Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fun Salads

This past Shabbat was especially lovely.  Why?  Because I was invited out!   As much as I love hosting my friends and family for meals, I welcome the opportunity to take it easy and enjoy someone elses hospitality.  I always like to offer to make something to make it easier on my host, and this time I was asked to help with salad.  Perfect for me because I was just talking to a good friend from college about fun salads.   I made a Butternut Squash salad to bring over for Shabbat.  This salad can also be served for Tu b'Shevat this week.  Some of the 7 species are included (olive oil, pomegranate seeds) and you can also substitute the dried cherries for chopped dates, figs, or raisins.  If you are interested in making the salad for Tu b'Shevat, the 7 species traditionally eaten on this holiday are wheat, barley, grapes, pomegranate, dates, figs, and olives.  These are the 7 species that are native to Israel and named in the Torah. 

Butternut Squash Salad with home-made balsamic vinaigrette

Mixed Greens
Carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
Dried cherries
pomegranate seeds (optional)
slivered almonds
Butternut squash, cubed
Sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar
1 T olive oil
*if served with a dairy meal, goat cheese is a delicious combination with the squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a lined cookie sheet, spread out the cubed butternut squash, sprinkle with olive oil, sugar and cinnamon.  Roast squash for about 15-20 minutes until tender.  Allow to cool.  Mix all salad ingredients together.  Serve with balsamic vinaigrette (below).

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
4 T balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
2 T oil
2 T water
1 T dijon mustard
freshly cracked pepper to taste

Mix together well.  The mustard serves as an emulsifier and the oil will not separate from the vinegar.  Recipe might need to be doubled if you are making it for a large crowd. 
I wanted to share one more fun salad recipe.  This is a really easy and very delicious salad that works great for a pot luck, side dish, or if you just want a salad with a twist. 

Carrot Slaw
1 package of shredded carrots
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 large handful of dried cranberries (I used raisins this time because I ran out of cranberries.  Both taste good, but I like the dried cranberries better)
Homemade honey mustard dressing:
*1 T honey
*1 T olive oil
*1 T mustard
*about 1/2 t of onion powder
*salt and pepper to taste

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing.  While whisking, disperse dressing around walls of the bowl to assist with tossing the salad.  After whisked, fold in the carrots, parsley and dried cranberries.  Carefully mix to coat.   This will produced a very lightly dressed salad.  If you prefer more dressing on your salad, make more dressing first, before tossing in the vegetables.