There are perhaps no two more despised words around mealtime than “dinner salad.” A dinner salad implies dieting, suffering, pushing a sad pile of greens around a plate while everyone else gets to have a great time chowing down on food they want to eat, while you're stuck eating something that feels like one step above cattle feed.
I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be that way. A dinner salad can be good, and good for you. How so, you ask? Well, for one thing, salads don't have to be cold. Heck no! Add a little heat, warm up a tasty vinaigrette, and suddenly you've got something that looks and tastes pretty good.
And you don't need to stick to boring old lettuce. Nothing wrong with lettuce, mind you, but when you have the option of hearty greens, like kale, endive, radicchio, and Swiss chard available, just to name a few, well, why just stick with one? It also helps that greens like chard and radicchio add more color and texture to a place, which in turn enhances the eating experience.
I like this recipe from the Food Network kitchens that combines bitter greens with a sweet, warm dressing. It's quick to make and good for you, too!
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 pint walnuts
3 bunches assorted winter greens (such as Swiss chard, radicchio, or escarole), washed, stemmed, and torn into pieces
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 shallot, chopped
Cook honey and balsamic together over medium-high heat in a large saute pan, about 5 minutes. Toast walnuts in a small skillet; set aside to cool.
Pile greens on a platter. Stir mustard into balsamic-honey dressing, then whisk in about 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; pour over greens. Season greens with salt and pepper and garnish with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, shavings of Parmesan, and shallot.
This is a fun and simple recipe that you can play around with quite a bit. Add or substitute kale for any of other greens, or use almonds or pistachios in place of the walnuts. If you want to lower the healthiness of the dish (but perhaps up the flavor), some bacon crumbles are always worth adding.
Give this recipe a try, and the thought of a dinner salad might not sound so bad after all.
By Dave Meddish, Live Superfoods
Recipe courtesy of FoodNetwork.com, found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/warm-wilted-winter-greens-recipe2.html