This salad was first inspired last fall when one of my Alive Shanghai team member’s birthdays was just around the corner. I wanted a fruity salad (bring on the pomegranate) that was filling (bring on the beans) and fall inspired (candied walnuts with maple syrup anyone?). Feel free to substitute the beans for anything you may already have in the fridge.
When it comes to pomegranate, my husband can’t get enough… while I hate taking them apart. So much peeling work for such little seeds. So if you are already going to do the work, make sure you get 3 or 4 pomegranates to take apart and then add them to everything for the rest of the week: salads, fruit salads, porridges or just plainly snack on them. To take the pomegranate apart, check out some tips here.
As for the candied nuts, they can be a beautiful addition to salads. However, store bought ones can be filled with unhealthy sugar, salt, and artificial additives. Instead, make the candied nuts yourself, then keep in an air tight container in the fridge for weeks.
Preparation time: 15 minutes (does not include bean cooking time)
Makes 1 serving:
For the candied walnuts:
¼ cup walnuts
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
For the salad:
big handful of spinach
½ cup cooked beans, cooled (any kind you like, white beans are especially nice for color here)
⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
freshly ground black pepper
Candy the walnuts by toasting them first. Place a pan on medium heat, add the walnuts and keep stirring. You have to keep an eye on them, they will burn quickly! Once they start to brown slightly, add the maple syrup. There should be small bubbles. After about 30 seconds add the vinegar, stir, and let the liquids cook away. This will take another 1 - 2 minutes, then you want to remove the nuts from the pan. You can either use them directly this way or let them cool on wax or parchment paper. Once cooled you can also keep them in the fridge for a few weeks.
Place all the spinach leaves on a big serving dish. Sprinkle the beans and pomegranate seeds on top and set aside.
Put all the ingredients for the dressing into an empty jar and shake or whisk aggressively until completely combined. Taste and see if you like it. You may want to add more olive oil or orange and lemon juice depending on your taste buds. You may not need all dressing for your salad, don’t get the salad to soggy.
Pour the dressing over the salad, top with the candied walnuts, and enjoy right away.