- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Iceberg. The very word makes me shiver. So the last thing I would want for a winter salad is iceberg, or, in fact, any chilled lettuce.

The alternative, however, isn’t to skip veggies until warm weather arrives. Instead, I opt for recipes that mix hardy vegetables with rice, beans and grains. These are stick-to-the-ribs salads that satisfy cold-weather appetites.

Although these robust salads are time-consuming and take more effort than ripping open a bag of greens, you can streamline the process.

For example, if you’re cooking rice for dinner, make a little extra for rice salad. Likewise, prepare more vegetables than you’ll eat in one serving. Leftover roasted bell peppers, onions, potatoes or brussels sprouts are very tasty topped with vinaigrette dressing.

Canned beans are also winter salad staples. Drain and rinse a can of black, kidney or garbanzo beans. Mix with your favorite chopped vegetables, and you’ve got a great side dish in minutes.

If you prefer one-dish meals, add a handful of leftover cooked chicken breast, a couple of hard-cooked eggs or a generous sprinkling of cheese to the salad.

Here are two recipes to start.

Wild rice and brussels sprouts salad

½ cup wild rice


8 medium brussels sprouts, quartered lengthwise (about 1 cup, quartered)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions

1/8 teaspoon dried crushed thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Place wild rice in a colander and rinse under running water. Bring 1½ cups water to a boil in a small pot. Add the rice. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 40 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove the rice to a serving bowl and set aside to cool.

Place brussels sprouts in a small pot. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat until the brussels sprouts are tender but still have their bright green color, about 10 minutes. Drain well and add to the rice. Add the hazelnuts, scallions and thyme.

Combine the salt, pepper, vinegar and oil in a small cup. Stir well and pour over the salad. Stir together. Makes 2 servings.

Black bean, walnut and Gorgonzola salad

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 celery rib, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley

1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/8 teaspoon pepper or to taste

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Combine beans, celery, walnuts and Italian parsley in a salad bowl. Stir gently but well to mix. Combine the salt, pepper, vinegar and oil in a small cup. Stir well and pour over the salad. Stir gently to mix. Sprinkle cheese over the salad.

Makes 2 servings.


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