Another salad, I know, but truly I love them; no apologies. My salads take some chopping (or in this case, mandoline) work and lots of layering means no boring here! Pairing fruit with the vegetables in a crisp collective, coated in a tangy nutty dressing, and then served with a starchy side makes this dinner filling and satisfying by hitting the major texture and taste groups. I like to create full and complete meals so you don't have to figure out what goes together, or what you need to fix as a whole in order to get a filling and flavor packed dinner on the table. This one is one of my favorites certainly boosted by the play of contrast with the baked & mashed potatoes.
Sustainability Spotlight: Russet potatoes get a bad rap with (largely outdated) research which has correlated (aka - connected) their consumption to Type 2 diabetes and weight gain. It is also thought that their high starch content (which can easily be turned into sugars) could lead to high blood pressure. That aside, though, it is equally factual to say that russets contain a lot of good nutrients for you. Surprise! The skin is even better. In fact, half of all of a russet potato's fiber is housed in the skin. Other benefits of the potato and its skin include vitamins, iron, potassium, and calcium. Yep, calcium; so important to bone health - a fact of note especially for those that think "going vegan" leads to calcium deficiencies from lack of dairy. Nope! And in this recipe, I use the whole potato, not just increasing your nutrient intake but also reducing food waste and maximizing the resources used to grow and harvest this vegetable by not peeling the potato. To add to that, the skin adds texture and flavor, and saves you time peeling; to me, that's well worth including in your mash!
Frisee & Romaine Salad:
2 cups chopped romaine (~1 head; core included)
1 cup frisee (~2 small heads)
1/2 cup fennel bulb (sliced thin on a mandoline - setting 1)
1 sweet-tart apple like Pink Lady (sliced thin on a mandoline - setting 1)
1 Bartlett pear (sliced thin on a mandoline - setting 1)
1 small handful of fresh chives (chopped)
2 tbsp pecans (chopped)
Toasted Pecan Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup avocado oil
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 tbsp pecans (chopped)
1 tsp stone ground mustard
1 tsp agave syrup
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
Baked Mashed Potatoes:
4 medium russet potatoes (scrubbed and dried)
1 1/4 cups oat milk
1 tbsp cider vinegar
4-5 roasted garlic cloves
3 tbsp vegan butter (I use Melt brand)
1/2 tbsp salt (or to taste)
Optional garnish: flaked sea salt
Start oven for 500 degrees F, place all four potatoes directly on oven racks (dry; no oil - do not pierce with fork). When oven is up to temperature, put 40 minutes on the timer. Potatoes are done when you can easily pierce with a fork.
While potatoes are roasting, chop (or mandoline as noted) all salad ingredients and add to a large bowl. Mix & set aside.
Next, set a small dry pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped pecans and toast ~3-4 minutes. You will know when the pecans begin to toast as they will become fragrant; vigorously shake the pan so as not to burn the nuts. Remove from heat and immediately remove from pan placing 1 tbsp into a personal blender (for the dressing) and 2 tbsp into the salad bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients noted in the vinaigrette to the blender and blitz until incorporated and slightly foamy. Set aside until potatoes are done.
Once potatoes are done, remove from oven carefully with oven mitts and place on a cutting board. Coarsely chop potatoes and place in a medium bowl. Mash with remaining ingredients. Finish with flaked sea salt (as desired).
Dress salad and mix well. Serve salad with mashed potatoes.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie