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Strawberry and goat cheese spinach salad

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Now that we’ve welcomed in a new year in hopes of landmark events far more pleasant than last year’s, we can begin to address the other elephant in the room: COVID weight. Let’s not pretend that we haven’t all considered the possibility that the 19 in COVID-19 actually stands for the extra 19-plus pounds most of us put on during quarantine. So, even if you have no plans to set a New Year’s resolution, it can’t hurt to put down the week-old Christmas sweets and eat a salad. Your post-pandemic body might thank you latter for the healthy alternative.

But healthy should never mean tasteless or boring, which salads can often be. Instead, you should find joy in adding greens to your meals, and this salad should prove effective.

Spinach offers protein, iron, and vitamins all in a low-calorie package, and it’s an excellent base for a salad. Add in some strawberries, red onions, and goat cheese, and you have a delicious combination that will go well with almost any meal. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, enter candied pecans. OK, there is nothing healthy about sugar-coated pecans, but you only live once, right? Top it all off with some homemade poppy seed dressing, and this salad does not disappoint.

INGREDIENTS

SALAD

1 283g bag of spinach

1 small red onion

1 pint of strawberries

Goat cheese

CANDIED PECANS

1 cup of pecans

1/2 cup of brown sugar

2 tbsp. of water

POPPYSEED DRESSING

1 tbsp. poppy seeds

1/2 cup of white vinegar

1 cup of vegetable oil

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp. of grated onion

1 tsp. of powdered mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Start with the pecans because they will need time to cool. In a frying pan, add the brown sugar and water. Cook until the sugar has all melted together and comes to a boil. Add the pecans and toss them together until they are coated. Then on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet, spread out the pecans and allow to cool. Once cold, you can break them up for the salad.

Next, move on to the salad. In a large salad bowl, place about half of the bag of spinach. Wash, trim, and slice strawberries and toss them in with the spinach. Peel the onion and grate 1 tsp. worth, and set aside for the dressing. Then slice the remainder and toss it in with the spinach and strawberries. Crumble as much goat cheese as you like over salad and toss together to mix ingredients.

In a mason jar, mix vinegar, white sugar, vegetable oil, grated onion, powdered mustard, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Seal the jar and shake until well blended.

Pour as much dressing as you would like over salad, top with candied pecans, and serve.

This salad can be a main meal with your favourite protein or a complementary side with your dinner. It goes well with just about anything, and items can be interchanged. If you don’t care for strawberries, try blackberries or raspberries. The cheese can also be omitted if it isn’t a personal favourite and the extra dressing can be stored in the fridge for about a week, but due to the raw onion in it it should not be kept longer than that. And whatever you do, just remember to have fun with your meals.

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