A healthy and seasonal salad ready in no time. No cooking involved.
By Nancy Lopez-McHugh
I’ve always loved salads. When I lived in the US, Caesar salad was my favorite. It spent a long time on top of my favorite salads lists. Finding a good Caesar was usually not a problem. Then when we moved to Europe, Caesar got knocked off the top of the list. In Paris even the small side salad served alongside a meal tasted fantastic. I loved the simple mustard dressing or light vinaigrette used as salad dressings in France. Don’t get me wrong a thick creamy American style salad dressing is great every once in a while but most days I prefer the light alternatives.
When we moved to Czech Republic salads were a little more hit and miss. I recall a conversation my friend and I once had about salads. I told her that I was really craving a good fresh and seasonal salad loaded with crisp salad greens. She looked at me and said, “Oh you are craving rabbit food.” Laughter aside she explained that those types of salads weren’t as popular here. My cravings for good salads at restaurants got to be so much that I resorted to drastic means. I started visiting the American fast food restaurants for decent salads. Which I have to admit really satisfied my cravings. As the time has passed finding fantastic seasonal salads has become less of a problem. As a matter of fact I had one of the best Caesars of my life right here in Prague.
Since I started cooking I no longer have to rely on restaurants to satisfy my salad cravings. As the time has passed and my adventurous food side has grown, I’ve experimented with all sorts of ingredients. One of my favorite things to do is go to the green grocers and see what salad greens, vegetables and fruits I can bring home to experiment with. Many of the exotic ingredients aren’t always available but that is when my creativity gets going. This salad is the result of one such trip and creativity.
As proud of myself as I am for being adventurous and creative with salads, there is one person who’s salads I really admire. That person is known to some of us as “The Veggie Queen”. But I think she needs an additional title, ” Salad Queen” . That person is my friend Alisha,from The Ardent Epicure and Honest Cooking contributor. Alisha’s salads always make my mouth water. But they are also a feast for the eyes. Her use of fresh seasonal, local, and organic, ingredients is incredible. Believe me if you are looking for five star veggie or salad recipes, The Ardent Epicure is THE best source to go to. I promise she didn’t pay me to say that, just saying it like it is.
Taking inspiration from Alisha this salad came together with the use of fresh seasonal ingredients. Both Persimmon and Pomegranates are currently in season. This salad was a great combination of sweet, tart, and savory. Here is how I made this salad for my hubby and I.
- Baby spinach, to taste
- 1 sweet persimmon, peeled and cut in half then thinly sliced wedges
- ½ avocado, thinly sliced
- Pomegranate seeds, to taste
- onion slices, to taste
- Serrano ham (Spanish cured ham) or Prosciuto
- 1-2 slices per person
- Pratomagno cheese or Parmesan, a few shavings
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp EVOO (good quality olive oil)
- 1 tbsp water
- ½ tbsp brown sugar
- pinch granulated garlic
- pinch ground ginger
- pinch ground black pepper
- Gently toss ingredients in a salad bowl or arrange on plates as desired.
- Place all ingredients in a jar, seal tightly. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust as desired. Drizzle over salad.
Many of us are trying to eat better now that the holiday season is over, and this salad is staying within my healthy plans. Yes, there is cheese in the salad, and yes it has cured ham. But both the cheese and ham are just small amounts. By adding a little protein to your salad it will help you feel fuller longer. Also I don’t believe in depriving myself of good things to eat regardless if I am eating healthier or not. I can also make up for the extra fat by choosing less caloric foods the rest of the day. Moderation is the key. I know from personal experience that when you deprive yourself of things you like, you are more likely to cheat. You’ll get frustrated and only focus on what you can’t have which can lead to giving up and indulging, too much and too often, on unhealthy quantities and low quality foods. This is not only what I believe but my personal experience. Everyone is different and the most important thing is to always listen to your body. Buen Provecho!
Nancy Lopez-McHugh is a food blogger, photographer and published author. Most recently she has published "Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide To Better Photos".