Monday, March 7, 2011

Spinach Salad with Blood Orange, Avocado, and Pistachios


I can't remember the first time I had a blood orange. Perhaps it was a few years ago. All I know is that I fell in love with them the moment I saw their dark red juice and tasted its sweet, almost raspberry-like flavor. They're pretty much available throughout the winter season, and that's probably one of the few things about winter that makes me really happy. When they're in season, I probably eat one every day, and when I pack them with my lunch, I often get funny looks from people who are genuinely worried about the dark scary color of my orange. Obviously they're missing out.

We're told from many places that spinach is a good source of iron. This is true, however, this plant source of iron is much more difficult for our bodies to absorb than say, a piece of steak. But, miraculously, when a plant source of iron, like spinach, is consumed with some sort of acid (like let's say the ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, of a blood orange), the iron is much better absorbed by the body. That's why it's a good idea to consume your iron-rich leafy greens with some source of vitamin C to get the full iron benefit (especially if you're a vegetarian who gets all of your iron from plants).

This is my first attempt to actually use a blood orange in a recipe...I always just peel one and eat it by itself. I wanted something vibrant, and this salad just came to mind. I just love the colors and the flavor is great. Swap out the spinach and use arugula, if you like. For extra protein, add some black beans or crumbled feta cheese.

Spinach Salad with Blood Orange, Avocado, and Pistachios
Baby Spinach
Blood Orange
Avocado
Pistachios, unsalted

For the Dressing:
Dijon Mustard
Honey

Put desired amount of baby spinach in a large bowl. Add segmented blood orange slices, sliced avocado, and shelled pistachios. In a small cup, mix equal parts dijon mustard and honey. If you like it sweeter, add more honey. Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss lightly. That's it!

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