Tuesday's Tip: Power Salad - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Power Salad

March 23,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Yesterday I shared how the Food and Drug Administation is cracking down on food advertisements that make exaggerated health claims. And yet, I like knowing what health benefits are in certain foods. It is with this knowledge that I can humbly call this dish my Power Salad recipe. If you don’t know that the foods in this salad are healthful, then you haven’t been paying attention. Spinach. Pomegranate. Almonds. Each item has some pretty powerful healthfulness in them and when eaten in concert, they create a veritable healthy symphony. Here’s a few tidbits about the healthfulness of each: Spinach: High in calcium, it is a good non-dairy way to get calcium into your diet. Just one cup of spinach gives you a days worth of Vitamin K, Vitamin A as well as more than half of your recommended daily allowance of folate, and important vitamin linked to heart health and preventing birth defects. Spinach also contains many antioxidants to help reduce cancer risk. Pomegranate: Pomegranates have a fair amount of Vitamin C and are high in fiber, but it is the phytonutrients that help make pomegranates so popular in the power food realm. There are a lot of fancy phytonutrients that pomegranates contain such as “ellagitannins,” most of which I have know nothing about, let alone how to properly pronounce. Suffice it to say, scientists who *do* know a lot about phytonutrients get very excited about those that are contained in pomegranates. Almonds: These nuts contain good omega fatty acids, and lots of “good fat.” Also high in Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, almonds can help reduce your bad cholesterol, and increase your good cholesterol Here's the Tuesday's Tip within this post: I feature a maple syrup dressing on this salad for a simple reason: to help encourage children to eat it. My boys hold very little affinity for salads, but if I add a naturally sweet dressing, I often get them to consume their leafy greens. Power Salad 10 ounces (or so) baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried ½ cup pomegranate seeds ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese Dressing: ¼ cup real maple syrup 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 1 tablespoon brown mustard ½ teaspoon salt dash of ground pepper Divide the salad components amongst 4 salad bowls. In a microwave safe pyrex or other similar container, combine the dressing ingredients. Stir well and microwave for 1 minute. Repeat. Let dressing cool for a few minutes. Dress salad and serve. Makes 4 power salads. SPC