Winter Crunch Salad with DIY Honey Lime Vinaigrette
With all the sweets, treats, and temptations galore surrounding the holiday festivities, there should be some balance, and what better balance than a big salad? For those of you who have been around the blog for a while, you KNOW how much I love a big salad, and it’s no different during the holidays.
Seasonal foods can really jazz up those leafy greens, so why not take advantage of them and their abundant health benefits?
The following are things I love to include in my Winter Crunch Salad that make my taste buds jump alive. As the saying goes, they’re “things that make me go yum.”
Kale: Kale is a nutrition superstar! It’s high in vitamins A, K, B6, and C, calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Yet one cup of raw kale contains just 33 calories and only 7 grams of carbohydrates. So, it’s a very healthful/weight-friendly vegetable with just the right amount of crunch.
Cabbage: Another exceptionally healthy food, cabbage has an outstanding nutrient profile. It’s especially high in vitamins C and K. What’s more, cabbage may even help lower the risk of certain diseases, improve digestion, and support healthy levels of inflammation.
Pomegranate Seeds: Another food that’s rich in antioxidants and flavonoids is pomegranate. In some research, pomegranates have been shown to potentially help decrease the risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate, breast, lung, and colon cancers.
Sunflower Seeds: Due to their rich supply of omega-3s and omega-6s, sunflower seeds may help you better balance the essential fatty acids in your diet. Sunflower seeds are also a rich source of many nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, and protein.
Roasted Peanuts: Dry roasted peanuts are packed with iron, which is essential for energy and can help you feel more alert. So, they’re a great snack to power your active lifestyle.
Green Apples: While the differences are slight, this fruit has less sugar and carbs, along with more fiber, protein, potassium, iron, and vitamin K than many other types of apples. What’s more, green apples have almost twice the amount of vitamin A found in red apples.
Cucumber: Low in calories yet rich in water as well as many important vitamins and minerals, cucumbers may have many potential health benefits. Some of the most commonly promoted include weight loss, improved hydration, digestive regularity, and lower blood sugar levels.
Feta: This unique cheese is an excellent source of protein and is especially high in the amino acid histidine. It’s also rich in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, selenium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorous. It’s also a good source of vitamins B6, B12, and A.
Bee Pollen*: Bee pollen is the richest source of vitamins in a single food. It’s a nutrient powerhouse with 18 vitamins, including B complex, all essential amino acids, fatty acids, RNA/DNA nucleic acids, and enzymes. What’s more, it’s at least 25% protein.
*I snagged some bee pollen on my last trip to the mountains. Since I was using honey in the dressing, I decided to toss some in for good measure (and added flavor and nutrition).
Now that you know why these ingredients were selected and work so well together, you can create your salad any way you like. I start with a good base of washed and chopped kale and sliced cabbage and add a little of this and a little of that. There is really no rhyme or reason to how much of each ingredient you use. Just be mindful of how much each serving adds to your diet. For instance, nuts and seeds can add a lot of calories quickly, so be aware of the serving size.
Now for the best part! The dressing. Homemade is the best made, and I came up with something that was complimentary on every level for this seasonal delight.
- 2 cups fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tsp honey
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add all ingredients to a jar. Shake until well incorporated.
- Drizzle over your salad and enjoy!