I spent some time with my family this weekend, and as per usual, my grandpa sent me home with some home grown goodies. During the winter his trees are bursting with tons of citrus like tangerines, grapefruits and lemons and my car gets loaded up with plenty of gorgeous fruit, but this time around I came home with a huge bag of Swiss chard. He must have known I’ve been craving greens lately.
I’ve been craving greens in the worst way. I am pretty sure I felt the same way this time last year, because I remember making and eating a super salad like this one every day for lunch for almost a month. I have to say, I’ve never tried Swiss chard raw in a salad before, at least not that I remember. I usually eat it sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic, in soup or in tomato sauce over pasta. Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens, and I have a hard time resisting picking it up every time I pass by it at the produce market. As excited as I am to have so much Swiss chard in my possession (only half is shown in the picture above), I’m slightly concerned I may run out of ideas of how to cook it up in the next week.
Have you tried Swiss chard? What’s your favorite way to cook it up?
This salad is riff off a classic that you’ve surely seen before. It’s been made with spinach, even with kale alone, but this time I bulked it up with even more nutrition from the raw chard. What makes this salad a little more special is the maple vinaigrette. I normally use honey to sweeten up my homemade vinaigrettes, but this time around I thought the maple would really complement the heavy greens, walnuts and blue cheese, and you know what – it did. It added such a warm mellow sweetness to the salad, and with a little extra brightness from the sweet paprika added I threw in at the last minute.
I am picturing this salad topped with a nice piece of broiled spicy-sweet salmon as a perfect “entree” salad. That might just have to happen for dinner tonight.
Kale and Chard Green Power Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
I usually don't list quantities when it comes to salad ingredients because I really believe a great salad is always created based on personal preference and what you have on hand. Because I am mindful to calories, I tend to go lighter on the cheese and cranberries on this salad, and heavier on the walnuts and apple. Make it your own and enjoy.
For the salad:
lacinato kale, thinly sliced
Swiss chard, thinly sliced
crumbled blue cheese
thinly sliced or chopped apple (I used Pink Lady - so crisp and perfectly sweet)
For the Maple Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or any light flavored oil)
good pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Prepare your vinaigrette by placing all its ingredients in a small jar or container. Shake well until thoroughly combined. Store in fridge for up to 3 days.
Combine your greens in a bowl. Pour a couple of tablespoons over your greens and toss to combine. Massage gently with your hands, or let sit for a few minutes to tenderize the greens.
Add your blue cheese crumbles, walnuts, cranberries and apple to salad, gently toss and drizzle additional vinaigrette if desired.
Tip: Wash your greens as whole leaves by placing in a large bowl or a clean sink. Fill bowl or sink with cold water and gently shake, allowing any dirt trapped in the small parts to get released. I like to set out on clean dish towels to fully dry on the counter, patting with paper towels to help it along. I store the leaves whole, loosely wrapped in paper towels in my produce drawer. If the leaves are smaller, I place them in a ziplock bag.
I started Aggie's Kitchen in June of 2008 and it's grown into a place where I go to hang out and share what I'm cooking for myself, my family and my friends. Most of the recipes I cook are healthy... but the occasional treat is permitted. (more)
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