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February 20, 2013

Warm up with a salad

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions — I tend to set annual goals on my birthday in July instead — but I do always roll (and I mean roll) into winter with a big case of food fatigue and a vow to end the crazy nonstop nibbling.

My slim-down strategy always includes lots of soups, which are cold-weather naturals, but I also like to eat things that crunch, like salads.

In France, salads — rather, salades — can be green, and composed of not much more than some kind of lettuce lightly dressed with vinaigrette that’s always homemade (I’m not even sure if bottled dressings are available in France; if they are, I’ve completely missed them). But I’m talking about something else. Something hearty. Warm.

Because by year’s end, if I’ve eaten far more meaty things than I’m accustomed to, I often lean hard on veggie-centric recipes — I do want my new jeans to again fit less like sausage casing and more like the baggy, boyfriendy things they’re supposed to be.

Plus, I love winter veggies, from the roots and greens to every single one of the members of the Brassica family, down to cute little Brussels sprouts.

During the years that I’ve spent in cold, dreary, wintry Paris, I’ve come up with a number of easy, go-to winter salads that never leave me feeling like I’m cheating myself out of something really tasty ... like some salads can. Au contraire, cowgirls and boys, these salads are so much fun that you just may forget that they’re good for you.

KALE, BLACK BEAN AND BEET SALAD

Makes 2 dinner-size or 4 first-course salads

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 large bunches kale, ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces

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