To most people salad is not an exciting thing. It’s what you eat when you’re on a diet or a clichéd first date food. But I confess, I love salad. It’s also true that when I make a salad it’s not necessarily going to guarantee a low calorie intake. A salad is a great vehicle for all types of condiments and things you might feel guilty eating if they were not otherwise on lettuce. This salad may be put in the above category, but trust me you will not feel bad about eating it. It is such a nice combination of the bitter Belgian endive with the sweet candied walnuts, plus there’s blue cheese. Oh, blue cheese, how I love you. This recipe calls for crumbled blue cheese, but I really prefer to use a chunky blue cheese dressing to add extra creaminess. My favorite blue cheese dressing for this is Cindy’s Kitchen Real Blue Cheese Dressing Dip, it is so chunky, creamy and delicious.
I’ve been telling the mister for about a year now that he should try black bean burgers. Well, I think when I mentioned this to him he nodded politely, thinking that a burger really should contain some form of meat and definitely a bun. Yet, I think even for a meat lover like the mister he enjoyed these. I keep it simple by making a mixture of spices, black beans and roasted sweet potato and baking the patties in the oven. The juxtaposition between the savory, creamy black beans and the sweet potato is what makes these special. I like these served without a bun and with a dollop of sour cream.
I’ve made these awhile ago, probably two years ago, and I couldn’t find the original recipe. I must say I liked these better the first time I made them. I’m not sure if it’s the recipe or the possibility that now my palate is more experienced. That being said, I did enjoy these and I would make them again.
Endive Salad with Candied Pecans and Blue Cheese
adapted from Robin Miller
2 bunches Belgian endive, leaves separated and rinsed well
1 cup candied pecans
1/4 cup blue cheese, or blue cheese dressing
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Arrange endive leaves on a serving platter. Top with candied walnuts and blue cheese. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil and mustard. Whisk to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Drizzle mixture over salad and serve.
Black Bean Burger
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained
1 sweet potato, diced and roasted
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup sour cream
kosher or sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. In a saute pan, saute onions and garlic untill translucent. Place sweet potato in oven and bake until fork tender. Combine onions, garlic, black beans, roasted sweet potato and spices in a bowl. Mash the mixture with a fork until the black beans and sweet potato are half-crushed. Add the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine. If the mixture looks too moist, add more breadcrumbs. Form mixture into 4 inch patties and place in oven for 20 minutes or until patties are warmed through and firm. Place a dollop of sour cream on top and serve warm.