It has been weeks since I’ve been in the kitchen and made something fresh, hearty and healthy. The last few weeks at work and at home have been busy, and I just haven’t had the time to go grocery shopping, put together home-cooked meals, or even exercise the way I would like to.
This stress and departure from healthy habits has in turn led me to feel off-balance, disconnected and not quite myself. I realized that I needed to focus on what’s important to me and I needed to get back to my roots.
Thus, to ground myself once more, I put together a simple, earthy salad with some of the best fall ingredients: radishes, chard, and ground black pepper.
Radishes are a beautifying fall ingredient that help detoxify the liver and stomach. Plus, with the common cold and germs spreading this season, this is also an ideal ingredient to help decongest the lungs, according to Jolene Hart, author of Eat Pretty. I can’t tell you how many people have called in sick the last two weeks at work, so I’m hoping the vitamin C packed into radishes will help me fend off whatever is going around.
Chard: As a salad base, I used a mix of power greens which was primarily comprised of chard. This was perfect, since chard is packed with biotin. As the weather cools and becomes drier, our skin, nails and hair lose their luster as well. That’s where chard can help with cell repair and protection.
As for the black pepper, i felt it would pair well with the radishes, and, being fall, I wanted to use fresh, whole pepper and grind it myself for added flavor. In India, black pepper is used in natural cold remedies, so I thought this would be a fitting and comforting choice for fall.
Using roasting instructions from Deborah Madison’s “The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everybody”, I pan roasted radishes in butter and sesame oil, spread them over a bed of chard, topped it with a few parmesan shavings and dressed it with a homemade lemony-ground pepper dressing. To me, the earthy, spicy flavors of radish and chard reminded me of arugula, which is why I incorporated the parmesan into the salad and lemon into the dressing. To give the dressing more substance, I added a little bit of yogurt. However, this satisfying salad can just as easily be made vegan if you just use oil instead of butter to roast the radishes, and instead make your own simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper to top your greens.
It was delicious! I had leftovers again for lunch today and I already feel like myself again!
Roasted Radishes over Chard
(Adapted from Deborah Madison’s cookbook)
- About 8 or so radishes
- 2 oz chard
- shaved parmesan
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dried herbs – I used marjoram, though Deborah suggested tarragon
- Wash and cut the radishes into quarters. Set aside.
- Melt half of the butter in a skillet with sesame oil (vegans, just use oil, no butter)
- Add radishes to the pan and cook uncovered for a few minutes. Toss the radishes around every now and then to make sure they cook evenly.
- Add lemon juice, remaining butter and herbs. Cover and continue to cook radishes over medium heat for 8-12 minutes until they brown.
- Once the radishes are tender, place them over a bed of chard and top with parmesan shavings.
Vegans can mix together lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper and sea salt to dress this salad.
Ground Pepper Dressing
- 1/8 of a sweet onion, diced
- 2 tbsp whole black pepper
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- Sauté onions in butter (or oil for vegan option).
- While onions sauté, grind whole black pepper into a coarse powder with mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. Set aside.
- Once the onions have become a bit golden and translucent, toss them into a blender with water, lemon juice, olive oil, and sugar and yogurt. Blend together.
- Add salt as needed, blend again, and pour over salad.