It’s Crunch Time

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Andy and I are getting ready for a long-anticipated trip to Oaxaca, so for me it’s crunch time.  Actually, I’m thinking about nuts again (crunch) and seeds and New Mexico, more than I am about the lengthy instructions I need to write for our cat/dog/house sitter on dealing with our disfunctional animals while we’re on our Mexican holiday.  Andy’s got some nutty ideas too – and really, really delicious ones.

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A jicama about to go into my salad.  Crunch.

Ever since David wrote the last blog, New Mexico has been on my mind.  I love David’s New Mexican Calabacitas recipe.  I also love a jicama salad recipe that comes from one of my favorite old cookbooks, The Feast of Santa Fe.  Actually,  I just love any crunch this time of year, when garden-fresh veggies seem like a time long past.

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I’m trying to stick to my New Year’s resolution – at least for one blog.  That is, I’m going to loosen up and be adventurous and less recipe-focused in my cooking.  All of the following salad recipes encourage you to branch out and create!  Also, in accordance with my NY’s resolutions, I promise not to have my suitcase packed and sitting by the door 2 weeks prior to our departure for Mexico.

Here are three simple and healthy salads – to begin the new year – with crunch.

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Crunchy Sunflower Seed, Apple, and Kale Salad

Crunchy Sunflower Seed, Apple, and Kale Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print
Be flexible and use what you’ve got!


  • 1 bunch kale de-stemmed and slivered – Russian or curly green; or use chard. I had 6 cups of kale after slivering it and then it mushes down to about 4 c after adding the oil
  • 4 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced – Pink Lady, Jazz, Granny Smith, whatever
  • Shaved, hard cheese – around 1oz or 1/2 c – I use the local Vella Dry Jack, but aged gouda, parmesan, gruyere work well too.  A vegetable peeler is what to use to shave the cheese.
  • 2 T lemon juice, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 2 T toasted, salted sunflower seeds – or chopped toasted almonds,  toasted pumpkin seeds, or lightly-toasted pine (pinon) nuts

Add 2 T of the olive oil to the slivered kale and massage thoroughly – hopefully with clean hands.  (Note: skip the massaging part, if you’re using chard.)  That can be done hours ahead of time – but should be done at least 1/2 hour before dining. .

Add 1 T of the lemon juice to the diced apples and mix to coat them well.  Then add the apples and cheese to the kale.  Mix gently.

Whisk together the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, salt, garlic and remaining 2 T of olive oil.  Add that to the salad and toss.  Serve with the sunflower seeds scattered across the top.

The salad keeps better than most – for at least several days in the refrigerator.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals and Andy and Ann
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Crunchy Fruit Salad – with Cara Cara oranges

Crunchy Fruit Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Print
Inspired by the Christmas Eve Salad (Ensalada de Noche Buena) in The Feast of Santa Fe cookbook.


  • 1 small jicama, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 c)
  • 4 oranges, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
  • 1 c fresh (don’t use canned!) pineapple chunks (optional)
  • 1 or 2 cooked, sliced then quartered red beets (optional)
  • pomegranate seeds, if they’re available
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • red and green minced chiles (optional and to taste)
  • 1/2 c roasted, salted peanuts, chopped a little

Mix all the salad ingredients (except beets, if you’re using them) together in a bowl and chill for several hours, if you have time.  Bring the ingredients back to room temperature before serving.  Drain off any juice that has collected to add to the dressing.


  • 1 T lime juice
  • 1 T peanut oil or olive oil
  • 2 T yogurt or sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • collected juice from the salad

Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together. Add the dressing to the salad just before serving and toss lightly.

The salad keeps beautifully for several days, but if you are holding the salad for a while, add the dressing and red beets just before serving.  If you want to serve this fancy-style, arrange the jicama, oranges, apple and pineapple (and beets, if you want) in a circle on a chopped-lettuce-lined platter, sprinkle the whole thing with green onions, cilantro, and peanuts and serve with a cup of the dressing in the middle of the platter. Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann
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Crunchy Pepitas, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Salad

Crunchy Pepitas, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Salad


  • 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes (I used 4 small ones), peeled and diced (about 1″ pieces)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced and then slices halved
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (the kind you use in chili, which is a combination of spices) – or Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning.
  • 2 c cooked black beans (or 1 16 oz can), rinsed (those lovely black beans in the photo are Rancho Gordo’s Domingo Rojo)
  • 1/2 c red and/or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 c roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place the sweet potatoes and onions on a sheet pan – then drizzle with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and mix well.  Be sure that it’s all spread out nicely in a single layer.  Roast 30-40 minutes, stirring mid-way, if you think of it.

Make the dressing by whisking the lime juice, garlic, chile powder and remaining oil (2T) together.

After the sweet potatoes have cooked and cooled, add the black beans, bell pepper, and cilantro.  Drizzle with the dressing and mix lightly.  Serve with the pumpkin seeds scattered on top.

The salad will keep well for several days, refrigerated.  You might add the cilantro at serving time, if you’re planning on not serving it all right away.  And definitely wait until serving to add the pumpkin seeds. Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann







  1. Helen Weaver says:

    Your salads really look yummy & easy enough That even I could maybe make. Even I who yesterday burned water. The cold water was still in my cup when I turned on the hot water maker. Oh my what a terrible smell. Oh well, you can’t burn a salad.


  2. Bob Carleton says:

    Salads are great year-round. Like the orange + offering; too seldom do we make fruit a core part of any salad, whether it be a first course (American) or a later part of the meal (as in France).

    Travel gently, enjoy extravagantly!


    • theRaggedys says:

      Thanks. We agree that fruits can add much to salads. Also, we love your “travel gently, enjoy extravagantly” comment; we are not sure of what it means exactly, but it appears pithy and worth repeating.


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