Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 5 Dinner - Big Winter Salad with Walnut Dressing

There was a time, many years ago, when I didn't like eating salads for dinner.  I thought salads were lame.  It wasn't until I had my first job as a pantry chef in a restaurant (where half of my job was making all the salads) when I realized that salads could not only be great for dinner, they could also be filling, flavorful, beautiful, and healthy all at once.  Not to mention, salad is the ultimate fast food!  No cooking required! 

The key to a delicious salad, I believe, is choosing fresh ingredients that are in season and having a really great dressing.  So, for those of you who see the title "Big Winter Salad" and feel immediately disinterested, please give this one a try.  It is packed with wholesome, healthy greens, sweet and tangy winter fruits, and the dressing is rich, super-garlicky, and so easy to make you'll want to make it in massive amounts and put it on everything!

Big Winter Salad
serves 2

6 cups Brussels Sprouts leaves
3 cups mixed greens (I used the "Organic Girl" Herb Baby Romaine mix, just pick your favorite)
1 small apple, sliced (I used Braeburn, but any variety should do)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/8 cup pistachios, very lightly toasted
1 sausage (I used "Continental Sausage" brand Wild Boar sausage with apricots and cranberries), cooked and sliced

2 garlic cloves (if you don't want so much garlic, one clove is fine)
2 T yellow mustard
Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar (if you can't find this, use regular balsamic)
2 oz. Walnut Oil
1 tsp salt

Make the dressing:  In a blender, add garlic, mustard and salt and pulse a few times to chop the garlic.  Pour in vinegar until it reaches the 2 oz. mark, then blend the ingredients until smooth.  With the blender running, drizzle in the walnut oil very slowly until the whole thing measures 4 ounces.  Taste and adjust salt if necessary.  If the dressing tastes too strong, drizzle in some olive oil and blend to mellow out the flavor. 

Boil a kettle full of water.  Place brussels sprouts leaves in a large bowl and pour boiling water until the leaves are submerged.  Allow to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, then immediately drain and rinse with cold water until the leaves are no longer warm.  Gently squeeze the leaves to remove excess water, or spin them dry with a salad spinner.

In a large bowl, mix the brussels sprouts, mixed greens, pomegranate seeds, and cranberries.  Toss with about 1 ounce of dressing (more, if you'd like--you will have some leftover either way) then divide mixture between two plates.  Take the apple slices and arrange them around the salad, then top with pistachios and sausage slices.


  1. This was DELICIOUS. The tartness of the pomegranates and the **garlic** made this one of my favorite salads so far - and I usually prefer the savoury ones over the sweeter kinds! Maaahvelous.

  2. the dressing is to die for, but make sure your loved one eats it too...can you say GARLIC!

  3. can I just say...your china is ver photogenic too.