In the time-honored but not terribly effective tradition of ignoring things in the hopes that they will just disappear, I have consciously not mentioned the weather lately. We were hit with a snow storm in the second week of November, and due to unseasonably cold temperatures (highs in the mid-twenties instead of the typical mid-forties), the snow banks have stuck around. On top of that, daylight savings time took away the last gasps of evening light, with the sun setting just as I leave work. Psychologically, this is never an easy season for me, but this year my mid-winter slump is setting in two months early.
So instead of posting yet another soup recipe, or a new approach to roasting squash (there will be plenty of time for that in the months ahead), I’m going to write about salad. Salads, particularly colorful ones, help me cope with the cold drabness of November (and December, January, February, and March). Traditional, mayonnaise-laden Waldorf salad is the sort of thing I typically avoid, but this is not your grandmother’s Waldorf salad. The yogurt dressing has a tangy spiciness, thanks to the addition of Dijon mustard and crushed red pepper (if you prefer your food mild, start with 1/8 teaspoon and add more to taste if desired). The sweetness of the apple and grapes somewhat temper the spiciness of the the dressing, while chickpeas fill it out to an entrée. Since you need to prepare the salad ahead of time anyway, it makes a nice workday lunch (it also keeps well–I made it on a Monday night and ate the last, still crisp portion for lunch on Friday). Just be sure to keep the salad and spinach separate until serving.
Serves 4 as a light entrée
5.3 ounce container of non-fat plain Greek yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
sweet, firm apple, such as Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Gala, cored and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup red grapes
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
5 ounce container fresh spinach (about 4 cups), for serving
Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, crushed red pepper, and pepper in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, celery, apple, grapes, onion, parsley, and walnuts.
Pour in dressing and toss until evenly coated.
Chill salad for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend and mellow and up to 5 days. Serve over spinach.