Now that it's the new year, I know I am ready for a time-out in the potato, bread, pasta and desserts categories. I love to create luscious holiday fare, and I throw caution to the wind when it comes to butter, oil, cream of any sort, sugar and anything that resembles cookies or cakes. I relish the challenge of recreating dishes I adore and make them my own.
But now it's time to take stock and come up with some dishes that fall into the light and healthy arena. My caveat is that they also must taste really good. This salad is a staple at my house when we are all craving simpler dishes that make us feel good. I have many variations of this salad, but the following recipe is a good start.
The lemony whole-grain mustard dressing is just the ticket to dress these slightly bitter greens. Remember that you can use this vinaigrette with any other green salad with equally satisfying results. If you can find Meyer lemons, use them for an even deeper citrus flavor. Serve this salad as a side dish with grilled fish or poultry or as a main course for lunch. I also like to serve this with a cup of lentil soup or split pea soup for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
Tangerine, Mixed Greens and Quinoa Salad
Serves 5 to 6 as a side dish or 3 to 4 as a main dish
For the salad:
10 ounces arugula (10 ounce bag)
1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
2 seedless tangerines like Satsumas, peeled and sectioned and cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup Marcona almonds
For the dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon style whole grain mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
1. In a salad bowl combine arugula, quinoa, tangerine pieces, pomegranate seeds and almonds together, and toss to evenly blend.
2. In a mini food processor combine the salad dressing ingredients. Process until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning.
3. Just before serving, toss with just enough of the dressing to coat the salad ingredients and garnish with the Parmesan cheese. Serve remaining dressing on the side. Serve immediately.
Cook's notes: To cook the quinoa, rinse 3/4 cup quinoa, combine quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock, and boil it for 10 minutes. Let cool.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Parties," and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)