Chicory Salad with Warm Mustard Dressing
December 7, 2010

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Tis the season for…salad?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the most seasonal eater. I happen to be on a breakfast smoothie kick, even though it’s freezing in NYC right now. I often find myself going through juice crazes or raw food crazes in the dead of January and February (part of me wonders if this is my desire—emotional or biological—for freshness in the middle of a dead season). And it’s also not unheard of for me to roast, bake, and sauté my way through portions of the summer. In short, there seems to be only a vague correlation between outside temperatures and the temperatures of my food.

This has been a week of salad. All salad, all the time—different sorts, with different greens (butter lettuce, kale, spinach, frisee). I’ve had a nutrient dense salad every night for the last four, and many midday salads, too. Part of this is time management—salads are always my fastest and most simple dinner option. But that can’t be all of it. Perhaps, in keeping with the logic above, my body is preparing itself for the barrenness of winter with tons of fresh, raw vegetables. Or perhaps it’s that I’m a little stressed out, and I’m seeking out my favorite comfort food (yes, salad is my idea of comfort food). I know for a fact that I crave salads—which are easy for me to digest and always leave me feeling particularly well—when I’ve got a lot of external pressure to handle. Whatever the case, the first week of advent has brought in one salad after another. A much better holiday remembrance than the milk chocolate they stuff into advent calendars, right?

The salad I’m about to share was my favorite of last week. It’s the embodiment of winter: spicy and bitter, but made festive with a sweet, tangy dressing and the crunch of fennel. I like my greens cold and crunchy, but I made a last minute choice to warm up the dressing for a while in my VitaMix, and it was genius. Cool greens meet warm dressing. What could be a better way to enjoy raw foods in December?

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Chicory Salad with Warm Mustard Dressing (serves 2)

For the dressing:

1/4 cup olive or flax oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the salad:

1 head chicory, washed, chopped, and spun
1/2 cup fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 cup torn raddichio leaves

To assemble the salad, mix all the veggies together. To make the dressing, blend all ingredients in a blender till thoroughly mixed. If you have a high speed blender, leave the dressing in there for an extra moment, so that it gets warm. If not, heat this gently (only so much that you can still touch your fingertip to it) in a saucepan.

Dress the with as much dressing as you like, and enjoy!

The perfect textures, tastes, and colors for a cold weather salad:

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With a perfect “bite.” I served mine with veggie juice pulp mush:

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And from a nutritional perspective, it’s a powerhouse: more than 33% of your daily Vitamin A, a good dose of Vitamin C from the chicory and the fennel (both good sources) and some calcium. Even if Vitamin C doesn’t ward off colds, I’ll pretend this salad has magical preventative powers. Gives me an excuse to eat it again.

Hope you’re inspired to get some fresh greens into tomorrow’s meals! What are your favorite winter salads?


Categories: Salads

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  1. […] post is not, as planned, another recipe. I’m going to let you all savor my chicory salad with warm mustard dressing for another evening. In the meantime, I wanted to share what I think was a very interesting […]

  2. Holy Yum.

    Gena, I made this dressing for dinner tonight over just arugula. And I cooked up a batch of your zucchini corn pancakes as well. It was delicious – the best dinner I’ve had in a long time. Thanks for a super yum meal!!

  3. I eat salad year-round, but I crave the kind that’s loaded not only with fresh veggies, but vegan bacon bits, vegan cheeze, and homemade croutons….I call it my junk food salad. But hey, it still has some veggies, right?

  4. PS – we saw a movie last night and the main actress looked so much like you (from your pictures at least) – it was totally uncanny. Her name is Hilary Swank and she was gorgeous and cool.


  5. That looks so delicious! I adore radicchio and fennel – two of my very favorites. Warm dressing is a great idea too.

    I went completely raw again after a period of experimenting with all kinds of stuff in the dead of an Alaskan winter last year! And I used to get perverse ice cream cravings when it would rain! Love contrarianism.

  6. Speaking of mustard dressing, I had a delicious salad at One Lucky Duck in Chelsea Market over the weekend. It was simple – arugula and kale with a handful of grape tomatoes and kalamata olives. Their spicy mustard dressing really complemented the kale. Now I can make my own dressing, with your recipe. Thanks, and yum!

  7. That’s funny I rediscovered my love for huge salad made of my own accord last night. After almost a year of dining hall salads, I realized they just don’t compare to my own!

  8. Delicious!

    Fav winter salad lately has been any dark leafy green mixed in with some avocado and/or winter squash or sweet potatoes…all tossed together! So satisfying for me lately!


  9. holiday salad! i’m trying to figure out what i need to eat right now. i let stress get the best of me and just got diagnosed with ibs. fun! i’ve been having pain for 7 days now. i’m finding reducing my fat intake is helping and liquefying breakfast (avo/banana smoothie). i just hope i can get a handle on this because i don’t think taking pills is an answer to this. thankfully, my doctor agrees so hopefully in a month when i have a check up all is well.

    • Hey Melissa!

