What is healthy? I am still figuring that out. Sure I try to “eat the rainbow.” I eat whole grains and unprocessed foods, but not always. I have a sweet tooth, a really big sweet tooth. I also love pasta, cheese, wine, beer and caffeine. Put a big juicy, cheeseburger in front of me and I’ll eat it, no problem. I don’t diet, but I try to stay balanced. I like Julia Child’s famous quote “everything in moderation, including moderation.” I don’t deny myself certain foods. If I eat cheeseburger for dinner followed by a brownie one day, I’ll eat healthier meals the next day. I also love to run. Before I got pregnant with N, I ran 20-25 miles a week. 3 weeks ago I gave birth so I am still recovering, but I am getting antsy. I can’t wait to run again. I can’t wait to feel more balanced again.
Since I can’t run to help moderate the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I inhale daily, I eat fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal. Does it make me healthy? I don’t know, but it makes me feel better about eating cookies. I love a good salad, so when I found a recipe in September’s Bon Appetit for a fennel and orange salad with lemon-ginger vinaigrette, I gave it a shot. I adapted the recipe only slightly by adding raw agave nectar to the vinaigrette and blueberries to the salad. I also used baby kale instead of mustard greens. Bubba is not a fan of mustard greens so I opted for baby kale which has a more subtle flavor. The salad was a success, meaning even Bubba will eat it again! I love fennel. It adds a great crunch to salads and I find the licorice flavor addictive.
Skip store-bought croutons and make your own! I don’t usually add croutons to my salads, but this recipe called for them. Simply take a French baguette, slice it thinly and toast at 375 for 8-10 minutes. The little pieces of toasted bread soaked up the dressing perfectly and tasted so fresh!
The thinly sliced fennel and toasted baguette slices give this salad a great crunch. The fruit’s soft texture is a nice contrast to the snap of the other ingredients. The baby kale adds subtle flavor to the salad. If you want a pronounced flavor, try kale or mustard greens. The lemon-ginger vinaigrette is bright and refreshing and a nice change from our staple balsamic vinaigrette. I took Bobby Flay’s advice and added a little salt and fresh ground black pepper to the salad before dressing it. Yum!
Fennel, Orange and Blueberry Salad with Lemon-Ginger Vinaigrette
recipe barely adapted from Bon Appetit
1/4 baguette, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
a squeeze of raw agave nectar or to taste
2 navel oranges, peeled, pith removed, membranes removed
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup of fennel fronds
4 oz. baby kale
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Pre-heat your oven to 375. Slice the baguette and place it on a baking sheet. Toast for 8-10 minutes. Let cool and break into pieces.
To make the dressing: whisk together, in a large bowl vinegar, lemon, and orange zests, ginger and pepper. Season with kosher salt and whisk in olive oil.
Add the orange slices, blueberries, fennel, fennel fronds, baby kale and croutons to the bowl. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Toss to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy!
5 New Salads to Try Now!
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I love Ranch dressing, but I don’t love the calories or the fat. Not Without Salt has a lighter, healthier version of the classic. Give it a shot!