- “SuperFoods” Baby Lettuces Blend: Spinach, Chard, & Kale
- Oven roasted parsnips (salt, pepper, coriander, nutmeg & lemon zest)
- Baked, marinated tofu (Balsamic vinegar, Maple syrup, soy sauce, blueberries)
- Shallots (roasted with parsnips)
- Dried wild blueberries
- Dried, salted peas
- Sugar snap pea pods
- Non-Fat Greek yogurt
- Lemon juice
- Maple Syrup
- Fresh ginger
- Homemade curry blend: cumin, coriander, turmeric, nutmeg, cayenne
- White wine vinegar
The creamy sweetness of roasted parsnips leapt into my mind as I was contemplating this week’s lunches. Warmed, ever so slightly, their tenderness and lemony, maple flavor is a winter time favorite and with a cooler week forecast, it seemed a great time to enjoy them again. My mind puts together a salad by starting with one main ingredient, either for the dressing or for the salad itself, and then bounces around ideas for flavors that compliment, contrast, and bring out the best in that main item. I thought you might enjoy seeing my creative process on paper, so the “mind map” below, illustrates how I link and reinforce the flavors & textures of each salad:
The big flavor areas/connections are drawn out with darker lines: here, from parsnip to curry/lemon/sweet. Then with each additional layer, I have other connections that wind their way around the star ingredient, hopefully echoing and enhancing the overall salad. Lemon is the main tie throughout this salad: it brings out the sweetness & buttery flavor of the parsnips; it magnifies the “sour” in the yogurt and the turmeric; there’s a citrusy element to coriander (here both dried and fresh as cilantro); lemon pumps up both the fragrance and flavor of fresh mint; and blueberry & lemon is a classic pairing in desserts & muffins.
I always want something crunchy in my salads to counterbalance the tender leaves and softer veggies, so here I use both fresh, crisp and “bright green” tasting sugar snap peas in the pod and dried, salted crunchy peas. It’s nice to come across a “crunch” now and again, especially when the other elements of the salad are soft, chewy, and in the case of the greens, fairly delicate.
Protein, and its umani darkness & saltiness, comes in the form of overnight marinated and then baked extra firm tofu cubes. Where the parsnip coins are tender, almost melt-in-the-mouth soft, the tofu cubes are chewy, savory, and give the meal some “heft”, as protein should.
A satisfying salad that makes the cool, rainy days seem a little bit brighter!