Speckled Salad with Quinoa, Leek, Bacon, & Chervil from 'Home Made Winter'


[Photograph: Oof Verschuren]

Salads are a staple of many a resolution-conscious eater come January. And while eating more vegetables is always a healthy choice, meal after meal of barely-dressed plates of carrots and mixed greens will get old quickly. Yvette van Boven's Speckled Salad with Quinoa, Leek, Bacon, and Chervil in her new Home Made Winter hits many health points (Vegetables! Whole grains! Spinach!) while still including enough pleasurable bits (Bacon! Wine! Bacon!) to prevent boredom. This is a texturally rich salad, and all the better for it.

Why I picked this recipe: With bacon, braised leeks, and an oil-forward dressing, this salad is a far cry from the dry mixed greens of many a new year's resolution past.

What worked: The balance of textures here is spot on. The pop of the quinoa and poppy seeds contrasts perfectly with the creamy leeks, crunchy bacon, and tender spinach.

What didn't: I thought the dressing could use more lemon juice, perhaps as much as double the amount listed. There is also far more dressing than needed to dress the salad—drizzle to taste.

Suggested tweaks: If you can't find chervil, parsley would work as a substitute. I couldn't find baby leeks, so I used three larger ones. Any small lettuce would work in place of the spinach.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Home Made Winter to give away this week.