Salads may seem ordinary to most but I had never laid eyes on lettuce until I arrived in North America. If there was anything raw on our dinner table, it was chopped cabbage or onions with a squeeze of lime. My first experience with a salad was a memorable one ~ the cold and crisp lettuce lightly coated in an olive oil lemon vinaigrette, topped with crumbled goat cheese and crunchy nuts. Over the years, I have infused salad dressings with every imaginable seed pop or added minced mango chutney, or even added assorted pickles to dressings to brighten flavors. The beautiful red tinged amaranth leaves, nicknamed the new kale, are a powerhouse of vitamins and energy. Many local farmers around Houston are growing them and they are typically available at Indian or Asian grocers. The farmers markets are filled with varieties of oranges also these days and if you are lucky enough to snag the incredible feta cheese from Blue Heron farms, you will have yourself an amazing salad!
makes ~3-4 servings
4-5 cups of amaranth leaves
juice from one lemon
pinch of salt
pinch chili powder
5-6 oz feta or goat cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
Toss the amaranth leaves with lemon and salt and refrigerate until ready to use.
Peel the 3 tangerines and slice them horizontally (about ½ inch thick) and lay them on a serving plate. Sprinkle the orange slices with a pinch of salt and chili powder.
Heat up olive oil until just shy of smoking and add the cumin seeds. Within seconds, the seeds will pop and sizzle ~ turn the heat off and drizzle the hot oil over the sliced tangerines.
Crumble or cut the cheese into pieces and place it next to the orange slices.
Spread the marinated amaranth leaves next to the cheese and serve.
ideas / variations
Upland or plain watercress works well instead of amaranth leaves.
Replace the cumin seeds with coriander seeds – be careful when popping seeds to ensure they don’t burn or the salad will turn bitter.
The salad can be prepared ahead of time and kept refrigerated for up to 4-6 hours. Even if the amaranth leaves wilt, they still taste really good.