Winter Salad with Popped Amaranth and Blood Oranges. Are you looking for an amazing, healthy salad to get you through these winter months? This salad is it. Also, have you ever tried popped grains before? I used popped amaranth on this one. It is super healthy, adds great texture and flavor, and is so easy to make! The best part, it is made from start to finish in under 10 minutes, the dressing and popped amaranth included.
Why You Need This Salad
We could all use the nutrients we can get from dark leafy greens and citrus, especially in the winter. This salad will help you get at least one serving of both vegetables and fruit on one plate!
It is really simple to make. I can usually throw this salad together in about 5-10 minutes at the most. Getting a healthy dose of goodness is easy!!
This salad is beautiful. Not only will you feel better eating this, but it is really pretty to present.
Not only does it have a serving of both fruits and veggies, but it also has whole grains as well. Amaranth is a tiny powerhouse of nutrients and popping it is a really easy way to eat it.
What is Amaranth and How Do You Pop It?
Its earliest known use was with the Aztecs, but today is most commonly seen in Indian Cuisine. It is considered a superfood.
You can cook it like other grains, although technically it is a seed, like quinoa. I add it to soups and chilis often. It is a small grain but packs a big punch nutritionally. It is also gluten-free, so this salad is good for anyone!
Popping grains is a lot like popping popcorn...well, minus the lid. You don't want steam to develop. All these little babies need is heat. If you aren't familiar with amaranth, it is a great ancient grain you should try.
So, why pop the grain? I mean, probably because it is so easy! Throw it in a hot pan and it pops in seconds. So, why not? Let me give you the basics of cooking these tasty little seeds.
Heat a pan with high sides, I am telling you, the amaranth will pop everywhere! I heated my pan over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Once it is good and hot, add the amaranth.
It should start to pop immediately. If it isn't hot enough, the amaranth will burn in the pan before it cooks. I have had plenty of ruined batches for this reason.
Add a teaspoon-tablespoon, depending on the size of pan you are using. Once the amaranth is in the popped- remember this takes about 10-25 seconds, remove from pan.
Once it is cooked, let it cool for just a minute 2. Then it is ready to go!
Preparing the Salad
You can use any greens you prefer, but I have been on a kale kick lately. But...the only way I enjoy kale is when it has been massaged. Have you tried this method yet?
It is actually really simple. Start by rough chopping your kale first. Then, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Then gently massage. This should only take a minute or 1 at the most. You don't want to turn it to mush.
I love the creamy texture of avocados, so I add them to salads whenever I can. Cut them in chunks, or slices like I did.
Next up, I threw in a few finely sliced red cabbage. I like that crunch and a little bite. For crunch, I also added chopped almonds, pepitas, and sunflower seeds.
Last up is our citrus. I used blood oranges and navel. The color combo of the 2 against the greens is just so pretty. If you have another orange variety you like, you can use that as well.
I love Cara Cara, pomelo, and many others. So use whatever you prefer. I simply cut off the peel, then cut it into circle sections.
The assembly is simple. Layer with the massaged kale, thinly sliced purple cabbage, avocados, orange slices, pepitas, chopped almonds, and popped amaranth. It is best served right away.
This salad can be used for meal prep, but you can really only make it 2 days in advance. The kale will get too soggy and the oranges will too.
You can make the popped amaranth well in advance. It will hold at room temp for at least 4 days and still be good. Unless you live in a really humid climate, then it is only good for about 24 hours.
This Winter Salad with Popped Amaranth and Blood Oranges are really with added chicken, boiled eggs, or even scallops for added protein.
Salad Dressing Options
There are several dressings that are perfect for this salad. My favorite is a poppy seed maple dressing. Or how about a citrus balsamic dressing. There is also my red wine vinaigrette. A Creamy apple cider vinaigrette is another favorite in our house.
FAQ Winter Salad with Popped Amaranth and Blood Oranges
You can! most grains will pop! I have tried buckwheat, rice, etc. Amaranth is by far my favorite.
It will hold up to 48 hours, in the fridge in an airtight container.
There are so many greens you could use in this salad. If you don't like kale, there is always spinach, arugula, turnip greens, collards, etc.
Simple Winter Greens with Blood Oranges
- cutting board and knife
- 6 cups kale rough chop
- 1-2 blood oranges
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½-1 teaspoon salt
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon amaranth
- 1 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
Orange Balsamic Dressing
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- salt to taste
- Start this recipe by popping the amaranth. This is a really simple process. Heat a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Once it is good and HOT add in 1 teaspoon of amaranth.
- Shake the pan, moving the amaranth around. It will start to pop within about 5 seconds. If not, the pan was not hot enough. Try again. Cook, adding in about 1-2 teaspoons at a time.
- Once it is cooked, spread on a plate and allow it to cool.
- While it is cooling, start your salad. Cut the kale into pieces. I like them about 2-inches, so they are easier to eat. Drizzle with the tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with the salt,
- Massage until the kale is softened and is tender.
- Next, but up your oranges and avocado. Then start plating your salads.
- Then mix your dressing in a bowl or mason jar. Mix and taste for salt. Add it as needed.
- Pour the dressing generously over the salad.
- That is it! You are done. Now, sit back and enjoy.