Saturday, January 9, 2016

Celery Salad with Almonds and Dates

So, how are those resolutions going? That bad, huh? That’s why I don’t do resolutions.

Actually, I don’t need as much will power as one might think when it comes to eating healthier in January than I did in December and November. Perhaps because I get my year’s worth of sugar and refined flour and stodgy fare in those months, I tend to develop a taste for light, green, crunchy things. Even celery.

Okay, so I’m not into munching exclusively on a big bowl of cellulose. Toss it with some lemon, almonds, and dates (hey, I haven’t completely lost my craze for sweet things), though, and we’re talking something simple and satisfying. Never mind that it’s actually pretty healthy.

Actually, I was eating this salad in between batches of cookies and bags of minty and chocolaty candies back in the sugary months. It was a delicious way to try convince myself that I wasn’t eating all that badly during the holidays. I think I’ll bring it out again, since I actually got brave enough to step on the scale recently. (It wasn’t that bad.)

This salad is best eaten right away, because the dates soak up the dressing and get a little mushy. If, like me, you don’t mind mushy dates (I’m so into dates right now for some reason!), the refrigerated leftovers will be good to go back to for a few days.

This salad is also quick and easy enough to keep making more when you run out. Try different nuts and dried fruit, or add some fresh parsley, or how about some thawed frozen peas? Even if you don’t have a celery-based resolution to keep, this is a good side dish or light lunch salad to brighten up some of the dreariness of winter.

Celery Salad with Almonds and Dates
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine

½ cup sliced almonds
8 large celery stalks, thinly sliced (include any nice leaves)
6 dates, pitted and chopped
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup coarsely shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Lightly toast the almonds on a baking sheet on a 350 F oven or in a dry pan over medium-low heat on the stove. Set aside to cool.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the celery, dates, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Pour in the lemon juice and olive oil. Toss together to coat well. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss together to distribute. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.

Makes about 6 servings.

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