Weeknight Cooking

Impromptu Winter Salad

April 18, 2011

Impromptu Winter Salad

- Jenny

Perhaps you will feel a tinge of disappointment seeing the words “winter” in the recipe I am about to extol. But peeps, as long as it is still raining sideways and I am forced to wear my sensible burnt sienna wool coat to work, it is still officially winter, tulips the size of footballs growing around the Capitol notwithstanding. 

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So it was, after a long train ride in the driving rain that I longed to put together Lizthechef’s Impromptu Winter Salad. There are still apples at the farmer’s market, and they remain delicious, arugula is there at last and oranges are always at the ready somewhere. And,don’t we all have at least a small nub of ginger in the crisper? No Meyer lemons on hand? Use regular ones. 

The recipe begins with the marcona almonds in the pan, which, I am sad to report, I burned, and can be filed under the broad rubric of “expensive ingredients that Jenny has ruined.” I decided to use the rest of the marconas uncooked. 

Do not feel put off by the fact that you’ve got a few bowls going for this –- it really is no big deal. Wash up your arugula, mix up your dressing, cut your apples and so forth and mix it all up in under five minutes. Use the best goat cheese you can find, something a little on the hard side. This will make a difference. 

The pleasure of this recipe for me is the mix of things I don’t ever think about using together -– apples, walnut oil, orange juice: who knew? My husband and the incipient said they loved the sweetness of it all. (Bacon girl said simply, “I do not eat salad.”) If you're looking for a Passover or Easter last minute dish, this would be swell.

Oh and I could not find any pomegranate seeds. Maybe you will see this as yet another disappointment, a shocking failure to follow the recipe. But maybe the absence of pomegranates in the market should be viewed differently, a promise that spring is really just around the corner, a whisper from the other room, even in the darkness of the rain. 

Impromptu Winter Salad by Lizthechef




  • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 teaspoon organic wildflower honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
  • large, organic Pink Lady apple
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 ounces organic arugula
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • ground black pepper

  • Heat a small, dry skillet and gently toast the almonds until they become light brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

  • In a small, deep bowl, whisk together the walnut oil and lemon juice. Whisk in the honey and grated ginger. Set aside.

  • Cut and core the apple into quarters. Thinly slice the apple (but do not peel it) and place slices in a shallow bowl. Cover the fruit with the orange juice.

  • Add the arugula to a salad bowl. Crumble the goat cheese into the greens. Add the sliced apple, toasted almonds and pomegranate seeds.

  • Add the vinaigrette to the salad. Grind black pepper to taste. Toss and serve immediately.


By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.

Jennifer Steinhauer

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Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


