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sprout + crunch radicchio cups w/ honey chive vinaigrette and avocado {for spring!}


Put your winter woes aside, friends. Spring is arriving in slow trickles, whispers, pops and things that go whooooosh. The sun is borderline blinding me as it streams down onto my desk and I cannot be bothered to draw that shade. We’ve waited too long. The grass is shifting from yellow-green-brown muck to actual fresh, emerald-hued blades (that rustle in the wind! So great.). There’s a mighty anticipation of what is surely wonderful–it’s just around the corner, the most minuscule shred of time longer.

Still, there’s nothing definitively “spring” available at the markets currently. It will be a while before the ground fully thaws and turns those seeds and roots into something nourishing and delicious (looking at you asparagus, breakfast radishes, wild leeks and peas). Until then, some more cool-weather items and sprouted goods will appease my craving for fresh, totally crisp, high-vibe things. Are you all kind of feeling this now too? The need for crunchy, fresh, higher-water-content kind of foods? I’ve been wanting giant salads and green drinks all the time. I think my body is ready for a seasonal warm up, so I’ve been giving myself what I need to move on to the next seasonal moment. Plenty of vegetables, fresh juices, herbal tea and So. Much. Water.

One of the local grocers always has a wonderful selection of fresh sprouts. There’s daikon radish, various herbs, pea shoots, wheatgrass and my favourite: sunflower sprouts. I picked up a pot of them for a radicchio salad with some cider-pickled beets I had made and a bit of sprouted wild rice. I decided at the last second to make these into more of a portable salad thing with a sweet, chive-flecked vinaigrette to take the bitter edge off of the radicchio wrap. They ended up being exactly what I wanted. The sprouted rice is chewy, the beets are still crisp and nicely acidic, sprouts for freshness and hemp seeds for nuttiness. If you enjoy cheese, a happy sprinkling of sheep’s milk feta would be quite pleasant I think.

I offer instructions for pickling the beets in the refrigerator style here. I love doing this with winter vegetables and it couldn’t be easier to rig up. Equal parts water and vinegar of your choice, spices, herbs, little salt and sweetening, all heated up. Pour it on top of vegetables packed in a jar, put the lid on and leave it in the fridge for 5-7 days. Super low maintenance and plenty of crunchy, tangy things for salads and snacks throughout the week. Sprouting the wild rice is similarly low key. Just place the rice in a jar, cover it with plenty of water and put a lid on it. Change the water twice a day for 2-3 days until you start seeing the white of the rice coming out and some curling up in the grains. Delightfully chewy complex carbohydrates are now at your disposal (back in the high life again, guys). If you can’t wait a couple days to sprout it, you could always stir in some cooked wild rice on the more al denté side. The chew-factor is so important.

I would love to know how you all ease into the warmer weather as it slowly seeps in. Do you cook up and eat anything special? Start going to yoga more? Do you obsessively seek out green things? Are you contemplating a juice fast/feast? (I feel like everyone around me is) Do you listen to awesome throwback 80s-style jams? I’m so curious about all of yous :)

xo
Laura

Oh and! A lovely gal I know has started a thoroughly rad book blog called Algonquin Side Table. It’s wonderful for decidedly casual readers like myself because Rebecca’s voice is so approachable. This week, she asked me to take part in a bit of a bookshelf interview, all pertaining to cookbooks and works on food! If you’d like to sneak a look at my bookshelves and take in some of my favourites you can check it out here.


sprout + crunch radicchio cups w/ honey chive vinaigrette and avocado recipe
serves: makes 8-12 cups
notes: If you don’t love the bitter quality of radicchio, you could sub a head of boston/butter lettuce in.

