Michigan winters are just straight up unpredictable. Two years ago we were hit by an ice storm of apocalyptic proportions before getting locked in what meteorologists referred to as a polar vortex that lasted months. If you are unfamiliar with the phrase ‘polar vortex’ just imagine stepping outside and getting socked with air so wicked cold it freezes your lungs with every inhale for weeks on end.
This year we welcomed record breaking warm temperatures throughout December. It came at the expense of a not-so-white Christmas, but I’m fine with that since it meant not worrying about slipping down a flight of stairs while carrying a load of presents, two hounds, and a yule log up to my parent’s house.
Even though the temperatures have been warmer, we’ve had an inordinate amount of cloudy, gloomy days. This last Sunday was the kind of day where just looking outside made you want to crawl back under the covers and go back to sleep until the sun was ready to come out. Even my hot, steamy coffee was rendered useless by foreboding overcast skies.
The heavier the cloud cover, the more weighted my feet felt as I dragged them from room to room. The thick hunting socks I borrowed from my husband started collecting dog hair with every shuffle along our cold wood floors. There was a 90% chance of precipitation and a 100% chance of me not leaving the house this day.
So we loafed on the couch all morning watching crime shows and munching on leftover Christmas treats. Just like the clouds, I had a nagging desire to accomplish something hanging over my head and a fridge full of produce just begging to be assembled into a salad.
I peeled myself away from the mass of pillows, dogs, and husband and got to work. I love using hearty greens and grains that I can toss together and load with dressing while not worrying about anything getting soggy. These salads are usually made in big batches and thrown in the fridge while I take a serving or two out at a time.
Using kale, brussels sprouts, and chewy wheat berries combined with my maple balsamic dressing means the flavors only get better with time. This is the base for my salad and it can get topped with just about anything to make it a complete meal. I opt for creamy avocado, sweet persimmons, and salty ricotta to balance everything out.
The dressing might be my favorite part of this salad. It’s so simple and can be made in big batches and kept in the fridge. I like to use a blender to emulsify the ingredients into a creamy mixture, but you could certainly add everything to a jar and shake until combined.
Persimmon Kale Winter Salad
For the Salad
- 1/2 Cup Wheat Berries
- 2 Cups Kale, shredded or torn
- 6 Oz Brussels Sprouts, shredded
- 2 Persimmons
- 1 Avocado, sliced
- 1/2 Cup Ricotta
For the Maple Balsamic Dressing
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Cook the wheat berries according to the packaged directions. Meanwhile, make the dressing by adding the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and dijon mustard to a blender. Turn the blender on low and slowly drizzle the olive oil. If not using a blender, combine everything in a jar and shake until combined.
Pour a couple tablespoons of dressing on the kale and massage into the leaves. Add the brussels sprouts and wheat berries and drizzle with additional dressing to taste. Toss to combine everything and top with persimmons, avocado, and ricotta.