Candied Pecan And Spinach Salad With Balsamic Maple Dressing (Paleo & Vegan)
An easy, summertime candied pecan and spinach salad makes a quick meal. Topped with acai berries, blueberries, and an easy balsamic maple vinaigrette. This healthy summer salad makes for a great side dish or entree.
A summertime staple spinach salad is always awesome to have on hand. This summer salad recipe is perfect as a side dish or a main meal. Likewise, the best part is that it comes with a tasty twist: candied pecans!
Furthermore, the pecans really take no time at all. Even making them while you make the salad you'll still have everything whipped up in under twenty minutes.
Thus, this recipe makes for a simple weeknight dinner idea or speedy lunch.
Don't want to read? JUMP to the recipe.
How To Make The Pecans
Candied pecans are a classic fall recipe. However, they work well year-round as well.. They make a wonderful party snack or a "just because" snack as they're super speedy but also loaded with healthy fats.
Moreover, in a salad, they also provide a tasty crunch and a nice twist to an otherwise basic recipe.
What About Oxalates
This is a tricky one as there is evidence both ways. It's been said that eating a lot of foods with oxalates (spinach, kale, etc) can cause kidney stones and other build-up issues. Likewise, lightly steaming these vegetables can help make digestion better.
However, from what I've read this is only an issue in excessive amounts. Having spinach 1-2 times per week likely won't cause any issues.
Personally, I used to LIVE off green, spinach-based smoothies. I have since switched up my veggies and rotate more frequently however I still eat spinach and somewhat frequently.
You can check out a bit more about oxalates here. However, do your own research and do what you feel comfortable with.
Adding in some dried fruit makes spinach salad far less boring. And while traditional options will work (cranberries, blueberries, etc), many dried fruits contain added sugars.
Goji berries are loaded in antioxidants and contain more Vitamin C than carrots. Furthermore, they're a nice switch up from the same old raisins.
This simple salad recipe is protein-free! It is absolutely tasty on its own. However, if you're using it for a full meal (versus just a side) you may want to add a bit more to it. Personally, I like to top my spinach salad with:
- grilled chicken
- hardboiled egg
- hemp hearts
Spinach Salad Dressing
This balsamic maple dressing is a house staple. Whipped up in just two minutes, the balsamic vinegar has a catch to it and the maple syrup balances it out.
However, any dressing will work and another favorite of mine is lemon poppyseed.
Creating Simple Dinners
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What Mixes Well With Spinach?
This particular spinach salad is simple and very nutrient-based. However, it also lends itself to add on other ingredients!
Fresh strawberries, feta (if you're not vegan or dairy-free), hemp hearts, and avocados all pair well with the salad.
Keep prep simple by interchanging items that you have in the fridge:
- strawberries work in place of blueberries
- any dried fruit will add delicious flavor (not just acai berries)
If you want to make this salad recipe whole30 compliant, you'll need to opt for regular pecans in place of the candied one. Likewise, you'll also need to use an alternate dressing or omit the maple syrup apple syrup is not whole30 approved.
Lastly, if whipping up this salad for later in the day, make sure not to toss it in the dressing. Otherwise, the spinach leaves will become soggy.
Don't forget to pin this candied pecan and spinach salad!
Candied Pecan Spinach Salad
An easy, superfood-loaded summertime salad recipe perfect for a warm night. This spinach salad is topped with candied pecans for an added crunch and rocks a maple balsamic dressing. Thus, a tasty side dish or a complete meal.