“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
― Neil Gaiman
If anything positive came from the pandemic, the past couple of years have reinforced important health routines. Since I teach high school, I am surrounded by germs all day. I have learned to be fastidious about hand-washing, cleaning surfaces in my classroom, and making sure I am hydrated and take my vitamins. I also think it is important to eat a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables. While we eat a lot of roasted vegetables in our house, my husband John and I also like a fresh salad to accompany our meals. I tend to like a tart flavor profile, and he prefers a sweeter dressing and ingredients. So this salad suits both of our tastes.
John and my step son Lukas make our own maple syrup, so I thought it would be neat to incorporate some Skandia syrup in a dressing. I bulked up the greens with finely chopped Brussels sprouts, and some tart green apple slices. I am low in iron, so I like to incorporate kale and other greens into my diet. Incidentally, for your body to absorb iron, you need Vitamin C. So the tangerine in this salad adds a juicy, vibrant flavor, and helps the iron do its trick.
I used raw Brussel sprouts in this recipe, sliced extra thin. I love the crunch they give. Adding them as a layer right after the dressing marinated and softened them up. You could also roast the Brussels sprouts. I have an incredible recipe here that incorporates a maple syrup glaze with bacon – and uses a cast iron pan to crisp them up. Pomegranate would also add a pop of color and extra antioxidants.
After making this salad for dinner, I decided that I would make up a few Mason jar salads for work. It has been a while since I have toted a jarred salad to work, when it used to be a weekly occurrence.
When I first discovered the efficiency, versatility, and freshness of Mason jar salads it was life-changing. They are easy to make, keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, and are visually appealing (I think they look like lovely edible terrarium gardens).
Salads packed in a jar are a great way to encourage yourself, and your family, to eat more fruit and vegetables and reduce waste (a concern that comes up when people tell me they are trying to eat healthier). Many people confess to buying fresh fruit and vegetables which become doomed to live in the bottom of the refrigerator drawer to inevitably spoil and get tossed in the garbage. If that is a problem that plagues your kitchen, jar salads are what you need.
TANGERINE & GREENS WITH MAPLE VINAIGRETTE MASON JAR SALADS
*I use one quart Mason Jars and layer in the following order – dressing first. When ready to eat you shake and can eat out of the jar or dump into a plate or bowl.
*3-5 Tablespoons of Maple Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
*Thinly sliced Brussel Sprouts, 4 sprouts per jar (You could also blanch or roast the Brussels sprouts, but I wanted them raw)
*Thinly sliced red onion, 1 Tablespoon per jar
*Sliced Granny Smith apple, 1/4 of an apple per jar
*Greens of choice (kale, spinach etc.) I used a “Power Greens” mix, 1- 2 cups per jar (depending on how large you want your salad)
*Walnuts, 1 Tablespoon per jar (could use pecans or nut of choice)
*Tangerine, 1 per jar (if you are using the smaller “Cuties” – 2 per jar)
*I store extra dressing in a jar in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks
*¼ cup of Olive Oil
*3 Tablespoons of lemon juice
*3 Tablespoons of maple syrup
*2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
*Salt and pepper to taste
(because I prefer my dressing tangy, I added a couple of Tablespoons of apple cider to each jar after I added the dressing. Since my husband likes his sweeter I don’t add vinegar to the dressing).Finely chopped Brussels sprouts
I hope this salad, and the New Year, finds you full of energy and vigor. May it be a year full of health, laughter, and positive learning experiences. Remember to take care of yourself, and each other. Cheers to 2023!