A Good Start

Gluten-Free, Paleo

After my month of excess for the Advent Calendar, January seemed downright penitential. Spending a chunk of it shooting a new vegan cookbook certainly helped to keep me on the straight and narrow, though the gums in the store-bought cheeses kept me away from sampling many of those creations. Still, I was inspired to get back to a healthier way of eating, one that’s light on grains, heavy on vegetables and homemade yogurt, and features grass-fed/pastured meats.

What I’m saying is salads are back in vogue in my kitchen after a long absence, and the best ones hit a lot of notes for me — colorful, tart, crunchy, sweet, earthy. The Sideshow Bob you see above was inspired by the Endive-Apple Salad in Poulet, a cookbook I bought for the pictures, but find myself cracking open more and more for cooking inspiration. I changed it up a bit, adding a honeyed lemon-Dijon vinaigrette and crunchy toasted pecans to the endive-radicchio-apple-parmesan base. But this is a great starting point for any number of salads because you can change up the ingredients depending on what you’re serving with it. Just a few ideas:

  • Add fennel and celery for more crunch and take the salad in a very different direction.
  • Swap out the pecans for toasted walnuts, pistachios, or even almond, if you want something less assertive.
  • Make it vegan by dropping the parmesan and honey and sweetening the vinaigrette with brown sugar or maple syrup.
  • Add a handful of dried fruit like currants, cranberries or raisins to offset the bitterness of the radicchio even more.

As always, just play with it and enjoy your creation. Eating your vegetables doesn’t have to be a dour exercise of willpower, you know.