Friday, October 23, 2009

Tangerine, Pomegranate and Cashew Salad

Last year, my daughter introduced me to pomegranate. I was surprised by its strange, seed-filled center (called arils) and delighted with its burst of floral, sweet and tangy flavor when you bite down on them. Pomegranate is being hailed as a super fruit because it is filled with antioxidants and phytochemicals that help the body fight infection and disease, including cancer. It is also a good source of Vitamin C, B5 and potassium. If you've never tried this exotic fruit, it is a unique and tasty experience I highly recommend.

Another fruit coming into season and available in the stores right now are Clementines, which are small tangerines that are most often seedless. They are easy to peel and perfect for packing into lunch boxes for a quick, Vitamin C rich snack. The origin of this light salad came about because I had a half bag of Clementines in my refrigerator that needed to be eaten. The addition of fruit to a green salad brightens the flavor and brings a sweet taste that is most appealing to children (and adults) that claim they "hate" vegetables. The Asian-style dressing was a spur-of-the-moment creation, using what I had on hand, that resulted in a delicious, low-fat topping that perfectly complimented the combination of fruits, vegetables and nuts. This recipe is a keeper and one I'll turn to often this winter while Clementines are so abundant.

Tangerine, Pomegranate & Cashew Salad
(Makes 2 meal-size servings or 4 side salads)

6 cups salad mix (I use Fresh Express Fancy Greens) or lettuce
¼ cup grated carrot (if not included in mix)
1 celery stalk, chopped
¾ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons pomegranate arils (seeds from inside fruit), rinsed
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
2 tablespoons cashews, chopped
2 Clementine tangerines, peeled, seeded and sectioned

Dressing ingredients:
3 tablespoons tangerine juice (squeezed from 2 Clementines)
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons almond butter (or tahini paste can be substituted, if a stronger sesame flavor is desired)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuce mix, carrot, mushrooms, pomegranate arils, cranberries, cashews and tangerine sections; set aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until well combined and emulsified. Pour over lettuce mixture and toss to coat.

Nutritional Information per meal size salad (½ of recipe): 218 calories, 27.2 g carbohydrate, 11.3 g total fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 4.8 g fiber, 4.7 g protein.

Nutritional Information per side salad (¼ of recipe): 109 calories, 13.6 g carbohydrate, 5.6 g total fat, 0.3 g saturated fat, 2.4 g fiber, 2.3 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

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