|The Perfect Side Salad: Fennel, Pomegranate and Maple Roasted Walnuts|
Raise your hand if you've ever been charged with bringing "the SIDE salad" to a dinner party | holiday | your own table because, ya know, they say greens are good.
Me too. And as much as I love to cook, it used to send shivers down my spine as well. Because let's face it, side salads just aren't that fun to make. For most, coming up with said salad doesn't stir provoke the creative juices like a dessert or entree. You know your salad will get edged out by the richer, heartier, gooier dishes...given one obligatory scoop and then forgotten.
Well, never fear my friends, because I've taken on this task for you. I've created the perfect side salad.
This recipe checks all the boxes for an ideal addition to—but not centerpiece for—your impending meal. The flavors are fresh, unique and absolutely delicious together. Yet, nothing lingers on your palate to interfere with another part of the meal, and you will feel light as a feather after enjoying a portion, or even TWO. It has a variety of textures and the elusive combination of sweet, savory and bitter. Fennel helps aid with digestion, and the creamy maple walnuts offer just enough protein and fat to keep you from overdoing it on Aunt Sassy's sausage stuffing.
For a touch of "can't quite place it" flavor and extra nutritional power, I used avocado oil as the base of my vinaigrette. Avocado oil is an incredible source of vitamin E, and it has been shown to help improve conditions from psoriasis to gum disease to arthritis. It also has a unctuous, nutty flavor that makes a fabulous base for salad dressings. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, so you can technically use it safely for cooking, but it's a little pricy and tends to lose its flavor in the process.
Without further ado, I'm thrilled to take the romaine, sweat and tears out of your next "side salad" assignment. You will be proud to serve this at your holiday table, and I bet you'll get the crowd coming back for seconds!