Every fall, I start running again. There’s something about the cool, fresh air and the thought of having eaten too much at Thanksgiving and the possibility of eating too much at Christmas that makes me want to jump right back into it. And this year, especially. What with breaking my arm in June and going to Uganda for the month of August, I haven’t done enough exercise. And so, a few weeks ago, I decided to try running again, using the Couch to 5K program (there’s even an app for that!).
With all this running comes a desire to eat better. And since I am unable to give up baking and rich foods, I have resorted to eating more salad. More specifically, eating more of this salad. You might look at the list of ingredients and think, “What?!?!?” But I assure you, the mix is amazing. The tang of the maple-balsamic vinaigrette against the sweet grapes, pears and dried berries with the salty cheese and crisp onions and crunchy nuts is out of this world. It is so delicious that I’ve been eating it as my afternoon snack every day when I get home from work.
The recipe is from Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine and the directions below are how she suggests making it. If, however, you want to eat the salad all on your own (like me), just make up a batch of vinaigrette that you keep in the cupboard and caramelize the onions and store those in the fridge. Then, each time you want to eat some, throw some pre-washed lettuce in a bowl, mix it with some vinaigrette, chop up and put on as much of the other toppings as you want and enjoy! I find eating it in a bowl with a spoon is the best way to get a variety of tastes in you mouth with every bite (forks just don’t cut it).
Note: It takes about 45 minutes to caramelize the onions, so don’t start the salad the first time right before you want to eat it or you’ll be waiting for a long time!
Harvest Salad (adapted slightly from Bread and Wine)
What you need for the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
What you need for the salad:
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 pound mixed greens
2 pears, chopped (peel on or not)
2 cups seedless grapes
1 cup dried berries
1 cup walnuts, chopped
4-ounces of feta, crumbled
What to do:
Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the syrup, mustard and vinegar until smooth. Add the olive oil and shake or mix together. Taste and add salt and pepper if you want.
Caramelize the onions: Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan on medium-low heat and add the thinly sliced onions. Cook for about 45 minutes, until they are a rich, dark brown.
Assemble the salad: Toss the greens with half the vinaigrette. Add the rest of the toppings, then add the rest of the vinaigrette and toss again.