Richmond got hit with its first big snow last night, and we spent a little time outside before coming in to piping hot bowls of lasagna soup. I love winter weather, and I especially all the comfort food that comes with it. However, we can’t eat meals like that every night. It’s just too much. Salads aren’t synonymous with winter, but this salad definitely deserves a place in your winter meal rotation.
Last May, my friend Josie made a summer version of this salad when we were there visiting for the night. It was such a fun night – cooking together, watching our sweet little ones play together, drinking wine and delicious cocktails. We made that one once we got back home, and of course it always makes me think of that night. I love how food can do that.
This version takes advantage of wintery produce, making it totally appropriate for even the dreariest winter days. I used kale as the base of the salad, but you can use whatever greens you prefer. Grilled chicken and roasted vegetables are tossed on top, along with a generous sprinkling of cheese and a garlicky dressing. Swap out the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower for something else (I’ve also used sweet potato) if those aren’t your thing. This is a great meal to transition from winter to spring, whenever that may be.
- COOK TIME:
- YIELD: 3-4 servings
¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, stem-end cut off, halved (quartered if large)
Half head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 2½ cups)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
Zest and juice of half a lemon
4 cups chopped kale
½ cup freshly grated smoked Gouda
Heat oven to 400º. Whisk olive oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Toss the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of the oil mixture, then place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the vegetables in the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes, until they’re browned and tender.
While the vegetables are roasting, grill the chicken in a grill pan until it’s cooked through. In our grill pan, this takes about 8 minutes total, but it will depend on the pan you use and the thickness of your chicken. Once the chicken is cooked through, set aside on a cutting board to rest.
While the chicken is resting, whisk the lemon zest and juice into the oil and garlic mixture. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Toss the dressing with the chopped kale.
Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces, and then top the salad with the chicken, roasted vegetables and shredded cheese.