Sometimes in winter I’ll have the foolish notion that I miss summer. And why not? Days filled with eating warm, summer fruit right off the tree, swimming in the pool with the kids, harvesting fresh tomatoes and peppers. Then I remember the week long stretches of 110+ F heat. Oh yeah, that’s why I don’t miss summer.
Winter still abounds with fresh and delicious produce, though. It may not be those ruby red tomatoes, but how about garnet-hued jewels of pomegranate? Instead of crunchy, orange sweet-peppers, juicy and sweet citrus come into the picture. Cool, green cucumbers are replaced by tender leaves of spinach.
Even better, so much of winter’s harvest tastes perfect when mixed together. Yes, tomatoes are good with spinach, too, but it’s kind of like they pretend to get along when really they would rather be spending their time with someone else. You’ve been there, I’m sure. You know how that feels.
The biology teacher in me also can’t resist telling you that there is an added benefit in eating this salad, aside from the fact that it tastes amazing and is really easy to prepare. Spinach happens to be an iron rich food, and iron is best absorbed when it is consumed with vitamin C containing ingredients. Gee, what do you know? Citrus just happens to be a really good source of vitamin C. How very convenient. You’re welcome.
Winter Spinach Salad Recipe
- Spinach, rinsed (if needed) and drained
- Pomegranate arils (seeds)
- Sweet citrus fruits, peeled of all white pith as much as possible, sliced into bite-sized pieces (I used blood orange and tangerine). Some people may wish to remove the skin of each citrus slice since it does look pretty but it takes a little more time and skill. I’m not one of those people. Do whatever floats your boat!
- Pumpkin pepitas, seasoned or plain (pumpkin seeds that have no shell); shelled sunflower seeds can be used instead
- Balsamic vinaigrette dressing
If you are serving a group of people I find that it is much easier to pass around a salad bowl filled with the spinach leaves and then have all the toppings passed in separate serving bowls, instead of trying to put it all together in one bowl. I’ve watched with sorrow on so many occasions as beautifully arranged toppings on a big bowl of salad get lost to the bottom the moment someone dips in with the salad tongs.
Another big thing with any kind of salad is that the moment you add your dressing, you have a ticking time bomb. The produce will start wilting very quickly after that. It’s best to allow everyone to add their own dressing, that way if you have leftovers you can still use them and not have to be wasteful. If you have the time and the inclination, you could also plate each salad individually, too. I usually don’t have the inclination, so the time is irrelevant!