Salads Take Center Stage

Salads Take Center Stage

With an abundance of innovative and fresh ingredients more accessible than ever—salads are no longer part of the supporting cast—they have taken center stage!

Along with warmer weather and al fresco dining, our food choices begin to shift from hearty lasagna and soups to lighter sides and SALADS. With an abundance of innovative and fresh ingredients more accessible than ever—salads are no longer part of the supporting cast—they have taken center stage!

Given the state of California is one of the largest producers of lettuce and tomatoes and more than 99 percent of the commercial walnut crop comes from the Golden State—it makes sense the state has its own designated Salad Bowl region. It also makes sense that the versatile walnut, with its earthy flavor profile should play the starring role in a host of salad combinations including everything from farro and beets to kale and pancetta.

Who better than accomplished California chefs and cookbook authors to take on the delicious challenge of creating irresistible entrée sized salads chock-full of walnuts. Chef Randall Selland creates a Walnut, Cabbage and Udon Noodle Salad that is simply prepared and promises a satisfyingly flavorful vegetal crunch.  Cookbook author Aida Mollenkamp offers an inspired Baby Beet Salad with Chevre and Savory Caraway-Walnut Granola that uses an inventive application of toasted oats to add exciting texture and balance bright flavors. Chef and cookbook author Joanne Weir shares a perfectly satiating, citrusy and salty-sweet, toothsome Grain Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Dates and Grapefruit.  Not only are these creations full of hearty and delicious flavors—they include generous amounts of walnuts, which offer omega-3-packed nutrition (2.5 grams per one ounce serving) and plenty of crunch.[1]

For additional salad inspiration, we have created an interactive Salad Builder tool that offers a creative and fun way to mix and match ingredient combinations to develop unique and hearty entrée worthy salads! This whimsically illustrated magnetic tool is not only fun to use, but offers guidelines to help you build your own winning recipe.  We’re including a depiction of the piece below – please let us know if you’d like us to send you one to play with!

 

Grain Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Dates and Grapefruit

Toasted walnuts, tart grapefruit sections and sweet dates are added to cooked quinoa and millet in this beautiful salad that is perfect as a main course at lunch, or a side dish at dinner.

For the dressing:

 

For the salad:

 

Preheat oven to 375° F.

For the dressing, place the grapefruit zest in a small bowl.  Add the vinegar and olive oil. Set aside.

Place the millet and quinoa in a saucepan over medium high heat, shaking the pan constantly, to toast the grains, 4 minutes.  Immediately add 2 ¼ cups water and ¾ teaspoon salt.  Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until all of the moisture is absorbed and the grains are cooked, 15 to 18 minutes.  Check the bottom of the pan periodically to see that the grains don’t burn.  Remove the grains from the pan and place on a baking sheet.  Spread the grains on the baking sheet and let cool.

Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until they are fragrant and light golden, 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Break the walnuts halves in half. 

Using a sharp knife, cut the tops and bottoms off the grapefruit to reveal the colored flesh.  Place one of the cut sides down on a work surface.  Using a small sharp knife, cut off the peel and white pith from top to bottom.  Turn the fruit to the opposite cut side, and remove any white pith.  Cut the grapefruit into sections, cutting between the membranes.  Place the sections in a large salad bowl and set aside.  With the center of the remaining grapefruit, squeeze 2 tablespoons of the juice adding it to the bowl with the dressing.  Season the dressing with salt. 

In the large bowl containing the grapefruit sections, add the dates, walnuts, quinoa, millet and parsley.  Add the dressing and toss together. 

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information per serving:  410 calories, 9g protein, 53g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 20g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 7g monounsaturated fat, 10g polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Joanne Weir for the California Walnut Board

 

Walnut, Cabbage and Udon Noodle Salad

This crisp salad couldn't be more simple to prepare with its colorful medley of shredded vegetables and thick hearty noodles. The walnuts provide a satisfying crunch!

 

For the dressing:

 

Whisk dressing ingredients together and let rest for 30 minutes.

Cook udon noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Toss walnuts, noodles, vegetables and herbs together. Add enough dressing to coat vegetables and walnuts, and serve.

Serves 6

Nutrition information per serving: 480 calories, 12g protein, 51g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 27g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 9.5g monounsaturated fat, 11.5g polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 660mg sodium

Recipe Courtesy of Randall Selland for the California Walnut Board

 

Baby Beet Salad with Chevre and Savory Caraway-Walnut Granola

Here the classic combination of roasted beets and fresh goat cheese is brought to a new level thanks to the addition of a Walnut-Pecorino Savory Granola.

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes

For the granola:

 

For the vinaigrette:

 

For the salad:

 

For the granola:

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Combine oats, walnuts, cheese, caraway seeds, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

Place the egg white, honey, soy, and oil in a small bowl and whisk until foamy. Pour into the oat mixture and stir until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown throughout, stirring every 10 minutes, about 25 to 30 minutes total (keep in mind granola will continue to crisp as it cools). Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the granola cool completely. (Granola can be made up to 5 days in advance; store in an airtight container at room temperature.)

For the vinaigrette:

Place all ingredients in a jar, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, close, and shake until all ingredients are incorporated and come together as a vinaigrette, about 30 seconds. Just before serving, taste, adjust seasoning as desired. (Vinaigrette can be made up to 5 days in advance; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)

For the salad:

Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Spread the beets on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the beets for 20 minutes then remove from oven and flip onto other side. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re knife tender and golden brown,. (Beets can be roasted up to 5 days in advance; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)

To serve, divide greens among serving plates, top with roasted beets, cheese, granola, and drizzle each salad with a few spoonfuls of vinaigrette.

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information per serving:  460 calories, 13g protein, 34g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 32g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 10g monounsaturated fat, 12g polyunsaturated fat,  28.6mg cholesterol, 490mg sodium

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Aida Mollenkamp for the California Walnut Board

 

[1] One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13 g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha linolenic acid - the plant based omega-3; 2g of fiber; 4g of protein. (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl)