As is the case with many healthy eaters, salads make up a large part of my diet. I have been known to have salads, with various veggie, bean, meat, and cheese toppings twice a day. But as I know many of you have found, eating salads in the winter is more difficult due to lack of local produce and salad’s general lack of warmth and comfort. Since we had yet another snow day this week, I decided to make a hearty lunch salad for my husband, who had spent over three hours in the car trying to get to his office, only to end up turning back home because of the icy roads.
I started by thawing out some frozen yellow and orange carrots from Trader Joe’s. On the particular day I bought these, TJ’s had icky looking produce. I am not sure what was up that day, but nevertheless, I went straight for the freezer.
The base of the salad was a Near East tabouli bulgur wheat salad mix. I prepared the bulgur wheat and spice packet according to the box directions, then set it aside.
While the tabouli waited, I diced a small yellow onion and grated several teaspoons of ginger.
I added a palm full of cumin to the onion and ginger mixture, then sautéed it in olive oil. I added the carrots to the onions in the pan, then tossed in some pre-soaked and partially cooked chickpeas.
When the carrots were warm and the pan sizzling, I added the tabouli mixture along with about 1/4 cup of water, stirred well, and let it all simmer.
When everything was well-blended and cooked through, I served up the salad topped with crumbled goat cheese and golden raisins. I am loving these raisins and the sweet punch they bring to dishes with lots of spices.
As you can imagine, this dish was bursting with different flavors and textures. The hearty bulgur wheat was nice and chewy and provided a great canvas for the other ingredients. While I didn’t make the tabouli mix in a traditional manner, I loved this dish and felt like it really gave me energy which I seem to be lacking these days.
I am starting to feel a serious winter slump. As much as I love the possibilities my new career path could provide, being stuck inside all day with dreadful weather and icy sidewalks is bringing me down.
Any advice for kicking the winter blues?