Pascale’s Kitchen: Fresh salads for Seder night

This week, I’m bringing you recipes for easy salads that can be made at the last minute, and served at your table at the Seder or the other Passover meals. 

 Lettuce, orange and apple salad (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Lettuce, orange and apple salad
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

This year, the Seder will be on Friday night, so by the time you are reading this week’s column, you will most likely have decided what your holiday menu will be. And so this week, I’m bringing you recipes for easy salads that can be made at the last minute, and served at your table at the Seder or the other Passover meals

People oftentimes don’t bother taking the time to think about preparing different types of salads, and usually end up serving the same one meal after meal. Just by adding a different spice, herb or vegetable you can upgrade each salad. Pretty much anyone who tastes a really good salad can tell right away that it’s a little different than the usual, run-of-the-mill version. 

In my opinion, salads are like a song sung with a three-part harmony. The combination of certain vegetables, herbs and spices, plus a tasty salad dressing, makes all the difference. You can surprise your family and guests by using an unusual flavor that can turn a boring salad into something really special. 

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Because I wanted to bring you recipes that can be made at the last moment without having to pop out to the store to purchase any more ingredients, the recipes you’ll find below include vegetables and other ingredients that most of us usually already have at home. 

 Carrot and candied pecan salad (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Carrot and candied pecan salad (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

For all three of the recipes I’ve included this week, all you have to do is peel the vegetables and then chop them into large pieces. This means they are much less time consuming than other recipes. 

One of the most important rules to follow when preparing salads is to combine the salad dressing ingredients in a separate jar or container with a lid, so that it can be stored separately and be poured over the vegetables just before serving. For example, if you’re preparing a salad to be eaten at the Seder, then it’s really important not to mix in the dressing until after you’ve finished reading all the parts of the Haggadah leading up to the meal, so that the vegetables can stay bright and fresh.

The first salad is a carrot and candied pecan salad that has always received lots of great reviews when I prepare it for guests or my family. Over the years, I’ve tried it out with lots of different combinations of nuts and fruits, and the one I’m including here is one of my favorites. It’s got great colors, tastes so fresh and almost always draws compliments. 

The second recipe is a lettuce, orange and apple salad that also calls for mint leaves. This salad really makes you feel like springtime has arrived and thus is perfect to serve at the Seder, to celebrate the beginning of the spring agricultural season. 

The third recipe is a cauliflower, pistachio and apricot salad that is best served with a vinaigrette salad dressing made with lemon juice and soy sauce. 

May we all enjoy the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt, and eating a scrumptious meal together with loved ones.

Chag Sameach!

Lettuce, orange and apple salad

Makes 8 servings. 

  • 1 package of Salanova lettuce
  • 1 package of arugula
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce
  • 5 leaves of kale
  • 2 scallions
  • Leaves from 4 sprigs of mint
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 orange, sliced thinly (with or without peel)

Vinaigrette dressing:

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
  • Juice from one orange, strained
  • 1 tsp. silan or honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 100 ml. olive oil

Topping:

  • Mint leaves

Rinse and dry the lettuce leaves, then remove the center stem of the kale leaves and discard. Rinse the kale and cut into pieces. Add all of the leaves to a large bowl. Chop the scallions and add them to the bowl. Add the mint leaves. 

Remove the seeds and core of the apples, then slice thinly. Place them on top of the lettuce. Slice the orange or separate it into sections and add them to the bowl. Mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Add all of the salad dressing ingredients to a jar and blend with a hand blender. Before serving, mix the fruit with the leaves, then pour the salad dressing on top and mix again. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with mint leaves. 

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 30 minutes.Status: Parve.

Carrot and candied pecan salad 

Makes 8 servings. 

Salad:

  • 5-6 carrots, grated
  • Bunch of chives, finely chopped

Salad dressing:

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup citrus vinegar
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 level Tbsp. demerara sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Toppings:

  • 100 gr. candied pecans, crushed coarsely
  • 2-3 chives

Place the grated carrots in a large bowl and add the chopped chives. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. In a separate container, mix the salad dressing ingredients together and store in the fridge. 

Just before serving, mix the carrots and chives with the salad dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the pecans and chives on top and serve. 

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 20 minutes.Status: Parve.

 Cauliflower, pistachio and apricot salad (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Cauliflower, pistachio and apricot salad (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Cauliflower, pistachio and apricot salad

Makes 8 servings. 

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 celery root
  • 1 cup broad beans, soaked in hot water 
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • ¼ bunch of mint leaves
  • 100 gr. dried apricots

Additions:

  • 100 gr. pistachios, peeled and roasted
  • ½ package of Salanova lettuce

Salad dressing:

  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. tahini
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Topping:

  • ¼ cup mint leaves

Rinse the cauliflower and grate it coarsely into a large bowl. Cut off the outer layer of the celery root and grate the inside. Remove the peel from the beans and add them to the bowl. Rinse the leaves well and then dry them. Chop them finely, then add to the bowl. 

Slice the apricots into thin slices or cubes and add to the bowl. Mix the ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Put the salad dressing ingredients in a jar with a top and shake well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Store in the fridge until serving. 

Just before serving, add all of the ingredients together and pour on the dressing. Top with mint leaves and serve. 

Level of difficulty: Easy.Time: 30 minutes.Status: Parve.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.