      As you know, I’m a major IBS veteran (it disrupted my life constantly for about 8 years), so if you ever need to talk, I’m around. Different things work for different people, but I actually found that too many liquids weren’t great for me (whereas digesting solid food was) and that whole grains were helpful (though that may not jive with your paleo perspective). I also find that chewing carefully, stress reduction, and lots of salad are key. But anyway, email if you need to. I took muscle relaxants for so many years I actually became immune to them, so indeed, I’m not sure drugs are the IBS solution.


  10. This salad has come at a great time, I have an extra head of radicchio sitting in the fridge and no ideas of what to do with it. Seems like the perfect solution.

  11. This dressing sounds amazing! I have been adding nutritional yeast to nearly everything I eat lately, and salads are no exception. I’ll have to try this with my dinner tonight!

  12. Salad AND dressing look yummy indeed– definitely going to dry out your dressing idea in the near future 🙂

    In the winter, I opt for comfort, classic salads such as greens with walnuts, apple, butternut squash, pecans, beets dressed in a bit of maple and olive oil. So good!

  13. I totally agree. I get cravings for salad in the winter too! I think it’s because it’s so cold out, and my body starts craving that summer feeling and lightness, which always comes with eating super fresh veggies. Love this one! 🙂

  14. I love new salads. But actually there is nothing “new” to me. Well, that new. I mean, as I always say on my blog, there is only so many ways to make broccoli “interesting” and “creative” before it just is….broccoli. Which is great. Because I happen to love it. And all raw veggies, salads, and fresh produce.

    Totally try to eat seasonally and it’s easier in So Cal than in NYC no doubt, but still, come winter, it is hard. I just do my best.

    New dressings tho totally make greenery “new” again 🙂

    It was awesome being honored with you on Kristen’s blog. I felt in very good company 🙂

  15. This salad looks so yummy! I love your creative dressings!

    As I have transitioned to a vegan diet I have found that I crave and really enjoy salads more and more. However, they don’t always love me back in terms of digestion. If I increase the amount of salads I eat, will these symptoms subside over time? Is there any salad additions/toppings that make them easier to digest? I would hate for my tummy issue to cause me to miss out on my veggies. Thanks!

  16. Oh Gena, I wish my comfort food was salad too! LOL!

    I’m getting better at eating more salads. It’s not too cold yet in Tokyo so I have maybe salad 3-4 times a week, which is also out of busyness rather than real cravings. I prepare my salad and dress it, then go do something else to wait till it warms to room temperature, and it becomes much more appealing.

    Fave winter salad at the moment: napa cabbage, romaine, shredded carrot, baby tomatoes, olives, avocado with a ginger-cilantro dressing I got from Karen Knowler’s blog.

  17. I’m going to have to work on linking my cravings with salads! I have to force myself to make salads this time of year, BUT, as soon as I take that first bite *mmmmmm* I wonder why I ever eat anything else :). This looks delicious.

  18. I crave salad every single day without fail. I just can;t imagine getting through a day without the hydration and juiciness it provides. So good! The dressing sounds divine!

  19. Gosh I feel the same way! I have so many salad cravings especially in the winter. Wow. And in the summer I love my indian curries and such. But it’s not that ‘strange’…some tropical foods like mangoes are actually warming…

  20. I love a good salad with a new dressing. Yours is the second recipes today that has made me want to get a new dressing going and get my salad mojo back.

    I LOVE fennel in juice but don’t often think to get it for salads, next time I see a good price on it I’ll save a bit for the salad.

  21. It’s so funny how we get obsessed with a certain kind of food and then want to eat it all the time. I definitely do that! And yes, salad is comfort food.

    Lately I’ve been eating a lot of spinach salad with mashed potatoes and nutritional yeast on top!

  22. I always love salads too, but in winter time greens don’t really look that attractive to me. I like lentil salad for instance, cooked with a bit of a chopped onion, cooled and then mixed with finely chopped dill, olive oil and lemon.

  23. I can completely relate on the craving for freshness in the middle of winter. It was a good 15 degrees here and all I wanted was a giant green drink! This salad looks great and I am a sucker for your dressings. 🙂

    I must say that so far my favorite winter salad recipe is a pomegranate fennel salad. (Check it out: Mostly because pomegranates are my favorite winter fruit. I love them. It’s not exactly nutrient dense but is awful tasty.

  24. Ha! I’m right there with you. I’m loving me some big salads right now…and currently slavering over that nacho-cheese style red pepper/nooch sauce you and Kirsten like to make (I sort of combined them).

    In my defense, I’m from Houston, where we don’t have seasons. Ergo, it’s more visual stimulation (like Santa Clauses and Starbucks) that make me crave wintry foods. I don’t keep a Santa on my table, so at home I eat whatever.

    But I’m curious (read:stupid)…the only chicory I’ve had is Cafe du Monde coffee-chicory blend. Does the veggie taste anything like coffee?

    Oh, and I had a thought about your post about your family. My grandma was the same way–even if she could cook very well, she always took shortcuts. However, there was nothing feminist about it–if she cooked up chicken tenders, I was firmly told to leave the biggest pieces for the men. But I think, in her day, “convenience” was a novelty. It was new and exciting (a housewife could save SO much time!), so it was like taking advantage of new technology. Like the first time you buy a Swiffer. For us, “convenient” is virtually the norm, so we can see its limitations and look past the sparkle of 5 extra minutes spent watching TV. Anyway, just my two cents!