Winter salads sometimes need a bit of inspiration, especially when the rest of the produce section seems to be languishing. Seek out seasonal hardy cabbage and escarole or endive, as well as beets and other root vegetables. This time of year, some far-flung ingredients might find their way into the bowl, including avocado, citrus and hearts of palm, which are rich in fiber and potassium and available canned and in jars. Closer to home, Alaska Sprouts, available online and in local grocery stores, offers a beautiful array of fresh sprouts, including tender pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, vibrant jewel-colored beet shoots and more. Anchorage Greens also grows a variety of lettuces and herbs at their indoor farm. Crisp pear adds a winning sweetness to this salad and umami-packed miso and ginger in the vinaigrette ups the ante. Serve as a main topped with crispy tofu or roasted chicken, or pile it on top of sandwiches or as a nice cooling bite to serve alongside larger, spice-laced feasts. — Kim Sunée
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 very small head/about 14 ounces Savoy cabbage (or Napa or green cabbage), cored and very thinly sliced
6 to 8 ounces fresh bean sprouts
3 ounces sunflower or pea shoots or microgreens or 1 bunch fresh herbs such as basil or cilantro
1 small Asian pear, divided (or ripe but not soft Bosc, Anjou, or Seckel)
1 bunch fresh herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, basil
Optional ingredients: persimmon, hearts of palm, avocado, radishes, orange or grapefruit segments, carrots, Fresno chile or jalapeño, etc.
For the Pear-Ginger-Miso Dressing
1 to 2 tablespoons grated pear (from salad)
2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon white or yellow miso
1 2-to-3-inch piece ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons white wine or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or half evoo and half sesame or avocado oil
Optional ingredients: tahini, roasted garlic, black garlic
• Rinse vegetables and sprouts, etc. and make sure to spin or pat thoroughly dry to prevent a watery salad. Combine cabbage, sprouts, shoots in a large bowl. Cut pear in half and remove core and stem. Grate one-quarter of the pear into a small mixing bowl (for the dressing). Slice remaining pear and add to greens and sprouts along with any other optional ingredients.
• Make dressing by whisking together reserved grated pear, green onions, miso, ginger, garlic, citrus juice and vinegar in bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt or more miso, pepper, ginger, garlic, vinegar as desired. Add a few tablespoons to salad and toss, adding more as needed.