April 11, 2008

Champagne salad

Other than the fact that I'm vegan, I don't think of myself as a picky eater. But maybe I'm a little picky. Recently I spotted a beautifully arranged and photographed salad on veg lounge ("the most awesome salad in the world") that I thought would be a perfect accompaniment to the polenta and braised vegetables that we were planning to serve guests last night. As a plus, the dressing used a Trader Joe's product, orange muscat champagne vinegar, that I'd spotted long ago, but had never purchased. Now I had a good reason. So, I wrote a list of ingredients. Hmmm. Steamed beets. But I only eat beets to be polite, never by choice. The two exceptions to that are in borscht, if it has lots of lemon, and shredded raw if someone else has done the shredding. (I learned to eat raw shredded beetroot when we lived in Australia and it appeared heaped on lentil burgers and in the Australian classic, "salad sandwich.") I decided to substitute carrot.

Hmmm. Candied pecans. There's something about the taste of sweetened nuts that I dislike in a big way. Sorry, Sangeeta, there can't be candied nuts of any kind. And truthfully, although I like nuts, I never used to eat them combined with other food unless ground up, as in almond cookies. I still never eat them in baked goods or ice cream, or chocolate. I've learned to enjoy them in savory dishes, but prefer them added whole. I've lately become fond of pistachios, so decided to use those in the salad instead of chopped almonds and candied pecans. I added crystallized ginger for a punch of zingy sweetness.

The dressing was delicious, and fat-free as well - in the original version. I added a tablespoon of olive oil to mellow the sharpness of the lemon just a little. I recommend trying Sangeeta's version, it looks fabulous. But my version was also fantastic, so try it , too. The salad season approaches.

Champagne salad
one large carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted natural pistachios, shelled
1/4 cup crystallized ginger bits
1 avocado, sliced
handful of grape tomatoes
bowlful of mixed baby greens

3-4 Tablespoons orange muscat champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons low sodium natural soy sauce, shoyu or tamari
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil

Mix the dressing, pour over the salad, toss. You might want to reserve a few pistachios and ginger bits to throw over the top.

1 comment:

  1. This definitely does sound fabulous! I never got used to grated fresh beets, either--though I do like them cooked (and in borscht, too). The dressing sounds lovely!


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