Festive Tree-Celebrating Salad

Tu Bishvat is a minor Jewish holiday that holds special appeal for tree-loving nature worshippers like me. It is described as a new year for the trees, and while it coincides with spring in the middle east, here in Toronto it is celebrated in the depths of winter, providing a welcome festive focus to January or February.

Friends of mine host a Tu Bishvat seder dinner every year. We start by going around the table and sharing which is our favourite kind of tree and why. I always have trouble choosing, but will pick one to highlight some of the medicine trees have to offer, like willow or hawthorn. They ask each guest to bring a food contribution in keeping with the tree theme.

I have brought this dish for several years. It is a yummy salad, providing a perfect counterpoint to rich winter food with its nutrient-dense ingredients, and bitter, sweet, and fresh flavours. But more tree-relevantly, it contains the fruit of two trees (avocado, pomegranate), the nuts of one tree (pecan), and the heart of another (palm). It also happens to feature red and green, making it in keeping with the colour theme of a certain December holiday 🙂 In our household, we think it pairs well with roast for Christmas dinner, too!

Consider this salad for a festive occasion in your life this winter.

arugulaPecanspomegranate on boardavocado1

Festive Tree-Celebrating Salad

vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free

Salad:

  • 1 box baby arugula or 2 bunches arugula, washed & chopped
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cut into quarter rounds
  • 1 can heart of palm, drained and sliced in rounds
  • 1 medium haas avocado, diced
  • Seeds of 1/2 -1 pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup pecans, lightly toasted

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and toss well with dressing to coat.

For pretty presentation, toss arugula with dressing before adding the other ingredients artfully into the serving bowl or individual salad bowls.

Dressing:

  • Olive oil – ~1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice – ~1 lemon
  • Dijon mustard – ~ 2 tsp
  • Sea salt – ~ 1 tsp
  • Maple Syrup – ~2 tsp
  • Garlic, pressed – ~ 1 small clove

Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to emulsify.

Taste and adjust quantities as needed to please your palate.

Zucchini Salmon Fritters

In my first trimester of pregnancy, I needed to eat every hour or two to keep my blood sugar level

Zucchini-Salmon Fritters (photo from taste.com)

Zucchini-Salmon Fritters
(photo from taste.com)

and keep nausea at bay. I did have some hilarious food cravings (celery and of course the stereotypical dill pickles). But, I was also aiming to stick to my usual conscious, careful, diet while upping certain nutrients for baby-growing. These fritters satisfied my winter need for more oil, AND they contain easy to digest vegetables (I have yet to have a client who is sensitive to zucchini!) and omega-3-rich protein that can be stored in the pantry. Win-win-win. I ate them with pickles, naturally.

Make up a big batch and grab them for snacks/lunch/dinner. Pregnant or not, they make a nice, nutritious change from the usual dinner options.

Adapted from Gluten Free Gigi

 

Recipe type: Main Dish, Fish

Prep time:  10 mins

Cook time:  6 mins

Total time:  16 mins

Serves: 3-4

 

This recipe is free from gluten, dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts. It is also toddler-friendly, a novel way of using up the garden’s zucchini abundance, and a great way of making canned fish (and good omega 3 fatty acids) exciting.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (6-ounce) can wild caught salmon, drained
  • 1/3-1/2 cup tapioca flour or cooked quinoa (or sub almond flour for paleo version, but then not nut-free)
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained and minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill (or use 1-2 teaspoons fresh dill, if you have some on hand)
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder (add a couple tablespoons minced fresh onion, if you prefer)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (use ½ – 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic, if you prefer)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Oil for greasing skillet
  • Lemon wedges and fresh parsley, optional garnish

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine zucchini, eggs and tapioca flour/quinoa.
  2. Break salmon apart with a fork and add to the bowl, along with remaining ingredients.
  3. Stir to combine, making sure ingredients are well-mixed. (Mixture will look a bit liquid-y, but that’s okay.)
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and grease lightly.
  5. Once the skillet is hot (but not smoking), use about a heaping ⅓ cup of the mixture for each patty/fritter. (You can make these as small or large as you like, of course. I fit 3 larger fritters in the skillet at a time).
  6. Cook patties 2-3 minutes per side until brown and crisp on the outside.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

Great paired with Parsley-Radicchio Salad, and homemade sauerkraut. And, especially if you are pregnant, kosher-style dill pickles.