Even with the freezing temperatures, I have been craving salad. Yes, salad. Just call me veggie queen.
Salad isn’t salad in the winter though as most favorite ingredients are out of season (Read: TOMATOES!). And the thought of cold, raw vegetables doesn’t seem quite right when it’s 11 degrees outside. But sometimes a light salad in the middle of winter is the right move after all the hearty soups and meals. So I had an idea after seeing a random recipe with jalapeños. I love all things spicy and any reason to throw a few hot peppers into a dish. What if I cooked the peppers and threw them into a salad? Hmm, that just might be fantastic. So that’s what I did. I cooked everything up and tossed it into a lovely red-leafed green salad!
So, if you’re craving a bit of summer right now, this salad might make you forget about the snow falling outside right now.
1 head of red-leafed lettuce
1 colored pepper (red, orange or yellow) sliced into small pieces
1-2 jalapeño peppers, sliced into small pieces
1 small onion, sliced into thin strips
5 artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 C garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 tbsp chia seeds
Wash and slice up the peppers and onion and toss into a sauté pan with a touch of olive oil. Over a medium-high heat, get them into a level layer and allow them to sit for about five minutes. This will allow them to brown and sweeten. Give them a toss and lower the heat. They don’t need to be overly cooked – you want them softened but still with a bit of a bite. Add the artichokes and beans at the end to warm them for a few minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
While the peppers and onions are cooking, wash and cut the lettuce into thin ribbons. I have fallen in love with this red-leafed lettuce that I find in the organic section but a soft Boston lettuce is excellent too. One way to elevate the flavor of your salads is to use different kinds of lettuce. (Note: I’m not a fan of bagged lettuce as they are prone to going bad quickly and each individual bag takes gallons upon gallons of water to clean.) Sometimes I will wash both a red-leaf and Boston and mix them for one salad. Depends on how jazzy I’m feeling…
Back to the salad. Place half the lettuce in a large bowl and add the cooled veggies to the middle and top with the rest of the lettuce. Sprinkle the chia seeds (Note: Any kind of nut like pine or walnut would be great here.) and top with your favorite dressing. I’ve been hot for a rather French-inspired dressing with mustard and strong vinegar lately but it’s up to you. Toss and dream of summer. She’s just around the corner. Enjoy!