SLICE OF LIFE
One of the biggest problems with the week of Pesach is that so much of the food is so heavy. Eggs, oil, matzah meal and meat — lots and lots of meat and chicken, and then maybe some more meat. Sometimes, all you want is a little bit of nothing to fill in the times between the gigantor meals or to serve with the gigantor meals. Enter the salad.
For everyone who's ever read my columns, you know I'm not talking about opening a bag of pre-packed greens and drizzling on some pre-packaged dressing. I'm saying I have some knock-out fabulous recipes for you to whip up. They are terrific, and it's not an accident that they just so happen to be kosher for Pesach.
The stand on their own as a quick snack, can be served at a meat or dairy meal, and are so good that you can offer them all year round. Oh, and there's no matzah at all in any of the recipes. Nada, zero, zip, none — and I do mean less than none so that anyone, like me, who thinks that eating matzah is akin to munching on cardboard can rejoice.
Just in case you want to serve a dairy meal during the week, the addition of cheese to some of these salads adds protein and a nice smooth taste.
Spinach and Mango Pepper Salad
- 2 ripe avocados, cubed
3 Tbsps. lime juice, divided
2 ripe mangoes, cubed
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. grated lime zest
1/4 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsps. chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
3 Tbsps. olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cut into slivers
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
In a bowl, combine the avocado cubes with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice.
Add the mango, jalapeño and salt; mix combine. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice, zest, sugar and parsley.
Whisk in the oil until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the bell peppers and spinach; toss to combine.
Serve in a large bowl or on individual plates.
Note: Shredded Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese goes well with this salad.
Avocado Onion and Hearts of Palm Salad
- 1 can (14 oz.) can hearts of palm, drained, sliced into rounds
4 ripe avocados, diced
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2-1 cups pine nuts, toasted
bib or red-leaf lettuce leaves, shredded
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 Tbsps. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
2 tsps. dried dill
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
Place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together (you can also put the ingredients in a container with a tight lid and shake it to combine). Set the dressing aside.
In a large salad bowl, combine the hearts of palm, avocado and red onions.
Add the dressing and toss to coat.
Divide the lettuce between 8 plates and mound the hearts of palm mixture on top.
Sprinkle the pine nuts on top.
- 40 asparagus stalks, ends trimmed cut in half
2 Tbsps., plus 1/3 cup, olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsps. honey
1-2 Tbsps. chopped parsley
2 tsps. minced garlic
mixed salad greens
2 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the asparagus pieces on a cookie sheet with sides and drizzle the 2 tablespoons of oil over the top.
Sprinkle the kosher salt and pepper over the top. Roast the asparagus just until it's starting to wilt, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, oil and garlic. Whisk together, then add the chopped parsley. Whisk to combine again, and taste adjusting the sweetness and salt levels to your taste.
Add the apple pieces and mix to coat.
Divide the salad greens between 8 plates. Divide the asparagus pieces between the 8 plates and mound them on top of the greens.
Spoon the apple dressing over the top of the asparagus and on the greens.
Top with the toasted walnuts.
- 1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup sliced pimiento stuffed green olives, sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsps. minced red onions
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
3-4 stalks chopped celery
2 Tbsps. minced parsley
2 tsps. minced garlic
11/2 tsps. black pepper
4-5 cups spinach leaves
1 cup chopped tomato, garnish
Place the black and green olives, as well as the olive oil, sugar, red onion, celery, parsley and pepper in a bowl. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The olive mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days).
Divide the spinach between 8 plates.
Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the olive mixture and top with chopped tomatoes. There will be more than enough olive mixture for this salad. It's also great on Pesach rolls and matzah.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance food writer and the author of Perfectly Pareve. E-mail her at: ztlog@ gmail.com. Her blog address is: Cuisinebyeileen.wordpress.com.