Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spinach Salad with Cranberry Citrus Dressing

I don't want to have the reputation of being the culprit for expanding people's waistlines.  So here's a recipe that doesn't involve butter or cream cheese.  :)

A few summers ago, our friends invited us to their lovely new home located in the New York burbs.  A simple but delicious lunch was prepared for us courtesy of our friend, K.  She makes the most amazing desserts (her pastry school background comes in handy).

But it wasn't her dessert that stood out that afternoon.  It was the incredible fresh spinach salad she prepared with a citrus twist.  She pulled out plump, juicy cranberries from the fridge which she had soaked in orange juice overnight.  They were so deliciously sweet, and I loved the citrus flavor.  I watched her put the whole thing together, and it is now my go-to salad recipe.  The added bonus is it's so simple and easy to make!

It's absolutely perfect in the summer, but I can eat this all-year round.  Kids love it, too. 
 
{ spinach with fruit, nuts, and cheese with a citrus twist }

Spinach Salad with Cranberry Citrus Dressing

The basic ingredients are as follows:
2/3 cup dried cranberrries
1 cup orange juice
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
1 red apple, diced (fuji is my personal favorite)
1 pound spinach (chopped if you prefer)

Directions:
  1. Pour dried cranberries and orange juice into a bowl.  Cover and place in refrigerator to sit overnight so cranberries get plump and juicy (2-4 hours will suffice).
  2. Remove bowl from the fridge.  Dice apple into small cubes and mix with the cranberries and orange juice.
  3. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir. 
  4. Pour the mix of cranberries, apples, and dressing over spinach.  Mix and serve.
This is the very basic recipe.  But to give it some real punch and extra flavor, add halved grapes, chopped walnuts/pecans, and grated cheese (I used medium sharp provolone in the one pictured above).  And then top with chicken salad.  Yum!

Now I'm craving salad, and I hope you are, too.

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