By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist
This month’s salad recipe offers a delicious and easy way to get more tasty greens into your diet. Featuring healthy oils, zesty vinegars and lots of different textures and flavors, chances are this will become a favorite go-to salad.
- 1 large navel orange
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon walnut oil (or sesame oil)
- 1 medium avocado
- 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese – optional
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
Dressing: Zest the peel of about ½ of the orange and place in a large bowl. Cut off a section of about ⅓ of the orange, extract the juice, and add to the bowl. Add the rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and walnut oil. Whisk until blended and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Remove and discard the peel from the remaining orange and cut the orange into ⅓ inch rounds then cut the rounds into quarters. Peel, halve and remove the pit from the avocado. Cut the avocado into ½ inch wedges.
Add spinach to the dressing and toss to coat. Add orange quarters, avocado wedges, and walnuts and toss gently. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese (optional). Enjoy!
Yield: approximately 4 servings
Key Ingredient Benefits
Avocados: This wonder fruit is loaded with nutrients including vitamins E, K, C and B. The fat content of avocados is significant, however it is the healthy type, oleic acid, which improves fat metabolism and is the same monounsaturated fatty acid present in olive oil. Dubbed the alligator pear, avocados help to support the cardiovascular system and regulate blood sugar.
Balsamic Vinegar: Balsamic vinegar is made from red grapes, which contain a bioflavonoid known as quercetin. This works as an anti-oxidant and operates with vitamin C to stimulate the immune system to fight infection, cancer and inflammation. Additionally, vinegar may help prevent heart disease and aid in digestion.
Olive Oil: Olive oil contains numerous antioxidant polyphenols in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid. Both help support fat metabolism and cardiovascular health. Studies suggest a healthy combination of olive and fish oil (omega 3s) can work together in preventing inflammation.
Oranges: This “sunshine fruit” is an excellent source of vitamin C. In addition, oranges are a good source of B vitamins including vitamin B1 and folate, as well as vitamin A, calcium and potassium. Oranges are also rich in flavonoids that may lower blood pressure, reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and have anti-inflammatory effects.
Rice Vinegar: Made from the fermentation of either black or brown rice, rice vinegar is used extensively in cooking and curative medicine. It is rich in flavor and amino acids, making it a source of nutrients for a healthy diet.
Spinach: Among the world’s healthiest vegetables, spinach is rich in vitamins (good source of vitamin K) and minerals. It is also concentrated in health-promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) and flavonoids to provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.
Walnuts & Walnut Oil: Walnuts are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids and great for your heart and circulatory system. Walnuts are also rich in antioxidants and are a very good source of minerals, including manganese.
Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.