Winter Blues Salad: Sweet Potatos, Almonds, Goat Cheese, Mandarin Oranges, and Craisins on a Bed of Arugula; PLUS, A Little Venting…Yum
I’m really in love with this salad. You don’t always think of salad in the winter but this is a hearty salad perfect for cooler weather, as it pairs sweet potatoes, crunchy almonds, mandarin oranges, creamy goat cheese, craisins and a finish of balsamic glaze and olive oil on top of a bed of peppery arugula.
The mandarin “cuties” have been a staple of my pregnancy thus far so it’s no surprise that they made it onto this salad. They’ve been in season for a while now, and I love how handy they are to eat on the go (no seeds!) and add to salads, desserts, etc. They’re a great citrus pick me up to counter the winter blues.
Oddly enough, this salad has commenced a bit of a salad renaissance for me. You see, I used to eat salad everyday, twice a day- I mean I ate a lot of salad. As someone who tries to eat pretty low carb and paleo, salad is a staple. But for the first trimester of my pregnancy, I wanted NOTHING to do with salad. Morning sickness and salad are not a match made in heaven so that is understandable. My two things I wanted to eat all the time so far during my pregnancy have been chili (like this bison and sweet potato chili, any way I can get it, and kale smoothies from whole foods (perhaps to replace all the salad I wasn’t eating!).
But when I could finally start eating salad, this is the one I went for. I originally made this 2 autumns ago for my cookbook club meet up where the theme was “autumn harvest”.
The cookcook club has been on a bit of hiatus because it is my turn to host and I haven’t had a kitchen for nearly 7 months as we’ve embarked on a whole house renovation. Oh, all this whole time during my pregnancy. Do you feel even a little sympathetic for me yet? As I type this, my husband is doing some trim work to the house, using the nail gun, driving my dogs and cat totally bonkers. They hate the nail gun and are frantically pacing, a state of pure anxiety. As the contractor is a good 2 months behind, my husband is frantically trying to finish up his own projects, and we are still living in the guest room that will eventually be the baby’s nursery, I’m starting to think I will go into labor with a paint brush in my hand. Less than 3 months to go and lots to do still! I hope this baby isn’t born a total stress case as a reflection of my state the past 6months.
Okay, enough of my bitching. I just had to get it out. I feel better now. If you ever decide to do a whole house renovation while still living in the house (why would you do that- to save money of course) then I recommend a LOT of wine, a prescription of Xanax, and joining a support group. Oh and a few marriage counseling sessions couldn’t hurt!
The wine and Xanax have been out for me of course because I’ve been pregnant (I mean I’ve had a glass here and there but not the amount it requires to actually de-compress!). The only thing that’s been available to me has been aromatherapy oils (okay who are we kidding here) and of course, I do really look forward to those kale smoothies, even it involves a trip to the Aventura Whole Foods, which is not usually a low stress shopping experience.
Okay, I’m really done bitching now. I just had to get that off my chest. I hope you enjoy this salad and that it brightens your day the same way it does mine.
Ingredients, Makes 4 salads
- One large container washed baby arugula, approximately 6 cups
- 6 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 sweet potato, cubed and roasted (I usually microwave this for 6 minutes first, then cube and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I toss in coconut oil first).
- 1 cup lower sugar craisins or dried cherries
- 8 oz goat cheese
- olive oil, to taste – always use HIGH QUALITY
- 4 tbsp balsamic glaze
- salt, pepper to taste
Divide arugula, oranges, almonds, sweet potatoes, craisins and goat cheese among 4 bowls. Finish each bowl with a drizzle or olive oil and balsamic glaze. Enjoy!!