Healthy broccoli and cranberry salad + dried cherries, red onion and grapes with a lemon-garlic-yogurt dressing + high-altitude tips.
A shiny new farmer’s market just opened up here in Incline Village (on Lake Tahoe). It’s small – with maybe 15 tents, very personal (one elderly farmer glanced dismissively at the plastic bag of baby kale I handed to him to be weighed, snorted that it wasn’t enough to weigh, and charged me $1.oo), and offers live music while you browse tables laden with just-picked peaches, tomatoes, corn and berries. I went with a friend to check it out last week, and was glad we went early. Word had gotten out, and cars were parked all along the road, families strolling up a small knoll towards the tents with their shopping bags, kids racing ahead to check out the music.
As we poked around the bustling crowd, I spied some fresh cranberry pods and grabbed a few handfuls, quickly stuffing them into a plastic bag. I cook a lot of dried legumes, and the opportunity to get them freshly harvested was a treat. I’m not partial to one bean over another, I love them all, but cranberry beans just might win the beauty contest.
Their creamy pods, lightly tinged with green, and streaked with burgundy remind me of a watercolor painting, and the beans are freckled with the same deep burgundy color. Sadly, the freckles completely blur in the cooking process, but cook up as a creamy bean, similar to a cannellini bean, that marries well with just about anything.
If you’re visiting the Incline Village area, the farmer’s market is on Wednesday afternoons from 4pm – 7pm and is located behind the Tunnel Creek Station Cafe on the way to Sand Harbor. The farmer’s market will run until the end of September.
This is a salad that stands on its own for the vegetarian eater, but wasn’t enough of a meal for my omnivore husband (although he kept asking if there was any of the salad left, long after it was gone). Grilled flank steak, thinly sliced, is a great match for this salad. It doesn’t require a great deal preparation either: just use your favorite rub and grill to the degree of doneness preferred. Allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Flank steak can be a little tough, although it’s very flavorful, and it’s therefore critical that you slice it against the grain!
A great side dish is just a couple of ears of corn, slathered in butter with salt and pepper. Keep it simple as the salad is the true star of the meal.
Serves: Serves 4
- 1 cup yogurt
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup fresh cranberry beans
- 1 cup thinly sliced celery
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- ⅓ cup dried cherries
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- ¾ cup halved grapes
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 4 -5 cups thinly sliced broccoli florets and stems
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan or asiago cheese
- Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup pepitas
- 1 cup Yogurt - Garlic Dressing (recipe above)
- Combine all of the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Bring a pot of water to a simmer and add the cranberry beans. Simmer for until tender: about 20 minutes at sea level; about 50 minutes at 7000 feet above sea level. Drain and place the beans in a medium bowl.
- Add the celery, red onion, dried cherries, cooked rice, grapes, parsley, broccoli, ground flax seed, cheese, and red pepper flakes.
- Add the Yogurt - Garlic Dressing and refrigerate for at least one hour; overnight is even better. This is a salad that gets better over time.
- Serve with a sprinkle of pepitas on top.