A lot of folks I know avoid eating salad in the fall and winter. If they are anything like me, I suspect it is because it is so darned cold outside; the last thing you want to eat is cold food. Being cold inside and out leaves you with a kind of empty feeling in your belly, like you barely ate.
We here in the cold climes turn to stews and meat + root veggies to keep our insides warm; it was only recently, however, that I realized that soup still has a bad rep. Soup has been voted stew's meek cousin; unfulfilling and watery. I had friends over for dinner and had said I was making soup, and my friends had to admit once they started eating the (very hearty) soup/stew that they had actually gone for pre-dinner out of concern that they would be super hungry, still, after "soup".
When I discovered warm salads last year, it changed my whole life (this may be an overstatement, but only a slight one). These aren't something you can make ahead, because the beauty of these salads is that the warm ingredient - be it bacon and grease, or eggs and oil, or fatty steak - wilts the spinach and lettuce on contact making the whole thing super delicious. Luckily they are super quick and easy to assemble on the fly. Cooking the whole shebang takes about 5 minutes, and warm salads are my breakfast and dinner many days of the week. Love 'em. A lot of friends that have stopped in for weeknight breakfast or dinner were like me and had never had one of these warm salads before; my buddy Jules is a full out convert and makes what she calls "your pork chop bowl", a warm salad, on an almost non-stop basis. I like to add everything-but-the-kitchen-sink to mine and keep a stash of all sorts of pickled things in the fridge.
Over the next week, I'm going to post my favourite recipes - including jar soups for work - that fully disprove the idea that soups and salads leave you hungry when it is cold outside.
Warm and hearty pumpkin egg salad
For each meal sized salad, in 1-2 t coconut oil, fry three very small eggs or two large eggs until egg is set but yolk is runny; while still hot, puncture the yolks and toss in a big bowl containing the following:
- 1-4 cups spinach and romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup raw or dry roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds - aka pepitas
- 1/4 cup canned or fresh squash or pumpkin puree
- generous splash of balsamic vinegar - 1-2 T
- copious amounts of sea salt and pepper
Bonus items, add as many as you like of the following:
- 2 T sauerkraut*
- 1/2 fresh tomato, sliced*
- 2 T sliced green olives
- 1 T capers
- pickled hot pepper rings or peperoncini peppers
- 2-4 sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 fresh tomato, sliced
- diced dill pickles
- steamed cabbage or brussels sprouts or other cruciferous veggie of choice**
*these items are my favourites to add to this salad
**I usually use what my Dad would call the "scuffy skillman" approach and put about 0.5-1 cup frozen or diced veggies into microwave safe bowl, cover with plate, and heat for 5-7 minutes until cooked. Easy, no need to add extra water - the water in the veggies will cook them for you.