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Three salads fit for fall
by Laurel |  Sep 16, 2013

The word "salad" is sometimes unfavorably associated with dieting, but these dishes don't have to taste like rabbit food. In fact, ditch the traditional tossed romaine, cherry tomato and cucumber entirely for more filling, flavorful alternatives and you'll also benefit from a wide variety of nutrients.

Looking for a new option to pack for lunch? A new appetizer to shake up a fall dinner party? All of these dishes are nutritious, delicious and what's more - they take advantage of what's in season.

Kale crunch
There's been a significant amount of buzz in recent years about kale, and with good reason: This leafy green is packed with a significant percentage of your daily value of vitamins A, C, K and B6, as well as calcium and potassium. Plus, it gets sweeter in colder temperatures, making it an optimal base for a fall or winter dish. Chop 1 cup coarsely and toss with olive oil until all the leaves are lightly coated. Then add 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, which provide a satisfying crunch and a healthy dose of manganese for strong bones. Pour in 1 tablespoon of dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness and finish with finely grated pecorino cheese to taste.

Harvest mix
If you could fuse all of the flavors of Thanksgiving into one salad, this dish would be it. Start by pre-baking a small to medium sized sweet potato in long strips on a coated pan for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Then add half a chopped apple to 1.5 cups of raw spinach, which is chock full of powerful antioxidants. Once they've cooled, toss in the sweet potatoes and 1 tablespoon each of shaved cheddar and candied pecans. This hearty salad is substantial enough for dinner when you add roasted turkey.

Sweet and salty salad
There's something about the contrasting tastes of sweet, sour and salty that make for a satisfying experience. Start by tossing half a cup of Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and roasting at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Brussels sprouts are not only high in fiber, but they also can help keep your cholesterol low. Once they've cooled, add them to 1 cup of arugula. Toss in 2 tablespoons of dried sour cherries, which provide an unexpected tartness, then top with thin two slices of prosciutto di parma for added protein. This salad is so packed with intense flavors that one tablespoon of balsamic is all the dressing you need. 

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