With the holiday season upon us, I’ve been searching for ways to bring seasonal produce to the table. With the sweet meatiness of pears, the crispness of apples, and the crunch of pomegranate seeds, this spinach winter salad has it all. And it’s even Christmas colored.
Combine it with the sweet tang of a kefir vinaigrette? Heaven.
If you haven’t had kefir before, now’s the time to try it.
It’s similar in flavor to plain yogurt, but with a liquid texture and a hint of fizz that’s almost like carbonation. It has plenty of tummy-friendly bacteria, just like yogurt, as well as beneficial yeast. For my lactose sensitive friends, it’s an especially great option, since it contains enzymes that break down most of the lactose for you.
I often add Kefir to smoothies but thought I’d experiment with it in a vinaigrette to mimic my favorite yogurt-based dressings. Adding maple instead of fruit juice was also an experiment. Luckily it worked out well. Insert praise hands emoji here.
To keep things simple, the vinaigrette just needs a quick pulse in the blender. Although I have a heavy-duty Blendtec blender for smoothies, soups, and more, I prefer to make small recipes like this in my Nutribullet. It’s especially handy that the body of the Nutribullet can then be used to store the dressing.
The homemade maple cinnamon pecans add a delicious winter flavor and a Christmassy touch. And even better, they’re easy to make. Since they’re made with real maple syrup, you get the sweetness without any added sugar. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index than brown or white sugar, and has a fair number of vitamins and minerals, something few other sweeteners can claim.
A note on the pomegranate: pomegranates arils (the little seeds inside delicious juicy pods) can be notoriously difficult to separate from the pith (the white stuff you don’t want to eat). As you separate out the arils, place them in a bowl of cold water and swirl them around, separating pith and aril with your fingers. The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the pith floats.
This harvest salad is the ideal beginning to any late autumn or early winter meal. With its bright flavors and vivid red, white, and green colors, it’s an especially lovely addition to Christmas dinner or holiday parties.
- 1 apple (gala, pink lady, fuji, or similar)
- 1 d'Anjou pear
- Arils of 1 pomegranate
- 5 oz Spinach
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons full fat plain kefir
- 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup
- Core and thinly slice apple and pear. Remove all pith from pomegranate arils. Combine apple slices, pear slices, pomegranate arils, spinach, and maple pecans in a large bowl.
- Blend olive oil, apple cider vinegar, kefir, and maple syrup together. Pour over salad and toss until well combined. Serve.