For salad in autumn, go with the grain

September 17, 1997|By Deborah Madison | Deborah Madison,EATING WELL

By September, I'm starting to long for colorful foliage, brisk breezes, a rich hot stew.

But the reality of life in Baltimore -- and in much of the country, for that matter -- is that summer's heat generally lingers well into the fall. So I bridge the seasons with main-course salads -- not leafy little summer salads, but something more hearty -- a mix, say, of grains, beans and nuts, garnished with crisp fresh vegetables.

Either of the salads featured here, particularly when paired with a hearty whole-grain quick bread, makes a meal ideal for September's warm evenings while still offering a nod toward the bolder appetites of autumn.

Beet salad

Makes 4 servings

4 medium beets ( 3/4 pound), scrubbed, with root ends and 1 inch of stems left intact

1/3 cup walnuts

1 bunch watercress or arugula, trimmed (about 5 cups)

1/2 cup curry vinaigrette

L 1 Golden Delicious apple, quartered, cored and thinly sliced

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/4 cup raisins

In a large pot, steam beets until tender, about 30 minutes.

In a small dry skillet, toast walnuts over low heat, stirring. Toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes (or toast in a toaster oven). Let cool; coarsely chop. Set aside.

When beets are done, slip off skins under running water. Cut beets into wedges and set aside.

In a large shallow serving bowl, toss watercress (or arugula) with 1/3 of the vinaigrette.

In a bowl, toss apple, celery and reserved walnuts with half of the remaining vinaigrette. Mound in center of greens. Make a well in the apple mixture.

In the bowl, toss raisins and reserved beets with remaining vinaigrette. Arrange in the center of the apple mixture. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 225 calories; 5 g protein, 13 g fat; 25 g carbohydrate; 210 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 6 g fiber

Curry vinaigrette

Makes 1/2 cup

3 tablespoons apple cider

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

fresh black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons walnut oil

In a small bowl, whisk cider, vinegar, shallots, curry powder, mustard, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Whisk in oil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. (The vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)

Per tablespoon: 40 calories per tablespoon; 0 g protein; 3 g fat; 2 g carbohydrate; 70 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g fiber.

Chickpea-couscous salad

Makes about 6 servings

3/4 cup couscous or bulgur

1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika

fresh black pepper to taste

tarragon-yogurt dressing

In a large bowl, cover couscous (or bulgur) with warm water. Let stand until tender, 15 to 30 minutes. Drain in a sieve, gently pressing out excess water. Return to mixing bowl.

In a small dry skillet, toast walnuts (or pine nuts) over low heat, stirring. Toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes (or toast in a toaster oven). Let cool, then coarsely chop. Add chickpeas, cucumber, parsley, scallions, tarragon, lemon zest and nuts to couscous. Toss to combine.

With the side of a chef's knife, mash garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a small bowl; whisk in lemon juice, oil and paprika. Toss lemon dressing with salad. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing dressing separately.

Per serving: 290 calories; 11 g protein; 11 g fat; 38 g carbohydrate; 590 mg sodium; 1 mg cholesterol; 9 g fiber.

Tarragon-yogurt dressing

Makes about 3/4 cup

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon

pinch of cayenne pepper

Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth or paper towels and place over a bowl. Spoon in yogurt and drain at room temperature for 25 minutes. With the side of a chef's knife, mash garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a small bowl; whisk in drained yogurt, oil, tarragon and cayenne. Adjust seasoning with salt.

Per tablespoon: 15 calories; 1 g protein; 1 g fat; 2 g carbohydrate; 60 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0 g fiber.

Pub Date: 9/17/97

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