also be one of the vegetarian offerings that help non-meat-eaters make a real dinner out of what is often a meat-centered feast.

Salads can also be out-and-out beautiful, with very little work. Here, a few types of lettuces mingle with slivers of red onion, tart apples and cranberries, and creamy goat cheese, tied together with a zippy dressing. You could add some chopped pecans or walnuts, or slivered almonds on top if you like.

This stunner comes together in 20 minutes, and is a bowl of vibrant color and texture that seems anything but a postscript to the menu.

WINTER GREENS, APPLE, CRANBERRY AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD

Servings: 4

SHERRY-MUSTARD DRESSING

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon smooth or coarse Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

SALAD

1 large head Belgian endive, thinly sliced crosswise

3 cups baby spinach

1 cup baby arugula

½ red onion, thinly slivered

1 Granny Smith apple

½ cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

In a container, place the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, honey, and salt and pepper. Shake to combine well.

In a large bowl, place the endive, spinach, arugula and onions. Quarter and core the apple, then slice crosswise into thin slices. Add the apples and about ¾ of the cranberries to the bowl, and toss to combine. Shake the dressing once more, drizzle it over, and toss to coat the salad with the dressing.

Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and sprinkle the remaining cranberries and the goat cheese over it. Serve.

PER SERVING: 222 calories; 130 calories from fat; 14 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 17 mg cholesterol; 449 mg sodium; 17 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 6 g protein.

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