I have an admission. I seem to be full of em. I’m a yoga devotee. A healthy living pusher. A passionate cook. And a Vatta type. Yes, I’m airy, light, windy, cold and dry. Especially now. And I have a tendency to get Vatta deranged. I know Ayurveda says I should eat lots of cooked, hearty, warming, oily foods this time of year in the frigid northeast (and so should you, probably). I do eat them. I’ve been eating sweet potatoes by the dozen and slathering everything I eat in grass fed butter and ghee and coconut oil. I’ve been doing oil baths and drinking warm beverages and the whole bit. But d*mn it all, this week I really want a salad! And here’s why…
In the winter I do crave warm, grounding foods. Soup is definitely on the menu. Like that, ahem, beef commercial from the 90s, “it’s what’s for dinner,” soup, that is. But in this cold time of root vegetables and forced dry heat and somewhat sedentary lifestyle, I find I need a little raw, fresh, crunchy, juicy, ALIVE food for balance. It’s almost like in the summer I get enough of that just by eating what’s fresh and local and seasonal anyway. I don’t have to try. But in the winter, when warm cooked things are so comforting, my body actually begins to crave a little fresher input to balance all the dry air and heavy food.
Now, let’s be clear, I’m not telling you to haul off and go 100% raw in this -8 degree weather. Just maybe add in a few fresh fruits and vegetable to your already balanced diet.
Here’s what I do when I feel this way. I pair a seasonal soup (like this one) with a salad. Or I top a green salad with something warm, like sautéed mushrooms and/or sweet potato or winter squash. I eat an omelette or frittata alongside some fresh crunchy vegetables. Maybe I top hearty raw greens with oily avocado and bright citrus, as in the photo above. Or I serve a hearty bean soup or stew over a huge bed of fresh baby spinach, which wilts slightly under the heat of the stew.
And, to keep it somewhat seasonal, I make this salad. It’s pretty easy. The fennel is so sharp and crisp and satisfying, while also being a little cleansing. The tart apples add extra crunch, while the bright citrus dressing gives an extra boost of vitamin C and wakes up all my senses, giving me hope for spring.
And here’s my last admission. I didn’t take a picture. That picture above is a totally different salad. It’s dark here in the wintery north, and I couldn’t get the light right. Any photographers out there want to come over? I’ll cook, you teach me how to get a non-sucky photo!
- 1medium bulb Fennel
- juice of 1 lemon
- pinch Sea Salt
- 6cups arugula
- 1 granny smith applepeeled and cubed
- 1/3cup walnutsroughly chopped
- 1 Blood Orange or other small juicing orangejuiced
- 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Sea Saltor to taste
- Remove the stem-like tops from the fennel and cut out the hard “heart” at the bottom of the bulb.
- Place the fennel on its side and thinly slice it crosswise into rings. If you have a mandolin, use this to make extra thin slices.
- Place the rings in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon and a pinch of sea salt and toss to coat well. Let sit on the counter or in the refrigerator for at least one hour. I like to do this in the morning in preparation for the evening meal.
- Make the dressing: Place all ingredients in a mason jar or container with a tight fitting lid and shake well to emulsify.
- To serve: Drizzle the greens generously with dressing (you won’t need it all, dress to taste) Arrange the greens on 2-4 plates and top with fennel slices, apples and walnuts. Sprinkle with Sea Salt. Manga!