Circa-midwinter, after all the holiday cheer, I usually want to hunker down with chunk of bread pudding, a steaming bowl of stew, and as many simple cakes as my oven will fit. But, this January, I’ve been doing an elimination diet to diagnose any hidden food allergies, which has stolen my trusty sidekicks away. This means no cheese, no eggs, no sugar, no prosciutto, no lemons.
So what’s a comfort-food-loving girl to do? It turns out that eating healthily in the winter doesn’t just have to be a bowl of quinoa topped with beans and half an avocado (though, that’ll do on most days). Sometimes, it’s nice to forget winter entirely and make something light, crisp, refreshing—and dare I say it?—summery.
Beneath the vibrant hues of carrot, radish, and snap pea in this recipe there is one tuberous winter star: nutty, roasted sunchokes. Alongside the raw vegetables they offer a grounding, earthy balance. The key to great sunchokes is a lot of oil—more than you might be comfortable with at first, but please withhold judgment until you try one—and letting them become so meltingly tender, they flatten with the gentlest squeeze.
I’m not going to pretend this is an “easy, fast meal!” because it will take some time and knife skills or a mandoline. Don’t rush it. Lean into the faux-July vibe with a beachy soundtrack and let the chopping begin. I recommend prepping the sunchokes first and letting them do their thing in the oven while you slice the remaining vegetables.
And, if you’ve never tried a watermelon radish before, it’s time. Aren’t they stunners? (See below.) It’s a sweeter, milder version of the peppery, small variety you normally see in the market. If you can’t find the watermelon kind, any other radish type will do.
Once the salad’s ready, heap some into your favorite deep bowl, perch yourself window-adjacent, and peer out at a (hopefully) bluebird sky. For just a second, you might forget it’s actually frigid beyond the pane. I know I did.
Winterfresh Salad with Roasted Sunchokes
By Lindsay Hunt
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes), well scrubbed and mostly peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup olive oil, plus additional to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
1 watermelon radish, very thinly sliced
2 cups snap peas, sliced
White balsamic or white wine vinegar, to taste
Heat the oven to 400º F. Toss the sunchokes with ¼ of the olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile prep the vegetables as listed in the ingredients list. Toss them in a large bowl with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Use clean hands to massage the vegetables, particularly the cabbage, so they tenderize.
When the sunchokes are roasted, let cool slightly, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to the salad bowl. Toss together and serve.