Hearty One-Bowl Winter Salad

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and we find ourselves in a brief transition period before the next set of holidays descend, why wait until after the new year to begin eating more healthfully? Being more mindful right now of what you prepare at home can help offset the calorie load from the decadent dishes and sweets that will inevitably be served at upcoming holiday parties and get-togethers. By thinking ahead, you can leave some room to indulge when you’re out and about with your family and friends during this festive time of year. After all, what fun are the holidays if you can’t let loose just a little?

It doesn’t take major changes to increase the nutritional value of your homemade meals. Here are a few ideas of small steps you can take:

  • Start by increasing your intake of legumes, vegetables and fruit and reducing the amount of red meat and refined sugars in your diet.
  • Avoid junk food, deep-fried items and highly processed foods.
  • If you can, take the “meatless Monday” concept and apply it to several days during the week. Or, to simplify things, try having meat only once a day.
  • Make sure that whole grains account for the bulk of your carbohydrates. For example, cook brown rice instead of white; try quinoa, millet or amaranth instead of couscous; and use whole wheat versions of pasta and bread.

The following recipe for a complex hearty winter greens salad contains a variety of flavors and textures and is fiber- and vitamin-rich. The opposite of a basic green salad, it’s a complete meal in a bowl that works well for a satisfying lunch or a light dinner. It’s the perfect antidote to the slew of rich holiday foods you might find yourself encountering the rest of this month.

Hearty One-Bowl Winter Salad

With two kinds of greens, lentils and toasted nuts for protein, a trio of seasonal fruits for sweetness and crunch, and some crumbled goat cheese for a hint of creaminess and tang, it has something for everyone. In fact, this vibrant salad also makes a wonderful side dish to bring to a holiday potluck. Because leafy green vegetables are often an afterthought at holiday gatherings, it will stand out as a welcome addition to the spread. The sturdiness of the greens means that you won’t have to worry about immediate sogginess once the salad is dressed. And, given the diversity of ingredients within it, there’s more than a good chance it will pair nicely with a variety of other dishes.

Hearty Winter Greens, Lentil and Persimmon Salad

Green lentils

Do not substitute pink lentils for the brown or green lentils, as they will disintegrate during cooking.

Ingredients

Frisee

1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 cup minced shallot

3 Tbs. sherry vinegar

2 tsp. maple syrup

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and finely chopped

1 head frisee, torn into bite-sized pieces

2 Fuyu persimmons, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup toasted pecans

2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

Cooking Instructions

Saucepan

1. Place the lentils in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1 tsp. of the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well in a fine-mesh strainer.

2. While the lentils are cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tsp. salt, shallot, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and pepper. Add the oil and whisk until emulsified.

3. Add the warm lentils to the vinaigrette and stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature.

4. Add the kale, frisee, persimmon, apple, pomegranate seeds and pecans to the lentils and toss gently to combine. Scatter the cheese on top.

Serves 6.

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