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Spinach and Pear Salad with Curried Cashews and Honey-Sesame Vinaigrette

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    Spinach and Pear Salad with Curried Cashews and Honey-Sesame Vinaigrette

    This salad provides more than just a delicious flavour combination. Each one of the three parts - from the nuts to the dressing - adds vital nutrients to help form a well-balanced meal. Fresh nuts and seeds aid heart health as they add natural polyunsaturated fats and minerals such as calcium. Cashews, in particular, provide copper, zinc, and magnesium, which are essential for many body processes. Recent research shows that consuming a small amount of nuts daily not only promotes heart and cardiovascular health but can also reduce gallstone risk.

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    Making salad dressing at home is a great opportunity to supplement with healthy oils, herbs, and seasonings such as garlic or ginger.

    Curried Cashews:

    3/4 cup (175 mL) cashews
    1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
    1 tsp (5 mL) fresh rosemary, finely chopped
    1 tsp (5 mL) curry powder
    1 tsp (5 mL) dark brown sugar
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) sea salt
    1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) cayenne pepper

    Honey-Sesame Vinaigrette:

    3 Tbsp (45 mL) white wine vinegar
    3 Tbsp (45 mL) Dijon mustard
    2 Tbsp (30 mL) honey
    1 tsp (5 mL) minced fresh garlic
    3 Tbsp (45 mL) sesame seeds, toasted
    1/2 cup (125 mL) cold-pressed organic grape-seed oil
    Sea salt, to taste
    Fresh ground black pepper to taste

    Spinach and Pear Salad:

    12 cups (3 L) baby spinach, washed and loosely packed
    6 cups (1.5 L) frisée (curly endive), washed and loosely packed
    1/2 cup (125 mL) peeled and thinly sliced red onion
    3 small ripe pears, thinly sliced
    2 cups (500 mL) red grapes

    To prepare Curried Cashews, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Roast cashews on baking sheet until golden, about 8 minutes, but watch carefully so they do not burn. Meanwhile combine oil, rosemary, curry powder, sugar, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Remove cashews from oven and add them to bowl while still hot. Mix well to coat. Set aside.

    To prepare Honey-Sesame Vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in grape-seed oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

    Now assemble the salad. On a large serving platter, lay out baby spinach leaves. Tear frisée into bite-size portions and place frisée with red onion on top of spinach. Decorate with pear slices, red grapes, and Curried Cashews. Just before serving, drizzle some of the Honey Sesame Vinaigrette over the salad. Alternatively, add everything together to a large bowl and toss with a generous amount of dressing. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

    source: "Your Vegetable Garden May Be Your Best Nutrient Source", alive #374, August 2005

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    Spinach and Pear Salad with Curried Cashews and Honey-Sesame Vinaigrette

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