This salad is inspired by the namesake at the PCC Natural Markets deli. This is a wildly popular item at the deli, and it is delicious the way they make it, but of course I always like to tweak recipes my way (not that I know the recipe they use even if I wanted to exactly duplicate it). This makes for a fantastic lunch - it is nutritionally dense and very filling.
We harvested some fresh Kale and Swiss Chard from my local CSA farm this week, and this salad is a fantastic way to use up those yummy dark greens. Kale can be tough when eaten raw, but the magic is in how you cut it. Take out the stems, stack the leaves, roll into a bundle lengthwise, and cut into thin 1/4 inch wide ribbons. Treated this way, kale tastes like a complex salad green. Do the same for the swiss chard. I do like to cook with the swiss chard stems, but I saved them for another use. But I don't like kale you
whine say. Well, if it gets you to eat the salad, you could use spinach if you want in addition to, or instead of the kale or swiss chard.
Also, chopped red onion would be nice in the salad. Some chopped up fennel bulb would be awesome, but I didn't have any. As goes the cheese, I love the sharp, tangy, stinky properties of gorgonzola and I think it adds a nice punch to an otherwise earthy salad, but if you don't care for gorgonzola, you could use feta or even goat cheese. If you're vegan, you could leave out the cheese entirely. You see, the beauty of a salad is that it is like an artists canvas. You can add in whatever color or texture you are in the mood for.
In any case, this is a wondefully filling and crunchy salad. And you just feel so damn healthy when you eat it. But most importantly, it is absolutely delicious. Do give it a try and let me know what you think.
Emerald City Green Salad
Inspired by PCC deli and Cynthia Lair
8 Swiss chard leaves
6 Kale leaves
1 Red bell pepper
1 Orange bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 cups cooked wild rice
Gorgozola cheese for garnish
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Grated rind of 1 orange
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1. Cook the wild rice. I use a ratio of 2 1/2 cups water or stock: 1 cup raw rice. Cook for approx. 1 hour until the grains are cooked al dente. Do not cook into a mush.
2. Wash and chop the greens. Chop the bell peppers into small cubes. Rough chop the basil and parsley.
3. Make the dressing by simply mixing all the dressing ingredients.Toss the greens, bell peppers, parsley, basil, and cranberries with the salad dressing.
4. Add the warm rice on top of the greens and wait for 5 minutes. This will just barely wilt the greens and really bring out the color. Now toss the rice and greens, mixing well. Check for seasoning. The salt might seem less, but be cautious before adding more. Remember that if you are using cheese, that will add some saltiness to the salad.
5. Garnish with cheese, if using, and serve at room temperature. A cup of green tea is great on the side. Bring on the goodness!