“All Things Fall” Salad

It’s cold! But we ate a salad last night for dinner. We’ve been training more lately for our Turkey Trot. I say training because it has been probably over a year since we ran a race. We used to run 5Ks regularly. Just about every month I would find a fun one for us to do or for me to do with my girlfriends, but we’ve fallen out of the habit due to some personal medical issues. We’re back now and while I don’t anticipate that we’ll continue our race-sign-up pace, it feels good to just get out and pound the pavement. It’s a great stress reliever and mood lifter!

Since we’ve been doing this, I’ve also been more and more conscious of what we’re eating in the meals leading up to our runs. It’s a heck of a lot easier to run when there’s better fuel in the tank. Our habit lately has been to eat a lighter lunch and run when the Mr gets home around 4 (or when I meet up with one of my besties after she gets out of work) and then feel absolutely no guilt about diving into one of my delicious dinners! This works for us. I was always able to better tackle a workout and have more motivation in the afternoons than in the mornings. Find what works for you and get after it!

So back to our salad. Since we overindulged at the Fort Worth Greek Festival this weekend, I knew we needed to lighten things up to start the week off strong. I definitely chose not to feel guilt about the date night dinner, but it’s a heck of a lot easier for me to stay on track if I hit that reset right away after the close of the weekend. Since it’s not really “salad season” (and I’m sorry, but vegetable soup is boring), I was really glad to find inspiration for a salad using Brussels sprouts to really tie in the Fall/Winter feeling and still eat better.

This Sprouts, Avocado, & Apple Salad from Better Homes and Gardens magazine was the ideal salad for a simple yet delicious dinner salad in the colder months. It brought in all the flavors of fall, but stayed light and fresh on the palate. The simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and S&P is what really lightened up this salad. It’s a fallacy that your dressing has to be super-loaded with ingredients and calories to be good. Simple dressings often really make the other salad ingredients stand out better. Better yet, the salad dressing well-preserved the fresh flavors and colors of the more perishables in this dish.

Admittedly, though I am creative, I never would have thought to throw these ingredients together. However, that’s not to say I disliked the dish. The playful sourness of the lemon juice of course served to heighten the flavors of the avocado and apple, but also helped take the edge off the cabbage-y chew from the Brussels sprouts. The Parm and toasted pumpkin seeds added just the right amount of salinity and texture to elevate things. I’m not a huge Brussels sprouts fan, so I don’t anticipate this salad making a recurrence, but it was fun to think outside the box on this one and not spend a ton of time in the kitchen on a cold, cozy night.

Notes: Swapping half or all the Brussels sprouts for shredded kale would have also made a great inclusion to this salad if you’re looking for an alternate here. Also, if Braeburn apples are unobtainable (as was my case), you can just use any other sweet apple here. I used Ambrosia and it was just as good! Additionally, I think I would like to have seen shaved Gruyère stand in for Parm in this salad and maybe add candied walnuts along with the pumpkin seeds…

Question: What are some of your favorite fall flavors you’ve incorporated into a salad?

Reading: The Apocrypha


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