During the cold winter months, when most salad greens are weary and wilted, a raw salad is sometimes the last thing anyone wants to eat. So what dish to turn to that’s healthy, tasty and quick to put together? Steamed vegetables, which can be dressed just as a salad is, are a perfect stand-in. With a flavorful dressing, they make a warming light meal or a side dish to anything you’re making for dinner.
The dressing can be made while the vegetables steam and then be drizzled over or tossed with the vegetables while they’re still warm — the result is simple and delicious. Try steaming different colored carrots, broccolini, butternut squash, sweet potato, radishes and a variety of greens, like kale, collards or Swiss chard. Add the sturdier vegetables to the steamer first, and once they’re just cooked through, add broccoli and dark leafy greens, steaming until bright green and tender. Transfer to a bowl immediately and dress with any of the five dressings below. To dial up the interest or turn the vegetables into a complete meal, throw in some toasted nuts or seeds, chopped scallions and parsley, cooked chickpeas or avocado.
Five Dressings for Steamed Vegetables
These dressings make enough for two servings of steamed vegetables, but they can easily be doubled or tripled to keep on hand. Store any extra dressings in jars in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Dijon Mustard Garlic Dressing
Place 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar, ½ clove garlic (crushed) and 2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a jar and shake well.
Combine 2 tablespoons tahini and 1 tablespoon water, and stir until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, ½ clove garlic (crushed) and sea salt to taste. Mix to combine. If necessary, thin with more water.
Olive Oil, Pepper and Lime
Place 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons finely sliced scallions, pinch sea salt and pinch freshly ground black pepper in a small jar and shake well.
Combine 1 tablespoon white miso with 1 tablespoon water, and stir until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon mirin, 1 teaspoon brown-rice vinegar and ½ teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger. Stir again. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and whisk until combined.
Stir to combine 1 tablespoon kimchi (finely minced), 1 tablespoon juice from kimchi, 2 tablespoons flax oil and pinch red chili flakes (optional).
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.