Winter Citrus & Fennel Mason Jar Salads with Green Apple Vinaigrette

This afternoon our living room was bathed in sunlight and our cat Athena basked in the glow.

This afternoon our living room was bathed in light and our cat Athena basked in a puddle of sunshine. How quickly the weather turned…it’s now a frenzy of snowflakes outside.

“Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair…”
~Wallace Stevens from “Sunday Morning”

It is the week before Christmas break and I cannot believe how fast time rushes by. Today was Day #15 of the December Green Smoothie Challenge and I am enjoying sharing my recipes and being artful by capturing a photo each morning to share on my Facebook page.

Mike and I enjoyed a quiet weekend at home and last night watched, Broadcast News. It reminded me of high school when I had aspirations of being a television journalist. While I do have a broadcasting degree from Marquette University, life had other plans for me and I am thankful that I heard my calling to be a teacher. As I type this, I am hoping that the blizzard conditions outside cease. I do not want a snow day tomorrow ~ I have too much to accomplish with my students. Though, if we do, I will make sure to be productive and may find time to share a recipe for the soup that is bubbling in my Crock-pot.

Yesterday afternoon, after my Weight Watchers meeting, I went grocery shopping (I wouldWinter Citrus & Fennel Mason Jar Salads with Green Apple Vinaigrette Dressing really like to bring back my routine of shopping mid-week) and in addition to green smoothie ingredients I bought fresh produce for Mason jar salads. Often we associate salads with summer but, like soup, I think that salads are seasonless. I brainstormed what I thought would constitute the perfect winter salad. Of course, what came to mind was juicy oranges and grapefruit. I thought that the perfect accompaniment to both would be fennel and pomegranate. But what about the dressing? I knew that the citrus salad needed something both sweet, tart, and savory. How about green apple? I have to say ~ the result was pleasing and I am almost as excited to share these gorgeous salads with you as I am to eat them this week.

Green AppleGREEN APPLE VINAIGRETTE DRESSING

  • 1 cup of vinegar (I used 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup white balsamic)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple (I left the peel on)
  • 1 orange (juice and zest. This gives the dressing sweetness without adding refined sugar)
  • 1 clove of garlicHomemade Green Apple Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon of onion
  • Salt & pepper to taste

If you want to control the amount of oil that goes into your dressing you can leave it out and add the oil to each individual salad. Lemon juice or lime juice would work well in place of the orange and you could add honey or sweetener of choice to make it slightly sweet. I always recommend that you taste as you go when making homemade dressings. I like dressing tart so I am in generous when I add in the vinegar.
Winter Citrus & Fennel Mason Jar Salads with Green Apple VinaigretteWinter Citrus & Fennel Mason Jar Salads with Green Apple VinaigretteIf you are new to Mason Jar Salads you may want to read one of my previous posts that shares many tips for jarred salads: Mason Jar Salads: Fresh, Visually Appealing, and Versatile.

WINTER CITRUS & FENNEL MASON JAR SALADS

I made six jarred salads and layered the following in each one quart sized Mason jars. Layer the dressing first, followed by hearty fruit/vegetables. Layer the lettuce/greens last.

  • 3 Tablespoons of Green Apple Vinaigrette DressingWinter Citrus & Fennel Mason Jar Salads with Green Apple Vinaigrette
  • Red bell pepper (I used one pepper)
  • Sliced fennel (I used one bulb)
  • Grapefruit (I used one. Peel like an orange and cut in slices)
  • Oranges (I used two)
  • Pomegranate
  • Celery (three ribs)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds and almonds (2 Tablespoons per salad)
  • Chopped kale
  • Chopped romaine lettuce

I am so thankful to the weekends and time to recharge and prepare for a busy week. Mason Jar Salads are a huge time saver since they only take about a half an hour to prepare and they stay fresh all week.

If you are interested in other salad and dressing recipes, make sure you check out my Salad Tab and my Salad Dressing Tab. I hope that you enjoy this recipe and that it makes your life a little less hectic and a lot more healthy. There are only a couple more weeks left in 2013 so let’s make them the best that we can. I look forward to a new year and sharing this journey with my health-minded friends. I promise many more recipes in the days to come.
Winter Citrus & Fennel Mason Jar Salad with Green Apple VinaigretteGreen Apple Vinaigrette Dressing

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Fennel, Cabbage, and Apple Salad with Avocado Hummus & Ginger Vinaigrette

11Queen Anne’s Lace

Her body is not so white as 
anemone petals nor so smooth–nor 
so remote a thing. It is a field 
of the wild carrot taking 
the field by force; the grass 
does not raise above it.
~William Carlos Williams

Last week as I drove to Marquette, I marveled at the sea of Queen Anne’s Lace growing with wild abandon along the side of the highway. They catch at the slightest breeze and perform a delicate dance for those who pay attention.

