Monday, August 25, 2014

Spinach and Plum Salad with Balsamic Vinegar

My boss is on a diet for medical reasons.  She's doing an excellent job of it, which has guilted me into monitoring my own salt and nutritional balance.  It's amazing how quickly you lose weight when your system is balanced and not bloated on things you know you shouldn't be eating anyway.  It's all water and intestinal weight and the hard work starts when that is under control, but your pants fit better and you feel like the results are much bigger than a week of oatmeal for breakfast should accomplish.

I needed something to accompany the falafel-crusted chicken, preferably something with next to no fat. Fiber wasn't an issue because of the chickpeas in the falafel, but there was bound to be quite a bit of oil in the crust.  I have no problem with using vinegars straight as dressings or dipping sauces.  You just have to watch the flow.  It is very easy to pour too much.

You can see in the photo that I used almonds as the nut, but I'm recommending candied walnuts as the garnish.  I hadn't realized I used the last of my walnuts on the pumpkin tamales and didn't want to go back to the store.  The almonds weren't bad, but walnuts are more traditional.

8 C raw spinach leaves (about 1 lb or a bag)
2 black plums
1/2 C candied walnuts
2 oz crumbled tangy cheese such as gorgonzola, feta, or chèvre
about 1/4 C balsamic vinegar

1.  Rinse spinach, remove stems, and tear into bite-sized pieces.  If plating, place about 2 C on each salad plate.  Otherwise, place in serving bowl.  Everything else is going to go on top.

2.  To slice plums, run knife around groove in the plum, and you can twist it into two halves.  Remove pit and slice each half thinly.  Arrange slices over spinach.

3.  Sprinkle cheese and nuts around top of salad, then drizzle with vinegar (1 Tb per individual salad, or all of it on the bowl).  Do not toss salad, just let the vinegar work its way down.  The plums will absorb some of it, making a tangy sweetness.  Serve immediately, or chill for up to 1 hour.

Difficulty rating  π

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