Friday, April 22, 2011

Spinach Salad with Chickpeas, Almonds and Sun-dried Tomatoes

The holidays are upon us.  If you are celebrating Passover you have abandoned bread and been reminded of how much you truly love beer.  Maybe you are fasting and swearing off meat in anticipation of Easter.  Or perhaps you just believe in trees and Mother Earth and are celebrating Earth day by eating local, sustainable and low carbon emission foods. Either way you look at it, meal planning this week has some limitations.  This salad is a great option to get you through your bread less, meat less, eco-friendly journey.  It is one of my most favorite salads and I make it almost every week.  You can use goat cheese or feta cheese.  Goat cheese will create a creamy dressing when mixed so it's a healthy substitute if you normally douse your salad in fattening creamy dressing.  Regardless of your beliefs, this week is sure to be full of celebrations with food, family and friends so a light, easy salad is ideal leading up to or following your festivities.

What makes this bite better?
When creating healthy dishes, it is important to balance flavor, color and texture so the food is not only healthy, but appealing.  This salad is so satisfying because it is the perfect combination of fresh flavors, creaminess from the cheese, and crunch from the almonds.  In addition, there are many studies linking chickpea (garbanzo bean) consumption to satiety due to the high content of insoluble fiber found in chickpeas and we all know the important benefits of foods high in insoluble fiber. Chickpeas also provide the necessary protein and fat so there is no need for meat.  Buying canned chickpeas is the easiest and quickest option, just be sure to buy low-sodium if possible to avoid excess sodium intake.  Either way, rinse the chickpeas well under water before using them in the salad.

Spinach Salad with Chickpeas

2 cups organic spinach
1/2 cup low sodium chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup goat cheese (or feta) (local and organic if possible)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
about 1/4 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (I just squeeze a slice of lemon to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Clean the spinach and lay on a paper towel to dry.  Add all the ingredients.  Toss to combine.  Serve and enjoy :)

No comments:

Post a Comment