New Diet, New Salads

January 12, 2012

Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.

Winter salads can be way different than summer salads. Not that much of the same produce isn’t available, but rather, the hardier winter greens – like arugula, spinach, endive, escarole, cabbage, sorrel and watercress – are so affordable.

Most of these greens are pretty easy to find in your produce section. However, if you want to take the simple route, buy a ready to use bag. Just pick the bag called “mesclun or “spring mix.” The mix of lettuces will vary depending on who is packaging it, but the greens will complement each other in flavor.

There are three types of lettuce: head or cabbage, curled or leaf and romaine.  Choose head lettuce or cabbage that is firm, compact and heavy for its size. Its color should be uniform and bright with no yellow spots. Cut the base out with a sharp knife.

For romaine lettuce, look for a head with tight green leaves with no yellow spots or wilted leaves. Trim the base from the leaves. You can use the whole leaf, or cut or tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.

Regardless of what type of lettuce, before you serve it, you should rinse your greens very well (there can be lots of dirt hidden in the folds) in cold water. You should also follow proper guidelines to ensure there are no bugs.

Next, drain the leaves in a colander, on paper towels or use a salad spinner. If you don’t want to use the leaves right away, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.


Lettuce tips

To shred:  Roll several leaves together, like a cigar, then the roll cut crosswise into thin slices.

For wraps or cups, use leaf lettuce instead of tortillas.



Servings: 6 – 8


1 small red onion, very thinly sliced

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

Kosher salt

1/2 cup water

6 ounces kosher breakfast beef

3/4 cup olive oil

1 large carrot, julienned into 2- by 1/8-inch pieces

1 parsnip, julienned into 2- by 1/8-inch pieces

8 sprigs thyme

crushed red pepper

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small (10 ounces) celery root, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 head(s) Bibb lettuce, leaves separated


1. In a medium bowl, combine the onion with 1/2 cup of the vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the water. Let stand until the onions are lightly wilted, about 3 to 4 hours. Drain well and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the kosher breakfast beef on the baking sheet, cover with another sheet of parchment and another baking sheet.

3. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the breakfast beef is browned and crisp. Remove the top baking sheet and parchment paper and let the breakfast beef cool.

4. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the carrot, parsnip, 4 thyme sprigs, and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Place the vegetables onto a plate and discard the thyme.

5. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet along with the squash, celery root, the remaining 4 thyme sprigs and another pinch of crushed red pepper. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash and celery root are tender, 5 minutes. Discard the sprigs.

6. Return the carrot and parsnip to the skillet. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of olive oil.

7. Arrange the lettuce on plates. Top with the warm vegetable vinaigrette, pickled onions, and breakfast beef. Serve immediately.

Recipe modified From Food & Wine, by Scott Conant



Servings: 10 – 12


1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced green onions

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup oil

2 packages (5 ounces each) mixed greens

2 medium tart apples, thinly sliced

1 can hearts of palm, drained and sliced

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup pecan halves

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion


1. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, maple syrup vinegar, green onions and sugar. Whisk to combine and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (you can make it 24 hours in advance).

2. When ready to serve, combine the lettuce, apples cherries, pecans, hearts of palms and red onion in a salad bowl. Mix to combine and then drizzle the dressing over the top. Toss to coat and serve.

Source unknown, from my files.



Servings: 12


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice (from a can)

2 teaspoons diced onion

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup oil

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

2 heads red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

1 cup cashew pieces

1 cup pecan pieces

1 cup sliced red grapes

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

2 pears, peeled, cored and diced


1. In a food processor, combine the brown sugar, crushed pineapple, onion, mustard and salt. Process until blended about 1 minute.

2. Leave the machine running and add the oil. Process for another minute. The dressing should be thick and smooth.

3. Add sesame seeds and pulse for 5 seconds just to mix.

4. In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, nuts, grapes, apples and pears. Toss to mix.

5. Pour dressing over salad just before serving and toss to coat.

Source unknown, from my files.



Servings: 8 – 10


1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 to 5 bok choy leaves, cored and shredded

1 cup shredded red cabbage

2 shredded carrots

2 diced portabella mushrooms

1 bunch watercress, washed and roughly chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons water, if needed

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb cooked curly pasta, drained and kept warm


1. Cook and drain the pasta. Set aside.

2. In a skillet, saute the ginger and garlic in the olive oil.

3. Add the carrot and saute for 1 minute.

4. Add the cabbage and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

5. Add the mushrooms and bok choy.  Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, adding the water if needed to keep the vegetables from sticking.

6. Add the chopped watercress and cooked pasta. Mix to totally combine the pasta and vegetables. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until warm throughout.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Modified from B&W



Servings: 12


1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 cups chopped mushrooms (whatever kind you like; use at least 2 kinds)

1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken or turkey

3 cups shredded Napa (Chinese) cabbage

1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and minced

1 cup minced green onions

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 fresh cilantro or parsley, shredded

24 Boston lettuce leaves

black or white sesame seeds


1. Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and chicken and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add shredded cabbage, kosher salt, crushed red pepper and water chestnuts; cook for 5 minutes or until cabbage wilts.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the onions, oyster sauce and soy sauce.

(You can, at this point, freeze this mixture and use it when you want or you can use it right away. To freeze, cool the mixture and put it in a container or zip-top plastic bag and freeze.)

5. Thaw chicken when ready to use. When ready to serve, microwave until warm. Just before serving, mix in the cilantro.

6. Spoon about 3 tablespoons chicken mixture into each lettuce leaf. (If there is too much liquid, drain first, then place the chicken in the lettuce.) Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top and serve.

Modified from



Servings: 12


12 Boston or butter lettuce leaves, shredded

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoon mayonnaise

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon celery seed

4 stalks celery, sliced thin

2 carrots, shredded

1 English cucumber, halved and sliced thin


1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, horseradish, lemon juice, mayonnaise, sugar, celery seed and salt. Set aside.

2. In a salad bowl, combine the celery, cucumber, carrots and shredded lettuce. Pour the dressing over and toss to combine.

3. Let set in the refrigerator or 15 minutes before serving.

Submitted by Ronnie Jackson, Boston MA.



Servings: 12



2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons minced onions

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt


3 cups orange sections (about 3 large oranges)

3 cups torn romaine lettuce

3 cups torn red leaf lettuce

3 cups baby spinach leaves

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled kosher feta cheese


1. In a bowl, combine the combine the sugar, onions, vinegar, orange juice, mustard, olive oil and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

2. In a salad bowl, combine the orange, romaine, red leaf lettuce, and spinach. Toss to combine. Add onion and feta and drizzle the dressing over salad. Toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Modified from

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.