Is This the Most L.A. Salad Ever?

Photo by Johnny Autry

Grand Central Market Cookbook
Photo: Clarkson Potter

Grand Central Market is the epitome of LA culture. The food hall has been operating downtown since 1917, and it’s a seductive blend of old and new: Trendy egg sandwiches and turmeric lattes exist next to old-school candy spots and traditional Mexican mole vendors.

The new book, The Grand Central Market Cookbook: Cuisine and Culture from Downtown Los Angeles captures the diversity of vendors all under one roof, each one with a unique, only-in-LA kind of story to tell.

But recently, nothing cuts to the core of an Angeleno’s existence like worrying about water use—California is just now recovering from one of the worst droughts it has seen in over 1,000 years and, in a state where 40 percent of the water supply is used for agricultural purposes, watching your water consumption means watching what you eat, too.

That’s why Grand Central Market’s prime produce vendor, District Market, invented The Drought Salad— to showcase vegetables that consume less water. “District Market also offers a range of great produce sourced from local farmers for consumers who want to directly support small-scale farming,” says Kevin West, co-author of the cookbook. So, he worked with the produce pros to create a salad with ingredients that “sip water, rather than guzzle it."

Root vegetables, which grow underground, lose less water through evaporation than cucumber. Jicama adds crunch with less H2O impact than almonds, and baby spinach takes less water to grow because it’s harvested sooner than regular spinach. The final result? A delicious, antioxidant-dense salad that’s also fiber rich and low in carbon footprint.

“[The salad] is meant as a kind of inspiration to consumers,” says West. “You can eat healthy food while also doing your part to encourage farmers to manage water use responsibly.”

Ready to get inspired? Read on for the recipe.

Drought Salad

Serves 8

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp pale honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of dried thyme
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
5 medium red or golden beets, peeled and julienned
3 medium carrots, grated
1/2 small jicama, julienned
2 cups canned or home-cooked black-eyed peas
7 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup crumbled chèvre

1. Whisk together the vinegar, cider, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl. Add the shallot and garlic, and stir to combine. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Discard the clove of garlic before serving.

2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the beets, carrots, jicama, black-eyed peas, spinach, parsley, and chèvre. Pour the dressing over top, and toss to coat.

Reprinted from THE GRAND CENTRAL MARKET COOKBOOK by Adele Yellin and Kevin West. Copyright (c) 2017 by Grand Central Market. Photographs copyright (c) 2017 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Want more salad inspiration? Check out these seven ways to use apple cider vinegar in your salad and get the recipe for the gut-friendly salad that Tracy Anderson swears by.

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