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April 03, 2010

Spring Vegetable Salad “Rock Star”

To your good health. I did a cooking demonstration for a diabetes class featuring a healthy, low fat salad. Make this salad any time you want to impress your foodie friends. Always try to use vegetables that are in season; they are more affordable, tastier and better for you.

Arugula, an annual, edible plant is the salad green used in this recipe. It is often called “Rock Star” because it is very low in calories, only one calorie for every ¼ cup serving and high in vitamin A, C, K, and folic acid with fair amounts of calcium, zinc, potassium, and iron. It has a very peppery flavor that compliments many other ingredients such as lemon, fennel and mustard. Try growing it in your garden; it is a very easy crop to grow, growing best in the spring. As the temperature warms up the plant will rapidly go to seed. Replant the seed to keep your crop young. The flowers are also edible and make an attractive presentation in a salad or as a garnish.

Snow peas are a legume with an edible pod. They got their name from the frosted appearance they give when growing. They are underused as a side dish but often added to stir fry recipes. Snow peas add a crispy, fresh flavor to any dish. They have high levels of vitamin K, A, C, thiamine, folic acid and many amino acids making them a very healthy choice.

Asparagus, in the lily family, has been cultivated for thousands of years. It grows from a crown and has been recorded as growing 10 inches in 24 hours. The highest quality spears are those from more mature crowns, the larger spears. I like the small spears too for sautéing with a little lime and soy sauce. The crown doesn’t produce until it is about 3 years old. There are only 5 calories per spear, no fat, cholesterol or sodium, but high in vitamin A, C, folic acid, thiamin, B6, potassium and fiber. It is one of the richest sources of rutin, a compound that strengthens capillary cell walls.

The many health benefits of this salad include facilitation of weight loss, regulation of the digestive system, and strengthening the immune system all good for type 2 diabetes.

Serves 6-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Salad:

2 cups baby Arugula (or other mixed salad greens), washed
¾ pound asparagus, remove tips
¼ pound snow peas, stem and string
1 ½ pounds small red potatoes
1/3 cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup diced turkey ham (optional)

Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Seasoning

Instructions:

For the vinaigrette, peel and mince the shallot, sauté on medium heat until slightly caramelized. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, shallot, and seasoning in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Wash the potatoes and cook in microwave until tender, then quarter them. Trim the ends from asparagus and steam with snow peas until crisp tender. Drain and run cold water over vegetables to stop the cooking process. Toast the pecans in the oven, being careful not to burn. Dice the ham into ½ inch dice and sauté the ham with the olive oil until brown on outside. Toss in potatoes with the ham to coat with olive oil. Divide salad greens onto eight salad plates, top with ham and vegetables. Top with pecans, drizzle with vinaigrette, and serve immediately.

Terri’s Tips:
•For the seasoning in the vinaigrette, I use a dry herb mix with a little salt, pepper, basil and thyme
•You can use any dry herb mix you prefer, make it your own; such as dry Italian salad dressing mix
•If you want more texture and color use a mix of salad greens
•If the vinaigrette is to tangy for you add a teaspoon of honey
•Try using a little lemon and olive oil on arugula for a quick side dish.

Posted by terri at April 3, 2010 02:08 AM

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