You know those days? Those days in the winter when it’s cold. Like don’t you dare forget your gloves cold. The air hurts your face cold. Somehow the sun is trying to blow us warm kisses but the air is just this invisible forcefield keeping us apart. Those days. A day like that we’re going to reach for this Winter Sunshine Salad with Warm Maple Bourbon Dressing.
Maybe it’s just me, but when it’s stupid cold outside it’s hard for me to fathom eating a cold thing, like salad. Pass me a ticket for the struggle bus. ‘Cause your brain is like, “remember all those cookies you at this weekend??” but your heart is like, “I-I-I’m ffffrreeezzzi-i-ing!” Winter Sunshine Salad it is. Heating glow of the winter sun for our bellies and our hearts. Roasted sweet potatoes, chestnuts, and warm maple bourbon dressing will defrost our frozen bodies.
Winter Sunshine Salad
I get it, the description’s a little vague. Retyped, rethought, rewritten a hundred times. It really just comes down to a salad that still crisp but with all the glowing, positive vibes. Well, let me tell you all the deliciousness that goes in this green bowl of goodness.
Baby Spinach + Baby Kale
One or the other, or choose both. We go for both because double the green is a place I want to be.
Roasted Sweet Potato
A little sweet and a touch savory, warm roasted sweet potato is in the top 5 favorite salad things. It is possible to eat a salad without protein or cheese and still feel full afterwards. Sweet potato is my favorite way of getting this done. Especially when the sweet potato is roasted well done and get all sorts of crispy texture on the outside and sweet smooth starch on the inside.
For a touch of spicy onion, thinly sliced shallots are going to win you over. If raw onions aren’t your thing, try sautéing this up real quick to mellow the flavor!
????…on an open fiiiireeee…???? Not just for holiday songs, roasted chestnuts are meaty, nutty, and full of rich flavor. Add another point to the scoreboard for filling, vegan salads. Chestnuts have become my new favorite thing. They smell divine in the oven. You can close your eyes and almost imagine yourself on the streets of Manhattan taking in the deep, roasty flavors of the chestnut vendor carts.
If you’re looking for more ways to use chestnuts, join me in making this Chestnut Beer Braised Short Rib from Wanderspice. My new favorite thing and one of my old favorite things? Ugh, brb, heading to the grocery store.
While we can’t grow them up here in New England, pomegranates are in season right now. GO AND GET SOME. Like right now! You don’t even have to do the leg work, you can buy the pomegranate seeds already cleaned and ready to eat. Isn’t life fantastic? Pomegranate seeds are adding a burst of texture and sweetness to your Winter Sunshine Salad.
And now the important part. Where we add booze to food things and make them extra tasty.
Warm Maple Bourbon Dressing
Here we are. Right where we need to be. A good place where salad is healthy, filling and warming. Nourishing our bodies and bringing New England inspired flavor. I want to put this warm maple bourbon dressing on everything, and you will too!
It comes together simple and quick in a saucepan. If you want to let it cool a touch before dressing the salad, that’s a decision I’ll leave up to you. The warm dressing may wilt the salad a bit, but since we’re using baby spinach and/or baby kale that’s not an issue for me. If it’s an issue for you, give it about 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re totally loving this warm dressing, try out Annie’s Wassail Kale Salad on Kitchen Window Clovers – it’s totally vegan too!
Is it lunchtime yet? Or maybe it can be dinnertime so we can also have this Apple Cinnamon Whiskey Smash to…uhh…help warm up too. I’m ready to warm up and eat this Winter Sunshine Salad with Warm Maple Bourbon Dressing and forget about the frozen chill outside.
Winter Sunshine Salad | Warm Maple Bourbon Dressing
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 chestnuts rinsed and dried
- 1 package 5 ounces Baby Spinach + Baby Kale mix
- 1 small shallot halved and shaved thin
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Warm Maple Bourbon Dressing
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijion mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Roast the sweet potato + chestnuts: Peel and dice the sweet potato. Toss with olive oil and salt and spread in an even layer on a sheet pan. Place sheet pan in a pre-heated 425°F oven. Roast for 40 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the chestnuts. Rinse and dry well. Using a sharp pairing knife, make a 1/8 of an inch deep incision on the skin and cut across the chestnut. This will help the steam escape during cooking so you don't have exploding chestnuts in your oven, and for peeling afterwards. After the sweet potatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, add the chestnuts to the pan and let cook for the remaining 20 minutes. After cooking, let cool for 5 minutes and peel off the shell.
- Assemble the salad: In a large serving dish, add greens. Using a mandolin, shave the shallots over the salad greens.¹ Top with roasted sweet potato and pomegranate seeds. Using your hands, crumble the chestnuts in small pieces over the salad.
- Drizzle the salad with the warm maple bourbon dressing and lightly toss before serving.
Warm Maple Bourbon Dressing
- Combine ingredients in a small saucepan, whisking together. Let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Serve right away or let cool 10 to 15 minutes if you want very crispy greens.