Is it weird that I get more excited about winter salads than the summer ones? I love hardy salads that give my jaw a workout. (At least part of me is working out, right?) Every winter I vow to keep a grainy, beany salad in my fridge to prevent myself from living on bagels and raisin toast (a hazard/benefit of having my office in the spare bedroom), and in fact, these kinds of salads actually improve after a few days in the fridge. Also- feeling virtuous over lunch is enough to keep me feeling more or less on the ball during the afternoon, sometimes propelling me out to do a power walk. Eating healthy things begets eating healthy things (and doing healthy things). I even organized my office this weekend, which was a monumental task. I blame the salads.
I love adding chopped apples to salads – not only are they always around, they add sweetness, tartness and crunch to just about any salad, from spring mix to slaw, and vinaigrettes keep them from turning brown. And so because it’s apple month, let this serve as a reminder that apples make all salads better. (A few weeks ago I made a wilted spinach salad with bacon, apples and a mustardy cider vinaigrette – and sorry I didn’t share, but go try that combo.) Use any variety you like, but I prefer those with more character – pink ladies, ambrosias, honeycrisps, sunrise if it’s early in the season and you can find them. Most often I default to galas – W’s favourite, always in the fruit bowl because he eats one sliced every night while reading books.
Wheat berries, if you haven’t had them, are chewy, nutty little whole grains you boil for a long time, until they get soft enough to chew. You can buy them in the bulk section of health food stores and often in bags alongside the rice and other grains in grocery stores. They’re cheap and will last a long time, and are very gratifying to pour into a vintage jar and stick on the shelf alongside your other pulses and grains. Feel free to swap barley, or cook quinoa however you like to do it, or use cold rice or couscous, or ditch the starch and add some finely shredded kale and Brussels sprouts. Just don’t forget the apples!
*Thanks to BC Tree Fruits for asking me to help celebrate Apple Month – watch for a new apple recipe every Friday in February!