Rhonda35 April 19, 2011
As always, Jen, your dry wit makes me lol. This will probably make my sister cringe, however, instead of buying fresh ginger root and letting it shrivel in my fridge till needed, I buy ground/grated ginger in a small jar - usually unrefrigerated in the produce section - and it lasts forever in the fridge, once opened. The taste is virtually the same and it is so much more convenient.
Sagegreen April 19, 2011
So nice to see Liz's great salad featured here. Glad to know I am not the only one to burn some bits.
Jestei April 19, 2011
burning is my life. which i guess is better than severing a finger.
drbabs April 18, 2011
I've loved this salad since Liz first posted it. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't eat goat cheese, but fortunately it can be added separately. (And walnut oil is great in salads and keeps for awhile in the refrigerator. I bought it for the one pot kale and quinoa pilaf--which is really great in case you haven't tried it.) I laughed when you referred to your older daughter as "the incipient" and clicked on the link. It has been a year since she first started considering vegetarianism. How's it going?
Jestei April 19, 2011
so glad i read this because i had put the walnut oil away with my other oils and did not bother to read the label, please refridge after opening. hope one night in the pantry did not ruin this new purchase. as for the incipient -- i would say she is still in the meat reducer stage but its significantly reduced and her veggie intake is, well, less significantly increased.
MrsWheelbarrow April 18, 2011
I found this just in time. I was about to have granola, again, for lunch but instead I had this fantastic salad. No pomegranates, but I have a pint of the first strawberries of the season, so diced two up and added those. Thanks Liz & Jennifer. xoxo
Jestei April 19, 2011
that sounds even better frankly. strawberries........yum
TheWimpyVegetarian April 18, 2011
This salad is great anytime of the year! It's so nice to start my week with your ITK column and with one of Liz's great recipes! I can't eat nuts, but I've made this without them and it was still so refreshing. On the pomegranates, I just bought a little bag of frozen pomegranate seeds at WF over the weekend. Anyone try these?
Jestei April 19, 2011
my investigate reporting skills as applied to food stuffs revealed as fail. i didnt even think to look in the frozen section. but i think mrswheelbarrow has a good point too, we can "spring" this salad soon enough with other fruits.
fiveandspice April 18, 2011
Such a perfect way to start out the week! (I hear from my family that they just got several inches of snow in Northern Minnesota - sounds like we definitely can't declare victory over winter quite yet.)
Jestei April 18, 2011
oh dear. no, no we can't.
WinnieAb April 18, 2011
Somehow I missed this recipe from Liz the first time around...looks fantastic so thanks for featuring it!
Jestei April 18, 2011
i hope you make it and enjoy it.
mariaraynal April 18, 2011
Considering it is snowing in Michigan today, this recipe is most appropriate. Another terrific offering from Lizthechef -- intriguing combo of ingredients, too.
Jestei April 18, 2011
she's great!
Lizthechef April 18, 2011
Thanks, Jenny - this is my first visit to the site using my new computer - baby steps...And I, too, buy my pomegranate seeds at TJ's. I can smell those scorched, pricy almonds - been there many times!
TiggyBee April 18, 2011
are you Mac now? You'll do fine and there's always the genius bar!
Jestei April 18, 2011
i was going to ask the same mac? i can't figure out how to use it. i leave it for the kids and am stuck on my IBM think pad,where i am considering installing pac man for the full effect.
Lizthechef April 18, 2011
Yep, it's a mac and I have no idea how to name/move photos so I can enter the coffee contest...sigh.
fiveandspice April 18, 2011
I love my Mac!!! But, it does take some getting used to. Are you downloading your photos into iphoto? If so, all you have to do is click on a picture to highlight it (or maybe you have to double click to open it, now I suddenly can't remember), then go to file and export. Then you can export it to whatever folder you want as a .jpg and then upload it to the website from there.
drbabs April 19, 2011
Go to the Apple store and take the class in changing over from PC to Mac. It will change your life!
Rhonda35 April 19, 2011
Listen to Dr. Babs - doctor's orders are always the best thing! I switched from a PC to a Mac two years ago and, despite my brain's insistence on staying firmly in 1983, the transition was painless. Apple offers a ton of online video help via the Help button in each application - full tutorials, basically.
mrslarkin April 18, 2011
Starting the week off healthy - yay! Thanks Jenny and Liz!
Jestei April 18, 2011
yeah for meatless monday!
TiggyBee April 18, 2011
Another Monday AM pick me up - thanks Jenny!!
Jestei April 18, 2011
xx oo!
mcs3000 April 18, 2011
A friend recently suggested using walnut oil in some salads and it really shines. I will add this to tonite's menu - will brighten up this cloudy day. @lizthechef - I subscribe to your blog posts. I'm always happy when one hits my email box. Thank you both!
Jestei April 18, 2011
i must say i was a little sad to buy $8 can of walnut oil for a T for this, but when i realized how great it was it i decided it will now be my new go-to salad oil.
Bevi April 18, 2011
Thanks for showcasing Liz's recipe, Jenny. I love it. By the way, Trader Joe's sells pomegranate seeds in a small, shallow plastic tub (not very inspiring, but convenient).
Jestei April 18, 2011
great to know! thanks so much!!