Thirty inches of snow means a lot of shoveling.

And a lot of eating.

For three days, we fed ourselves with an eye toward moving the mounds of fluff that blanketed our porch, driveway, sidewalk and roof.

But after three days of meat, potatoes, gravy and more meat, we craved something fresher. Still substantial, mind you (there’s more to shovel), but brighter on the plate and palate.

This did the job:


Red quinoa tossed with sauteed Brussels sprouts and thin slices of tart apple, dressed with a cider vinegar, honey and walnut vinaigrette and served warm. It was nutty, tangy and fresh — a perfect antidote to the prior days’ steaks, chops and chilis.

It filled us up and gave us fuel for another round of shoveling.

Which is good. Ice is predicted next week.

Feel-Good Winter Salad

We ate this with barely seared tuna steaks, but it’s substantial enough to serve as a main-dish meal. Add dried cranberries and toasted nuts if you’d like, and feel free to use any kind of flavorful oil.

  • 3/4 cup red quinoa
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced (I use my food processor’s slicing disk)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored, then cut into matchstick pieces
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3-4 tablespoons walnut oil
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Salt it generously.

Rinse the quinoa well. Add it to the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.

Drain the quinoa in a colander and set it aside.

Place about 2 inches of water in your saucepan. Bring it to a boil.

Place the colander with the quinoa over the boiling water, making sure the bottom of the colander does not touch the water. Place a towel over the quinoa, then put your saucepan’s lid over the towel. Fold the edges of the towel up over the lid so they don’t catch on fire. Steam the quinoa for 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is steaming, glaze a large saute pan with olive oil and warm over medium heat.

When the oil is shimmering, add the sliced Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper. Saute just until they begin to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, honey and 3 tablespoons of walnut oil. Season with salt and pepper, then taste. If the mixture is too acidic for your taste, add the additional walnut oil.

Place the Granny Smith apple pieces in the dressing. Top with the Brussels sprouts. As soon as the quinoa is done steaming, put it atop the sprouts.

quinoa3Toss everything well and taste. If the salad needs more brightness, squeeze the lemon juice on top and toss again.

Serve warm. This generously serves four winter-weary people.