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Spinach Apple Winter Salad

Celebrate cool weather with this refreshing and satisfying spinach apple salad!

This “winter salad” is actually great anytime, but the combined notes of orange, cranberry and pecan just really sing to me in the colder months. Since we continue to have a bit of brisk weather with winter still clinging to mornings and evenings, now is the perfect time. Every ingredient in the dish serves both a culinary and a nutritional purpose.

Spinach provides the leafy base for this recipe, because in addition to tasting great, the iron-rich green is known for its ability to restore energy, increase vitality, and improve the overall quality of the blood. I tossed in two kinds of fiber-rich apples—this time combining Granny Smith with Gala—to capture the contrast of tart and sweet along with the addition of some crunch. Beyond tasting delicious, apples help with weight management and contribute to overall health, detoxify the liver, boost the immune system, and may even lower the risk of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Did you know that avocados contain more potassium than bananas? They offer a sort of creaminess to the salad, and they’ll help keep you from getting hungry too soon after lunch. Avocados are also rich in fat, but it’s not the kind we need to shy away from. The fat in avocados is oleic acid, which has been linked to reduced inflammation and may even lower your risk of cancer. Oranges are not only a great source of vitamin C, but provide our bodies with many other benefits as well such as lowering cholesterol, boosting heart health, promoting good vision and protecting the skin.Their acidic flavor complements the fatty elements in the salad, too. Cranberries have anti-inflammatory properties, and they work to protect the cardiovascular system and liver. The dried cranberries I used in this recipe adds a chewy contrast to the other—crunchy and creamy—elements of the salad. And finally, the inclusion of pecans in this dish means even more health benefits, including those to skin, hair, bones, and teeth. Whether you say “pih-CAHN” OR “pih-CAN,” you’ll agree that these mild, sweet nuts are a pronounced addition to the salad.

The end result—a sophisticated symphony of seasonal supplies—requires nothing more than a simple drizzle of oil and balsamic vinegar to finish it off.

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