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December 23, 2017

Holiday Spinach Salad

by Anne Paddock

Spinach Salad takes on a new twist this holiday season with the addition of fresh, organic roasted red beets. The dark green spinach leaves tossed with a light mustard maple salad dressing and then sprinkled with dark red beets, light green avocado pieces, lightly toasted pecan halves, and roasted pumpkin seeds makes for a nutritious and delicious lunch or dinner salad.

The Holiday Spinach Salad was inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for Roasted Yellow Beet Salad with Warm Maple-Mustard Dressing – a light summertime salad that I often make during the warm months. The Holiday Spinach Salad is a bit more substantial with the yellow beets replaced with red beets and the addition of fresh avocado chunks and crunchy pumpkin seeds – and the omission of red onion.

Easy to make (once the beets are cooked and the pecans baked), the Holiday Spinach Salad can be assembled in less than 10 minutes. Note:  I bake a large batch of pecans at once and store them in an airtight container so that I have them on hand when needed. I also roast 3 beets at a time and keep the extra in the refrigerator so the I can pull this salad together in minutes throughout the week.

Holiday Spinach Salad (serves 2 large salads or 4 small side salads)

Salad Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces organic baby spinach
  • 1 large fresh organic red beet
  • 1 Haas avocado (get Trader Joe’s if you can)
  • 1/2 cup whole raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (I use Living Intentions Sprouted Salted Pumpkin Seeds)

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup stone ground mustard (I use Eden Organic Stone Ground Brown Mustard)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place a large fresh red beet (or more and save the rest for a later use) on a parchment line small pan. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for an hour, 30 minutes or until the beet is tender. Remove from the oven, discard the foil, and allow the beet to cool for about 15 minutes. Peel the skin off. slice the beet and then cut into small 1 inch pieces. Set aside.

Preheat a toaster or regular oven to 275 degrees and roast the pecans (if raw) for about 20 minutes until light brown (but not burnt or they will taste awful). Stir from time to time. Remove the pecans from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

While the beet is roasting, place the mustard and maple syrup in a small food processor and turn on for about 10 seconds (or in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until blended). Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Place the baby spinach in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over the leaves, tossing to distribute. I prefer a very light coating and save the extra dressing in the refrigerator for a later use. Divide the dressed spinach leaves among two large or 4 small salad bowls.

Cut the avocado in half and discard the seed. Peel the skin off. Dice the avocado and distribute evenly among the salads.

Sprinkle the red beet pieces evenly over the top of the salad. Then, sprinkle the pecans and pumpkin seeds over the top of the salad. Serve.

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