Years ago when Mike and I moved into our house there was not a flower to be found in either our 12front or back yard except for a few crocus and johnny-jump-ups. When we went for walks around the neighborhood I noticed masses of Queen Anne’s Lace and hoped that one day they would grow in our yard. When we started planting a flower bed I toted a few stems home and stuck them in the dirt. Nothing. They wilted and died. I brought home more flowers that had gone to seed and shook them in violent hope. Imagine my excitement the next year when the filigree flowers appeared.

I think it’s the texture of Queen Anne’s Lace that enthrall me. It is the same reason that I10 was first drawn to fennel in the supermarket. The bright green fronds (even though I do not eat them) make for a pretty composition. If you have never had fennel before I challenge you to try it. It has a very mild anise flavor and is common in Mediterranean dishes. It can be eaten raw or cooked and I love it sliced thinly on a green salad with orange and grapefruit segments.

Last week I bought a fennel bulb and decided to use it in a cabbage salad. Fall seems like the perfect time for slaw since the local cabbage is in season. I thought the fennel and cabbage would go well with crisp and juicy fall apples.

SlawInstead of a heavy mayonnaise laden slaw, I decided to combine these fresh flavors with a ginger vinaigrette. The combinations of flavors work so well together. Sweet apple juxtaposed with the tartness of vinegar, crunchy cabbage, spicy ginger, and the faint licorice taste of  fennel sounds like a perfect marriage to me. To add even more to the flavor and texture explosion I wrapped the slaw in romaine leaves and topped them with creamy avocado hummus and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. How much more healthy, satisfying, and flavorful can you get than that? I think this slaw makes a fantastic side dish, would be a great sandwich topping, or would stand on its own with an addition of nuts and even dried fruit (I think apricots would make a beautiful mix).

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Fennel, Cabbage, and Apple Slaw with Ginger Vinaigrette

  • 4 cups of finely chopped cabbage (depending on the texture you desire)
  • 1 cup of shredded carrot
  • 1 fennel bulb thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 chopped red apple (the apples that I used were organic so they were small)
  • 1 chopped green apple 

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.

Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup vinegar (depending on how tart you want the salad. I used 1/2 raw apple cider vinegar and 1/2 white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 Tablespoon of sweetener (I used local raw honey but you could use your sweetener of choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Tamari (soy sauce would work as well)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced ginger root
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small bunch of finely chopped green onions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix vinaigrette well (You could use a blender but I just used a whisk). Pour over salad and toss well. While I tasted the salad immediately after making it yesterday, the flavors really bloomed overnight in the refrigerator. Makes 10 cups.

I left the pieces of apple and even the cabbage in rather large chunks. Though you could aim for a more fine slaw and use a food processor.

I left the pieces of apple and even the cabbage in rather large chunks. Though you could aim for a more fine slaw and use a food processor.

The Romaine Lettuce Wraps with the Avocado Hummus were easy to make.

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The recipe that I use for Hummus is from the Vitamix Whole Foods Cookbook.

  1. 230 ounces of chickpeas (it says to reserve one can of liquid. Though, I always make my own from dried beans)
  2. 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds (I used jarred tahini)
  3. 1/4 cup lemon juice (again I used the zest and for this recipe I increased it to a whole lemon)
  4. 1 garlic clove
  5. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon cumin

In addition to the above ingredients I added one avocado, a few green onions, and fresh1 chives.

The hummus was delicious and the perfect, creamy accompaniment to the crunchy slaw. The wraps are messy (I recommend a fork) but such a nice break from a traditional salad. Plus, if you are trying to watch your intake of bread it is a much slimmer option.

When I buy romaine I do not buy the bagged but instead buy the large heads in the produce section. I find this often a better bargain and they are more green, fresh, and I think they taste better. Other greens work well for wraps as well such as collard greens, large spinach leaves, and red lettuce.

5

I have to confess that normally I wait until I publish my post to dive into my creation, but today I had to take a break for lunch because my plate was so tempting. For the past few weeks I have been a food rut and I think yesterday’s Red Lentil Sloppy Joes and today’s Fennel, Cabbage, and Apple Salad have helped me break free!
7I hope you enjoy this salad just in time for fall’s bounty of vegetables. I eagerly await the selection of Michigan apples at the farmers market and in the stores. This recipe and others can be found at Pinterest on my Produce with Amy board. Also, please join the conversation on my Facebook page.

My summer holiday is nearly over and I will be going back to teaching soon, but blogging will help me to stay committed to my healthy lifestyle. I hope that I can help you do the same. Enjoy the last few fleeting weeks of summer and remember to stop and pay attention to the nature around you. Who knows, you might catch a spirited Queen Anne’s Lace ballet. Or whatever wild things grow in your backyard!

I found this vintage tumbler while thrifting this summer. Disappointed there was only one, I know think it is a gift. Now I will have to keep my eyes open for matching treasures! :)

I found this vintage tumbler while thrifting this summer. Disappointed there was only one, I know think it is a gift. Now I will have to keep my eyes open for matching treasures! 🙂

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Romaine Lettuce Wraps with Fennel, Apple, and Cabbage Salad and Avocado Hummus

Avocado Hummus by Produce with Amy

Fennel, Cabbage, & Apple Salad by Produce with Amy