This is a delicious “pickled” salad to make ahead as it takes several hours of marinating for the flavors to fully develop. It’s bright, beautiful, crispy, crunchy and flavorful. A perfect snack.
This salad came about when I was trying to think of a way to use the stems that are usually discarded when cooking with chard. I happened to be using red chard, but I assume other chards will work as well. I had removed the leaves for a soup and was looking at the bright, ruby red stems and thought it was pity we didn’t use the stems in some way as they are so beautiful. I sliced off a piece of the stem and tasted it and thought it had a unique and interesting flavor that would work well in salads – sort of halfway between an onion and a beet.
I took one rutabaga, two carrots, 1 red onion and the stems of 6 red chard as well as 1 lemon for this salad.
I peeled the carrots and cut them down into matchsticks about 2 inches long. I used the first cut of matchsticks as a guide so that I cut all the veggies to the same length.
I then peeled the rutabaga and cut it into matchsticks as well. When peeling a rutabaga, be sure to peel deeper than just the purplish out skin. If you look closely you can see that there is a slightly lighter layer on the outside of the rutabaga. When using rutabaga raw in salads, you want to cut that away as it is a little woody and not crispy like the inside of the rutabaga.
I cut the chard into 2 inch pieces and then made vertical slices to cut it into matchsticks as well. On the stems, I cut the very outer edge (slightly darker red) where the leaves met the stalk away and discarded that before cutting the matchsticks. It’s not that it tastes bad or has a bad texture, but I did not want any of the green from the leaves in the salad.
I ten chopped up a small red onion cutting the pieces to about the same width as the matchsticks. I stirred everything together in the storage container I would use to marinate the salad.
Once I had all the veggies cut, I squeezed the juice of one fresh lemon over the veggies and added around 1 TBSP of walnut oil. Olive oil would work as well. I then added just a bit of salt and pepper and 1/4 tsp of cayenne. I put the lid on the container and shook it all up well and stored in the fridge. Whenever I walked past the fridge I turned the container over, letting the liquid run through from top to bottom again and again.
The next day, I tried it out and it was a success. The blend of veggies bring together sweetness from carrots, earthiness from rutabaga and a bit of tart and bitter from the chard. The bright flavor of the onions and the lemons just marry it all together. The cayenne adds heat and sweetness. Cayenne is a wonderful spice when used carefully. It can bring out the natural sweetness of veggies like carrots and rutabagas. It’s a crispy, crunchy salad which makes it a great snack food since we all love crunchy snacks. Makes 4 cups of salad.