Raw spinach is varied and versatile. For starters, you can choose from three types of spinach—tender baby leaves; larger, more flavorful flat-leaf spinach; and super-dark, curly Savoy spinach that’s almost meaty.
Not surprisingly, dressings are equally varied: creamy ranch; an Asian combo of rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil; simple olive oil whisked with lemon juice; slightly sweet balsamic vinaigrette; or one with a touch of raspberry vinegar. I even like using the orange Japanese dressings that include carrot and miso.
So far, the most unusual spinach salad I have tossed up is this one with Mexican flavors. It includes heat from roasted poblano pepper and crunch from corn chips, along with a shower of crumbled feta, and a sweet-tart lime and honey dressing.
Mexican Spinach Salad
(Makes 4 servings)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 poblano chile pepper
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons finely crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
- ½ cup baked corn chips
- For dressing, in small bowl, whisk honey, lime juice, vinegar and salt until salt dissolves. Whisk in oil. Set dressing aside for up to 1 hour, remixing it before using.
- Set small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add pumpkin seeds to dry pan. Slip your hand into oven mitt, and lift pan, moving it in circular motion over heat to keep seeds moving so they do not burn. When many seeds are golden and some have popped, about 2 minutes, spread them on dinner plate to cool.
- Using tongs, hold pepper over open flame and turn it until skin is charred all over, about 4 minutes. May also char pepper under broiler or over outdoor grill. When pepper is cool enough to handle, with your fingers, slip off charred skin. Halve pepper lengthwise, and use small knife to remove seeds and ribs. Chop half the pepper; set other half aside for another use.
- In large salad bowl, place spinach. Add chopped poblano. Just before serving, pour on dressing and toss to coat spinach and pepper. Sprinkle on toasted pumpkin seeds and feta. A few at a time, lightly crush corn chips over salad. Toss, and divide salad among 4 individual salad bowls.
Total fat: 8 g
Saturated fat: 1.5 g
Carbohydrate: 12 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g
Sodium: 210 mg