Hands down, salads are one of my favorite dishes. In the winter months, though, it’s far more difficult for me to eat my greens. Less variety at the grocery store, lack of a farmer’s market, and the chilling temperatures leave me craving hot toddies, creamy bisques and grilled goat cheese sandwiches. Basically, everything that’s not salad. Today I made an incredible salad that addresses most of the problems I have with eating healthy during off season. First of all, it’s made with ingredients that are available year round and secondly its spicy kick creates heat that’s excellent for feeling the warm holiday fuzzies or clearing up a stuffy head cold. The salad is inspired by my favorite winter veggies and the dressing is a spin off of Natalia Rose’s Amazing Raw Peanut Sauce. Enjoy!
ingredients needed: cabbage, carrots, cilantro, eggplant, black mustard seeds
First, chop/shred 2 cups of green or napa cabbage. Then grate 2 cups worth of carrots. Next take one bunch of cilantro and destem it and chop the leaves. Mix together in a large bowl and set aside.
Now take 1 medium eggplant and thinly slice it into rounds. Cut the rounds into fourths, creating eggplant wedges. In a skillet, pour a tablespoon or so of sesame oil over low to medium heat. Pour in a few teaspoons of black mustard seeds. Wait for them to start making a “popping” noise. Usually this happens within one minute. Once the oil and mustard seeds are hot, saute the eggplant to a tenderness of your liking. This should take 5-10 minutes on low to medium heat. Turn off heat and set eggplant aside.
ingredients needed: almond or peanut butter, fresh lemon juice, serrano pepper, garlic, fresh ginger, Nama Shoyu , sesame oil, agave nectar, cayenne peppers
In a high speed blender, add the following:
1/2 cup of almond of peanut butter. Both are delicious but if you are trying to watch your calories, I totally recommend Bell Plantation’s PB2 powder. It only has 45 calories per 2 tablespoons of peanut powder! It’s powdered, so all you do is add the right amount of water to it to thicken it up. It comes in chocolate as well and both are delicious. Great for smoothies and sauces.
1/4 to 1/2 of a seeded serrano pepper (depending on your spice tolerance)
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled (add two inches if you like a lot of spice)
1 1/2 tablespoons of Nama Shoyu. You can buy Nama Shoyu at any alternative grocery food store. It’s basically a raw (unpasteurized) soy sauce. If you don’t have it, you can use regular soy sauce but Nama Shoyu is so much better! It has a complex flavor all its own. I much prefer it.
2 tsp sesame oil
about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of agave nectar, depending on your liking. Start with 1/8 and add in more later if you’d like. Honestly, I just squeeze away and watch how much goes in. I’m not one for measurements.
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (only if you like it spicy! otherwise skip this last step)
purified water (use it to slowly thin the dressing down to the consistency you like)
Turn the blender on and slowly add water to help thin if too thick. I like my dressing a little on the thick side so I don’t add too much water.
Fill a bowl with the salad mix, top it with some of the sauteed eggplant and mustard seeds and drizzle the whole thing with dressing. Voila!
This amount of salad will make about 3-4 servings.