Hey American friends. I see your Thanksgiving holiday coming up, and I offer you this colourful and hearty salad, along with a few other tidbits. Our Canadian version of the holiday has already come and gone. I got a couple dinners in and a little downtime, so a win overall. One thing that weirdly seeps across borders, despite the different times of year, is Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Given the condition of the world and some of the people that live in it, maybe you can understand why this occasion really isn’t my bag. I think it’s cool that some retailers are principled enough to not go along with the frenzied flow of it all. And hey, maybe a massive opting out is reaching into trend territory after all. In the meantime, here’s a few bullet points on avoiding the spectacle and just having a great weekend in general
Go low tech. Maybe there’s one person in your family that makes the holiday meal, maybe it’s a potluck scenario. Either way, it’s cool to get involved and get your hands busy with something that isn’t a smartphone/other device. This extends beyond food, too! Get crafty/all-natural with a table setting, make some cute name cards, fold those napkins all nice, prune some branches. You get the idea. Some table-setting inspiration here, here, and here.
Go outside. This one falls even lower than going low tech. Take the dog for a long walk. Find a new spot for an autumnal hike. Sip a coffee or tea in the brisk air and feel the warmth on a more sincere level. Look up at the trees. Smell the air. Practice some reverence for this world. It feels good in a full-to-the-brim sort of way when you really commit.
Get interested. Holiday times are when I get some reading done or I finally watch some TV series that everyone’s raved about. Cozying up, sweatpants, blankets, lazy times etc. I highly recommend Master of None if you have Netflix. Then you can listen to all of the amazing music from the show. And THEN you can remember how seriously life-changing Return of the Mack is.
Think about the future-possible. Downtime over the holidays leaves a little extra space in my head for dreaming and thinking about the next steps in life. It could be something huge like a career move, or something kinda ho-hum like trying to drink a green smoothie every day for a week after the feasts are over.
Enjoy yourself in real time. Have conversations, give hugs and kisses, laugh, go for an extra glass of wine. Enjoying those simple things, and knowing your good fortune in being able to do so, is the definition of the good life.
And don’t forget to eat a salad/have some vegetables for extra vibrance. I created this colourful salad with kale and broccoli rabe as an unusual and light counter to all of the heavier holiday fare. There’s a hot pink cranberry-orange dressing that’s spiked with ginger and maple syrup. Chewy cooked farro fills the dish out, along with some crunchy walnuts and thin wisps of fennel, apple, and red onion. I find that incorporating lots of colours and small/thin cuts of vegetables makes for greater success with healthier dishes at large get-togethers. The small cuts seem less committal maybe? Hope you try this one for yourself or for a feast sometime soon :)
broccoli rabe and kale harvest salad recipe
Print the recipe here!
notes: You could cook up an equal amount of wild rice, millet, or quinoa for a gluten-free option.
¾ cup farro, rinsed
2 cups water
1 bunch of broccoli rabe
1 bunch of lacinato/dino kale; about 5 packed cups of chopped kale
1 small fennel bulb
1 small sweet apple (such as gala or honey crisp)
½ small red onion (roughly ¼ cup of thin slices)
¼ cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
orange-cranberry dressing ingredients:
scant ½ cup frozen whole cranberries, thawed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled + roughly chopped
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the rinsed farro, 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring the farro to a boil, cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the farro for 25 minutes, or until it’s cooked through and still has a bit of chew. Drain the farro and set aside.
Rinse out the saucepan that you used for the farro and fill it with about 2 inches of water. Place the pot over medium heat. Let it come to a light boil. Set up an ice bath in a medium sized bowl.
Trim the tough stems off of the broccoli rabe and cut it into bite-pieces. Drop half of the cut broccoli rabe into the saucepan and place the lid on it right away. Allow the rabe to steam for about 3-4 minutes, or until tender and lightly wilted. Transfer the steamed broccoli rabe to the ice bath. Repeat this blanching process with the remaining broccoli rabe.
Remove the stems from the kale and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place the chopped kale into a large bowl. Trim the fennel bulb, reserving some of the fronds, and removing the core. Shave the fennel with a mandolin right over the bowl with the kale. Remove the apple core and shave it with a mandolin over the large bowl. Remove the tough outer peel of the red onion and shave it with a mandolin over the large bowl.
Squeeze all of the excess water out of the blanched broccoli rabe and place it in the large bowl with the kale and other shaved fruits/vegetables. Add the cooked farro to the bowl as well.
To make the dressing, combine the thawed cranberries, olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, fresh ginger, maple syrup, salt, and pepper in an upright blender. Blend the mixture on high until you have a smooth consistency.
Season the salad with salt and pepper and pour three quarters of the orange-cranberry onto the salad. Massage the dressing into the kale, broccoli rabe, farro, and other fruits and vegetables until everything is evenly coated. Transfer the dressed salad to a large platter. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top and garnish the salad with the chopped walnuts and fennel fronds.
*This post was created in partnership with Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!