cider-pickled beets ingredients:
1 medium golden beet, peeled
1 bay leaf
black peppercorns
1 white from a green onion (I only used this because I had a few)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp raw honey or agave nectar

honey chive vinaigrette ingredients:
2 tbsp white balsamic or wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp raw honey or agave nectar
salt + pepper
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped chives + extra for garnish

radicchio cups ingredients:
1 large head of radicchio, core removed
1 heaped cup of sprouted or cooked wild rice
3/4 cup chopped cider-pickled beets
big handful sunflower sprouts
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
1 batch honey chive vinaigrette
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled + pitted
salt + pepper

Make the cider-pickled beets: cut the beet in half lengthwise and then cut each half into thin slices. Pack them into a clean 2-cup+ capacity jar, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space at the top. Tuck the bay leaf, black peppercorns and green onion bulb into the jar too. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, salt + agave/honey. Bring it to a boil and pour the mixture into the jar with the beets until all of the slices are covered. Put a lid on the jar, place it in the fridge and let it do its thing for 5-7 days.

Once you’ve removed the core from the radicchio, carefully pull off whole leaves. Once you have 8-12 or so, wrap them in damp paper towel until you’re ready to fill them.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey/agave, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk the vinaigrette together. Add the chives and whisk once more. Check for seasoning and set aside.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the sprouted wild rice, chopped pickled beets, sunflower sprouts, hemp seeds, all of the honey-chive vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Toss until everything is evenly mixed.

Place the radicchio leaves on a platter and spoon the wild rice + beet mixture into the cups. Dice the avocado and garnish the cups with it. Sprinkle some extra chopped chives on top and serve.

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Anouk27/03/2013 - 5:23 am

Spring! Oh how I look forward to the flowers & trees showing of their colors again… For now, we’re still enduring frost here in Belgium. But: sun is shining today! Still enjoying soups though :) But also some salad of course (lamb’s lettuce – yum!). Juice fast not really my thing – smelly breath alert! – I prefer some crunch so would rather go on a salad feast & a juice/smoothie to start the day (you should really try the mango-mint smoothie from the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook!).
//warm hug//

Caitlin27/03/2013 - 6:43 am

what a perfect meal to ring in the beginning of spring. i love eating more salads during this time, too. unfortunately, it hasn’t felt like spring around here much, as it just snowed again on monday! i’m so ready to start gardening in the warm sun and eating delicious raw wraps like this one ;)

erin27/03/2013 - 8:55 am

BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, these look just perfect and make me even more excited for spring (even though there is still now where I’m at!)

thelittleloaf27/03/2013 - 9:35 am

I am SO ready for Spring. Sadly it’s 2 degrees centigrade in the UK and absolutely frosty as anything! Once Spring arrives though I’ll be feasting on beautiful salads like this!

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan27/03/2013 - 10:17 am

Absolutely gorgeous, as usual!

Angela27/03/2013 - 12:18 pm

Creative,healthy and beautiful = perfect;)It’s snowing outside my window so a bowl of warm soup is what I need now. But I’m waiting impatiently for young spring vegetables and greens.

Eileen27/03/2013 - 2:03 pm

These little cups sound so refreshing and springy! I even have my own pickled beets all ready to use, hanging out in my kitchen cupboard–and golden ones, no less. :) Love it!

teri c27/03/2013 - 3:25 pm

So when you made the pickled beets, they were raw correct? look great but only have had them cooked…

Jacqui27/03/2013 - 5:38 pm

These are so gorgeous Laura! I ease into warm weather by opening up every window in my house any chance I get! 60 degrees and sunny, yep! Nothing beats fresh air, but I definitely have been getting my salads on!

