The best thing about the holidays? Eggnog. Snow suits. Cinnamon brooms. Advent calendars. Grandparental visits. Eating dinner as night falls behind the window glass. In short, I can’t choose.
The worst thing about the holidays, though, is pretty straightforward: the diabolical metabolic/psychological phenomenon that occurs the day after an indulgent meal, insuring that despite the excess consumption of the day before, you will be absolutely famished when you wake up. Even if your brain is resigned to returning to your ordinary state of low-grade caloric deprivation–characterized by not eating more at meals than can fit on your plate, not eating pie for breakfast, not treating eggnog as a thirst-quencher, and not eating handfuls of sugar coated nuts or party mix or caramel corn every time you pass through the kitchen–your body will politely decline to make it easy for you. If you spend most of your days fighting the good (food) fight, then you’ll know that it takes a long time for bodies to acclimate to eating less than they really want…so why, oh why, should it take a single meal for them to embrace the practice of eating more than a day’s worth in a single sitting?
I suppose it is winter, and famine might be just around the corner for all our bellies know.
Stupid evolutionary biology.
I know of no way to get around it except to spend the few days after a holiday eating lots and lots of foods that do not include anything whipped with cream, topped with gravy, or soaked with butter. (If that sounds bleak to you, then you are one of my people. And yet, needs must: those skinny jeans aren’t going to zip themselves.)
This salad, modeled on the superfood salad kits my grocery store sells for $3.99 per little bitty bag, looks gorgeous and tastes like a delicious variety of dietary prudence. (You know that pleasantly sore feeling your muscles have the day after a rigorous workout. That’s how this salad tastes…sort of.) It’s a little bit creamy, a little bit tart, a tiny bit sweet, and crunchy in a couple of different ways. Plus, I’m pretty sure that I’ve made approximately 12 servings of it for less than $5.00. (A little financial prudence this time of year isn’t a bad idea, either, right?)
Homemade Superfood Salad (Serves 4 as a lunch main dish)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar (or whatever you have on hand)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons milk
pinch of salt and a sprinkle of pepper
2 cups kale (baby kale or regular kale with the tough stems removed), thinly sliced
1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 head regular cabbage, thinly sliced
3 thinly sliced green onions
handful of nuts, chopped (whatever you have around…I used my candied nuts)
handful of raisins
2 ounces (or more) of feta cheese, crumbled
- In a BIG bowl, whisk together your mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, milk, salt, and pepper. You are shooting for a tart-sweet dressing. (This, incidentally, is my grandmother’s coleslaw dressing recipe, when doubled and doused generously on chopped cabbage.)
2. Add the sliced kale, cabbage, and green onions to the bowl and stir to toss.
3. Divide between plates–you should have 4 generous servings–and top with nuts, raisins, and cheese.
You might even enjoy it so much that you forget that it’s 100% gravy-free. Maybe.