Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Fennel Seed

Orange and Beet Salad with Fennel Seed

This beautiful, yet simple salad is a cut above the ordinary—stunning with its range of colors and flavors.  Orange, beet and arugula are a classic combination, and the fennel seed adds a pleasant crunch and hint of licorice flavor.  If you don’t enjoy the taste of fennel, substitute a sprinkling of toasted walnuts.

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Escarole Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Pomegranate Seeds and Avocado

Escarole is a slightly bitter winter lettuce that partners well with other strong flavors—roasted broccoli, tangy pomegranate seeds and a mustardy vinaigrette, for starters.  We’ve added lots of pistachio nuts for crunch and a touch of aged Parmesan for flourish.  If you can’t find escarole substitute one of its cousins such as frisée or endive.  Peppery arugula would be lovely as well.  Cauliflower or Romanesco would be a nice addition if you don’t have broccoli on hand.

The colors make this dish a natural choice for a winter holiday table.

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Apple and Celery Salad with Toasted Seeds

This salad covers all the bases—sweet and salty, crisp and crunchy. Herbal. It’s a perfect throw-together dish when you don’t have much in the fridge beyond the usual—like apples and celery.  Substitute raisins or currants if you don’t have grapes.  Leave out the greens altogether if you like. Or chop up the bright-tasting celery leaves and toss them in (yes, they’re useful beyond being just compost additives or guinea pig fodder). Cubed fennel bulb and their feathery fronds would be a nice addition as well.

Pepita is the Spanish term for hulled pumpkin seeds.  You’ll find them packaged at Trader Joe’s.  Be sure to toast extra—they make a nutritious and addictive snack.

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Fall Green Salad with Roasted Pumpkin, Walnuts and Pomegranate Seeds

This salad is simple, yet the flavors go far beyond ordinary, everyday tossed greens. Substitute any type of winter squash (some will need peeling, depending on the thickness of the skin). We love arugula in this salad but choose your favorite assertive greens:  escarole, endive or Japanese mizuna.

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Quinoa Salad with Apple and Fennel Three Ways

This salad is light and nutritious.  It’s also loaded with fennel—three versions:  the raw feathery fronds, braised bulb and toasted seeds.  For those less enamored with the licorice-like flavor of the raw vegetable, use more of the cooked bulb, and less fronds. Taste as you toss the salad, and let that be your guide.  Substitute candied nuts if you enjoy a hint of sweetness—I keep a bag of Trader Joe’s Candied Walnuts on hand.  No need to toast them; they’re ready straight out of the package.

Quinoa is an excellent vegetarian source of protein—and a complete one, unlike most other grains.  It offers a wide range of minerals and nutrients as well.

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