One of my New Year’s Intentions this year (which sounds so much more appealing than New Year’s Resolution) was to eat more salads. Specifically I wanted to eat a salad a day. By mid-January I reframed this Intention to 4 – 5 salads a week. And then the Intention became Nice Idea That Might Not Happen, after which I promptly forgot all about it.
I do eat salads, don’t get me wrong, but not enough. Just because I’m mostly vegetarian doesn’t mean I’m mostly healthy.
So salads made only occasional appearances at the table for the first few months of the year. Until this Amy Pennington’s new cookbook, Salad Days, showed up in the mail. It was like the Universe reaching out to me with recipes ready to go, all in an effort to get me back on track. And what a great cookbook it is. Its tagline is “Boost Your Health and Happiness with 75 Simple, Satisfying Recipes for Greens, Grains, Proteins, and More”, and there’s a lot packed in here.
There’s a Pantry section that includes a recipe for making your own apple cider vinegar, and ideas for salad dressings and tidbits that can be easily added. There are chapters on Breakfast Salads and Salads for a Crowd.
There are Grain Bowls (which are all the rage), Bean Salads, and Noodle Salads.
For a seasonal take, there are Winter Salads (the White Beans and Blood Oranges with Spinach and Preserved Lemon is a solid home run), Salads with Fruit, and Cooling Salads.
The book wraps up with some great vinaigrettes and dressings ranging from a super simple Lemon Vinaigrette to a Cashew-Cumin Dressing, Nutty Miso Dressing, and Citrus-Avocado Dressing. I loved the Spicy Avocado Dressing and want to try the Rhubarb Juice Vinaigrette. It sounds so perfect with a spinach salad with strawberries. There are lots of tips throughout the cookbook, and lots of appetizing photos.
In a nutshell, I now have a wonderful way to have several salads a week and still feel like I’m getting a huge variety in my meals. These salads are exciting adventures of flavor, and I highly recommend this cookbook to all of you.
Go here to order it! Just click on the below image of the cookbook. Full disclosure, I’m an Amazon Affiliate and will get a few pennies towards the cost of keeping my blog going. But you won’t pay anything extra for the book!
Herby Peas and Crispy Green Rice
Recipe is from Salad Days, by Amy Pennington, reprinted with permission from publisher. Here, rice is first steamed and then baked in the oven giving it a kaleidoscope of texture in every bite -- chewy, crispy, soft -- that is undeniably entrancing. Then the rice is tossed with a bevy of herbs, lime zest, and sweet snap peas, adding lightness to every bite. It's a delicious meal to make ahead and have ready for pack-and-go lunches, as the rice maintains the texture over time.
- 1 cup basmati rice or other white rice
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup currants (I used golden raisins, because that's what I had on hand)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- 3 ounces sugar snap peas (about 20 pods), very thinly sliced
- 1 green onion, very thinly sliced
- Zest from 1 medium lime
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To cook the rice, in a medium pot with a lid, put the rice and add enough water so the rice is covered by 1 inch of water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, uncover, and set aside for about 5 minutes.
- While rice is cooling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- On a baking sheet, put the cooked rice and drizzle evenly with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Do not stir it, as this will break the grain. Roast the rice for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and stir the rice, coating it more evenly with the oil, and return the pan to the oven. Roast for 10 minutes more and remove the pan, setting it aside to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. (Making this at high altitude required 5 additional minutes for each roasting, for a total of 10 additional minutes.)
- In a large bowl, add the currants, mint, parsley, cilantro, dill, snap peas, green onion, lime zest and juice, honey, salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Once the rice has cooled slightly, add it to the bowl and toss until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this cookbook to review, but there was no obligation and no compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.