Laura Wright27/03/2013 - 5:41 pm

Hi Teri! Yes, the beets are raw when you pour the pickling liquid onto them. They stay nice and crunchy. I find the earthy flavour isn’t as pronounced.
-L

Shira27/03/2013 - 10:20 pm

Oh heavens me! This post has so many things I love….firstly I am with you and can’t wait for those first shoots to break through back home (yup we are still here on holiday!) – and sprouts are the most perfect solution for the waiting! I made something similar recently with radicchio as bowls – they are so, so beautiful. Currently planning the list of things I want to pickle…starting with those amazing looking beets. What a fantastic tip. thanks Laura!

sarah27/03/2013 - 10:56 pm

Lovely photos. I *love* sprouts.
As for spring, I tend to eat more greens, and walk walk walk. I love walking, and we’ve been stuck inside all winter! Ugh. Also, I don’t pull out 80’s music, but I have been listening to a lot of Sarah McLachlin’s ‘Fumbling Toward Ecstasy’ (one of my most favorite albums, and terribly 90’s and nostalgic.) I spent lots of spring evenings driving around with that cranked, looking for cute boys…

Nicola Galloway28/03/2013 - 3:30 am

What a gorgeous idea, and your photos are stunning. We are at the other end of the planet so heading into autumn but still salad weather… just. Thanks, Nicola

carey28/03/2013 - 10:11 am

The sun is doing the same, blinding thing through my desk window, and I am totally into it. And there are tiny tufts of grass on the lawn and the beginnings of tulips in the garden — hurray! About GD time.

There are these little bags of sugar snap peas showing up on the shelves of our natural foods market, and they are SO tempting. But I resist, because I don’t know where they’re coming from, and I know they’ll only disappoint me. Right now, all I want are lots of fresh herbs and little baby greens. Sprouts are where it’s at. I’ve been a pea shot girl for a while now, but I’ll have to give those sunflower sprouts a try! Definitely no juice fasts for me. (I drink a juice and it just leaves me feeling annoyed because I’m still hungry, and I spent $8 on liquid instead getting a salad and a muffin, which is really what I wanted.) Lots of smoothies and walking. And pep talks to mentally prepare myself for the first bike ride of the season, which will make it painfully clear to me what a total lazeball I was all winter.

Kelsey28/03/2013 - 10:56 pm

This was exactly what my body wanted today on this gorgeous 65′ day. You are the queen of veggies, my love. I bow down. To your reader inquiry… I am SO craving GREEN. Green everything. I can’t even look at a loaf of bread right now, which is odd. Smoothies consist of fresh turmeric, banana, and kale… can’t stop won’t stop. I’m not sure if this is quite 80’s throw-back, but I have had an unusual affinity to this song since returning from Chile. http://snd.sc/YjDMJ2 … I’m usually more for the moody acoustic stuff, but… SPRING. I tell ya. It shakes it all up.

abrazos y besos

Lisa the Gourmet Wog29/03/2013 - 3:17 am

What a beautiful colourful salad. I absolutely love golden beet, and this makes the vegetable shine.

hungryandfrozen30/03/2013 - 1:05 am

Funnily enough, even though this recipe suits you for heralding spring, I think it’s just what I want to eat now that autumn’s nearly through and we’re coming into winter – just because I love all those bitter, sour, spicy flavours and I think they’ll be just what I need to counteract all the million stews and soups and so on that I’ll be eating this season. Just hope I can find some of those beauteous golden beets…

Kathryne31/03/2013 - 12:26 pm

YES! This is exactly what I want to eat this time of year. Spring is finally, finally here in Kansas City—Cookie and I just went on an epic walk in 60 degree weather, clear skies—and I’m ready to fill up on salads and green things. Be gone, winter fluff!

Ashlae01/04/2013 - 1:46 pm

I half-ass made these for lunch today and they were delicious. Just what the doctor ordered, in fact. As the warmer weather creeps in, I long for vegetable loaded eats and long morning runs. I eat a lot of big ass salads in the summer, but I think I could get used to fancy little wraps like these.

Sonja03/04/2013 - 9:48 pm

These look amazing! I’ve never tried a radicchio cup but it’s a perfect idea. Wonderful for pre-spring — before all the spring produce comes forth!

Julia05/04/2013 - 10:52 am

this recipe looks so fresh and delicious, i love working with radicchio!
i have to admit that i love all your recipes, I have you on the inspiration page of my blog.

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