When March Gets Confusing: Raw Winter Salad with Maple-Thyme Vinaigrette

The flu is not fun.

After spending literally an entire week incapacitated on the couch with no actual mental activity occuring, the journey drifting back down to lucidity has been long and slow.  Now, two weeks later, I am just beginning to feel normal again.  I can communicate with others, get myself from place to place — I’m even starting to find pleasure in things again!

With the return of consciousness has come a desperate need to delicately rehabilitate my ravaged body.  That nasty bug certainly took a toll on my energy levels and mood.  The answer: an easy to prepare, nutrition-packed power meal to fuel the body without weighing it down.  A foggy trip to the farmer’s market over the weekend meant it was in the cards – but also that it would have to be TOTALLY inappropriate for the coming spring, as my half-conscious self decided to pick up the dregs of winter’s bounty.

So next time you’re so disoriented from a passing illness that you don’t know what season it is, but you’re desperately tired of chicken broth and applesauce, try this on for size: Raw Winter Salad with Maple-Thyme Vinaigrette.

Raw Winter Salad with Maple-Thyme Vinaigrette

gluten free, vegetarian, optionally raw

Serves 2

  • 1 bunch kale (lacinato or red russian are great choices)
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1/2 a sweet potato
  • 1/2 pint of mixed mushrooms (oysters are especially great)
  • 1/2 package of tempeh*
  • currants
  • walnuts
  • raw aged cheese (I used a local PA gem, Hillacre’s Arcadia)
  • Maple-Thyme Vinaigrette (see below)
  1. Gather your kale into a bunch and roll long-ways as tightly as you can into a sort of cigar shape. Slice VERY thinly down the cigar so you get very slim slivers.
  2. Using a mandolin (preferably) or a very sharp knife, slice the parsnip into extremely thin rounds.  Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise, and then use the mandolin to slice into very thin half-moons.  Cut the tempeh into similarly thin strips.
  3. Using a very sharp knife, slice mushrooms very thinly.
  4. Mix all of the above with your vinaigrette, top with currants, roughly chopped walnuts and shaved cheese.
  5. Easy peasy no cook yum!
Maple-Thyme Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbs minced shallot
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 2-4 tsp maple syrup (the real kind)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • Handful of soaked cashews (if you don’t have a high powered blender, sub yogurt or mayo)
  • dried thyme to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • water or broth as necessary to reach desired texture
  1. Blend or whisk thoroughly together, taste, adjust, use 🙂
*Tempeh’s status as a raw food is contested. It is made of fermented soy beans, and some raw diets include fermented foods, while others do not. Up to you what you want to do!

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Make These Now: Easy Airy Kale Chips

Tuscan kale – aka lacinato kale or dinosaur kale – is hands down my favorite kale variety.  It’s tender, scaly, flat leaves are perfect for eating raw or crisping up into deliciously delicate chips.  Unlike curly varieties of kale, whose ruched edges mean a tough texture and uneven baking tendency, these babies melt in your mouth raw, and toast to to perfection without any unpleasant chewiness or char.

20111114-144708.jpgMaking tuscan kale chips is just about the easiest thing to do in the kitchen there could be, and you seem super fancy when you do it.  They are one of the best entertaining snack foods I’ve ever encountered.  Keep in mind, though — the combination of their dangerous addictiveness, crumbliness, and tendency to leave green bits in between teeth you didn’t even know you had mean they don’t make the best date food.  Just sayin’.

Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Remove the stems from the kale leaves.
  3. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil (you need less than you think!) and sprinkle of salt.
  4. Arrange flat on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUCH