Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lighten up Lunch: Travel Wine & Dine's Warm Winter Salad

I'm trying to lighten up my meals now that the holidays are over.  More whole grains, veggies & fruits.  Fewer processed and refined foods.

The first couple days of re-training myself to eat healthfully are always difficult.  It's like breaking an addiction, and I need all the help I can get.  I threw out a lifeline on twitter, and asked for recipe reccos.  I was so excited when I received these recommendations from Pam at Cave Cibum, Kim at Lighter and Local, Sarah at Semi-Sweet, and Meghan at Travel Wine and Dine.

They all sounded great - and I'm hoping to try a few more of them.  But for this first recipe I went with Meghan's warm winter salad - believe it or not I had roasted beets already sitting in my fridge....and almost all of the other ingredients (with a few substitutions).
Instead of spinach, I used some lacinato kale, and instead of wheat berries I used farro.

 Warm Winter Salad 
Adapted from Meghan at Travel, Wine, and Dine

2 cups Lacinato Kale
1 large beets, roasted, peeled, and chopped into half moons
1 cup shelled walnuts
1/2 cup farro, prepared according to package directions
1/2 container plain greek yogurt 
juice of 1/2 orange
1 tsp each brown sugar and cayenne pepper

I already had some roasted beets in my fridge, so I took those out and sliced them up according to the directions.  Then I washed my kale, removed the rib, and cut it into a thick chiffonade.  I then put it in a steamer basket just to soften the leaves.  I put the walnuts in a cast iron pan to toast, and when they were nearly done sprinkled them with olive oil and a combination of brown sugar, cayenne, and a sprinkle of salt.

In a clean jar I mixed the orange juice and Greek yogurt, and assembled everything in a plastic container to take for my lunch.

Yes, that is one of my kitchen tips - I learned from Rafe and his mom.  Save your extra glass jars: mustard, jelly, etc.  You can use them to easily mix dressing.

This dressing is so fresh tasting with the orange juice - I'm sorry I never thought to do this!  And I love the play of the bitter greens and the natural sweetness of the beets.  Oh, and if you head to Meghan's page, you will see that she calls for 1 cup of walnuts for 2 people.  I made 1 cup but only put 1/2 a cup on my salad.  The other half went in my belly. Those things are addictive.....

But its still better than chocolate turtle pie, right?


  1. I'm always looking for new different salad ideas! This one sounds awesome...except I'm not the biggest fan of beets...I know I know, its mroe of a texture issue. What do you think would be a good substitution??
    I always save my little jars for this reason!

  2. Hi Bridget,
    No worries about the beets! I realize they are polarizing (Rafe won't touch 'em) - but I bet you could sub roasted carrots or squash. Both of them have a similar sweetness to beets when roasted. And the carrots in particular would taste great with the dressing.

  3. Meghan always has some great recipes! I'm still going carb-free and the first few days were hard but now I'm in the groove with exercise and healthy eating.

    BTW, I love how frequently you've been posting. Don't think I haven't noticed :-)

  4. that is one awesome looking salad. great tip about the jars, I never think to do that.

  5. I agree with Michelle! I love coming back here everyday and seeing a new post. I love this salad; it is so nutritious!

  6. I'm not sure that walnuts are better than chocolate turtle pie. Hmmm... :)

    The salad looks delish! I love that you were able to modify based on what you had.

  7. I love beets. This looks great!

  8. I opened up this post, scrolled down to the beet pic and swooned. Beets are the best.

  9. I've been on a salad kick lately! :-) I'm so glad to have a few more winter salads to try. Thanks for the shout out!