FAIRYTALE SPINACH SALAD
A salad recipe? Yes, I know that it is in the middle of winter and you crave hot food: but we all need our greens year-round to stay healthy. I believe that SALAD is the perfect opportunity to create a big huge bowl of “healthy”! Some people think that because it is a “SALAD” that is good for you no matter what you put on it…wrong! Just because the base is raw lettuce doesn’t mean loading it up on fried meats, cheeses, oily croutons and chemical-laden salad dressings (I call them shit-storm dressings). Yes you can go overboard with the fixings and turn a perfectly healthy dish in to a fat loaded, sugar dripping carb-bomb shit storm–sorry for the “french”outburst haha! I am also sorry to disappoint some of you that that salad you got from the drive thru is not what a salad should be. In theory, it probably is a tad bit healthier than getting the double-cheese burger and fries- but it has its own set of ingredients that makes it unhealthy. These ingredients from the drive thru are the NON-organic ingredients and added sodium, sugar, and chemicals to make it taste good…just name a couple. Not to mention the containers and utensils that most fast food establishments use are also full of chemicals and toxins that leech into your food (you probably never thought of that huh? yes it counts!)… I know, I am a kill-joy sometimes. Work with me….
Without writing a long drawn out thesis on what makes a salad healthy vs. not healthy; I will briefly touch on how to compose a healthy salad. First, a healthy salad should be 2/3 raw organic vegetables by volume not weight. The other 1/3 is now broken up into the toppings. 1/2 of these toppings should be fresh organic fruit. I include this in the homemade dressing that I make for my salad. Now 1/4 of the toppings can be high quality protein like hard boiled egg, raw nuts or grilled/boiled lean meat of your choice. The final 1/4 of the toppings is a free-for-all. Yes?– put on the croutons, cheese, fried wonton strips or anything that your tastebuds desire. With these ratios the “free-for-all” is only a small portion of the salad and will not contribute much fat and caloric amounts wise. Now notice this formula did NOT include store bought dressings!? Yes that is because I feel that you should make your own homemade dressing for an optimum health benefit. YES– blue cheese dressing can be in the cards. Remember with my above recommended formula–you have just taken up your protein and free-for-all categories and you need to make it from scratch with all organic ingredients… See where this is going? Well if you need an exact recipe for a healthy salad, you are in luck because I am writing this article about my FAIRYTALE SPINACH SALAD… I call it fairytale because you will dream of it once you try it!
This salad is a variation of the classic spinach salad. I have applied my above formula to make it a very healthy version. First– tons of fresh baby spinach (get your fiber and iron here). Then– thin sliced fresh red onions and fresh LIVING kale micro-greens which are both nutrient powerhouses! The fresh raspberries are not only a garnish but they are 1/2 of the homemade creamy raspberry dressing I made for this recipe. The lean protein is both hard boiled eggs and raw pecans. The free-for-all portion is grass-fed ghee from ANCIENT ORGANICS and organic brown sugar I used to make the candied pecans with and a bit of ghee for the roasted garlic in the dressing. This is NOT a bad thing, just counts as calories and fat but still the best that you can pick! I recommend this salad as an entree not as a side salad, but it is up to you…. So if you want a vibrant and colorful healthy salad give my FAIRYTALE SPINACH SALAD a whirl… it will make you a believer that good-for-you salads really do exist out there, not just in your dreams!
SERVES 4 ENTREE SIZED SALADS OR 8 SIDE SALADS
6 large fresh whole organic garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup organic golden brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 ounces raw pecan pieces
4 jumbo organic eggs
1 cup ice
12 ounces fresh organic red raspberries, reserve 3 ounces or 1/4 of volume for garnish
1/2 cup organic raw apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup organic cold pressed olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fresh fine ground organic white peppercorns
1 lb fresh organic triple washed baby spinach leaves, whole
1 medium fresh organic red onion, thin sliced
1 cup fresh living kale or broccoli micro-greens, snip off roots and rinse well
Preheat your oven to 350. Place your whole garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of the ghee in tinfoil. Roll up. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 30 minutes. This is your roasted garlic.
In a medium pot, fill with 2/3 cold water. On high heat bring to a rapid boil. Gently place your eggs in the water with a ladle or fine messed strainer. Boil for 10 minutes, be sure to properly time it. Remove from the heat and carefully drain the water out of the pan. Now add in cold water and ice. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Gently peel the eggs under running cold water to remove the shells. Reserve the peeled eggs until service (note this can be done the day before. When you peel the eggs, place in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until service). These are your hard boiled eggs.
In a small non-stick pan, heat on medium heat until hot. Add in the 1/4 cup of ghee and melt. Slowly add in the water. Now add in the brown sugar. While stiring constantly, allow to come to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook until the mixture until it is medium golden brown and the water has evaporated and the mixture is sticky like peanut butter. Turn off the heat. Add in your raw pecan pieces and stir until evenly coated. Continue to stir for about 3 to 5 minutes to cool. Place on a clean non-stick baking sheet and allow to completely cool. These are your candied pecans.
In a small food processor or blender, add in your roasted garlic. On high speed, fine chop. Now add in the 9 ounces of raspberries. On high speed bend, add in your vinegar and water. Blend until smooth. Now slowly add in your olive oil and blend until creamy. Finsih with the fresh ground white pepper. Remove from the blender to a clean bowl, cover. This is your dressing.
In a large serving bowl start your presentaion as shown above in the pic…..fill a small serving bowl of the dressing in the center. Lay down the spinach around the bowl to fill. Arrange the remaining toppings like the hard boiled egg (sliced thin), red onion and candied pecans. Stratically place the micro-greens in a decorative fashion. Serve with fresh baked organic sourdough bread and ghee to spread on it.
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