The Salad in Winter
for the salad:
- 1 head leaf lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2-3 small roasted beets, sliced
- 2 fuyu persimmons, sliced into wedges
- 1/2 red onion sliced, into half-moons
- 2-3 oz crumbled blue cheese
- 1 Bosc pear, sliced
- 2 navel oranges peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch pink celery, cut into sticks and the leaves, if you have them!
- 6 oz beluga lentils cooked and cooled
for the dressing:
- 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon
- pinch granulated garlic
- freshly ground black pepper
- Arrange the lettuce on a platter, 2 big plates (if serving as a main) or four small plates. Top with remaining salad ingredients in the order listed above. Set aside.
- In a jar or bowl, whisk together (I’ll be honest, I actually just used the spoon I scooped the mustard out with) the dressing ingredients until it emulsifies.
- Drizzle the salad with dressing, serve immediately.
- Don't have pink celery? Sub regular celery but slice into thin pieces instead of sticks.
- For a quicker salad, use vacuum-packed pre-cooked, unseasoned beets (or roast your own)
- I used par-cooked beluga lentils I buy in a packet at Target and heated (then cooled) them according to package instructions. You can also start from dried.
- Use any vinegarette you'd like, I like balsamic with beets so went with that.
- Don't want to use lettuce? Just toss the vegetables and fruit right in with the lentils and use a little less dressing.
- I did a sort of easier version of supremeing with the oranges--I cut the peel off with a knife and then sliced the oranges rather than segmenting them. Cutting them into supremes them would make for a prettier presentation if you are so inclined.
Long time readers will probably know that I am not the biggest green salad eater. I really despair when my produce delivery, which has taken greater importance thanks to the pandemic, includes multiple types of lettuce. I get the “local only” delivery so I thought I was past getting lettuce but alas, I was not. I normally don’t get the delivery too much in the fall (and I know it’s still fall despite the silly recipe name) or winter because so little is in season in the mid-Atlantic and what is, can often be bought much cheaper at the regular supermarket. It’s a pricy box so when it starts being filled with potatoes and onions, I start skipping. They lured me back in this week with the promise of pink celery though. I posted a picture here of it in all its glory. I had high hopes of making some cooked celery dish hailing from the heyday of celery love over a hundred years ago but I noticed it was already looking sad a day after it arrived so I had to switch gears. Salad it is!
The stalks were thin and tender so I left them long to showcase their pinkness but by all means, cut them to a more reasonable size. I then added in some fruit I had on hand. Some similarly sad looking but still tasty oranges, persimmons I bought at probably my last Trader Joe’s visit for the year, tiny Bosc pears from the same produce delivery, and on impulse, some cooked Beluga (black) lentils. I don’t know if it’s popular to put lentils in green salads but it really worked. It made the salad into more of a meal if you are inclined to meal salads and as a side dish, much more substantial. They hold their shape together beautifully and looked like sprinkles of confetti on the salad. Pink celery has a robust herby flavor that was great foil for the earthy beets.
If you don’t have lettuce to use up, I think the salad would be great without it, just toss the vegetables and fruit right in with the lentils and use a little less dressing. Or use all the dressing. I don’t judge.
It really was the best kind of salad, even for a green salad hater like me. It’s full of different textures and hardy, yet flavorful bits and bobs.
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