Strawberry Mango Spinach Salad
Today is a beautiful day to celebrate moms. The is sun is shining, the green of the trees is brilliant against the today's blue sky. It's as if Mother Earth is celebrating today, too.
This day calls for a dish as bright as my own mother. Something healthy, sweet, and simply beautiful. Something fresh and wholesome. And what could be better on a beautiful spring Mother's Day but a crisp, colorful salad?
While the word "salad" often conjures up visions of dreary pieces of rabbit food covered in white sauce (sometimes called "dressing") this need not be so. Choose the right type of greens for your dish and add a few complimentary ingredients and you'll have a healthy side (or main!) that has everybody coming back for seconds!
Before sharing my latest springtime favorite, let's talk about the basis for most salads: The Greens. A good rule of thumb for determining the nutritional quality of your fruits and veggies is simply to observe the color; the darker and more vibrant the color, the more nutrition the food likely has! Lettuce is a great example of this.
Flavor: Very mild
Nutritional Value: Medium-Poor - Very low calorie and comparatively high in fiber; excellent source of Vitamin K (but much lower than other types of lettuce)
3 cups iceberg: 10 calories -- 1 g fiber -- 8% Vitamin A -- 4% Vitamin C -- 2% calcium -- 2% iron -- 25% Vitamin K
Best Uses: As a filler, In place of bread or tortilla as a wrap
Texture: Mild crunch
Nutritional Value: Medium-High - Excellent source of Vitamins A & K and Folate, very low calorie and comparatively high in fiber
3 cups romaine: 15 calories -- 2 g fiber -- 150% Vitamin A -- 6% Vitamin C -- 2% Calcium -- 4% Iron -- 110% Vitamin K, 30% folate
Best Uses: bulk for many types of salads (like this Buffalo Chickpea Salad), classic Caesar salad, topping on sandwiches, in place of tortilla or bread for a low-carb wrap
Red Leaf Lettuce
Flavor: Mildly bitter
Texture: mostly tender with slight crunch
Nutritional Value: Medium-High - Excellent source of Vitamins A & K, very low calorie and comparatively high in fiber
3 cups red leaf lettuce: 15 calories -- 1 g fiber -- 130% Vitamin A -- 6% Vitamin C -- 2% Calcium -- 6% Iron -- 150% Vitamin K
Best Uses: Salad!
Flavor: Slightly bitter, spicy (like mustard)
Nutritional Value: High - Excellent source of Vitamins A, C, K, and Folate; good source of calcium; very low calorie and comparatively high in fiber
3 cups arugula: 20 calories -- 1 g fiber -- 40% Vitamin A -- 20% Vitamin C -- 15% Calcium -- 6% iron -- 120% Vitamin K -- 20% Folate -- 9% Potassium
Best uses: as an addition to salads or by itself (although the flavor is stronger than other greens), as a garnish or topping to tacos or sandwiches
Flavor: young, baby leaves are more mild while more mature leaves can taste more bitter
Texture: tender, but fibrous. Baby kale is more tender, but mature leaves must be massaged or cooked before eating.
Nutritional Value: High - Excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, calcium, and manganese; good source of potassium; very low calorie and comparatively high in fiber
3 cups kale: 20 calories -- 2 g fiber -- 80% Vitamin A -- 25% Vitamin C -- 20% Calcium -- 8% iron -- 230% Vitamin K -- 25% Folate -- 30% Manganese -- 10% Potassium
Best uses: raw in salads (like this Super Food Fall Salad), roasted into kale chips, sautéed and served with eggs, added to Grown-up Mac & Cheese or Lasagna, included in all kinds of soup - from lentil stews to Olive Garden's famous Zuppa Toscana (kale holds up to long cooking times very well)
Flavor: similar to kale - young, baby leaves are more mild, while more mature leaves can taste more bitter
Nutritional Value: Very High! - Excellent source of Vitamins A, C, & K, Folate, and manganese; good source of iron, magnesium, and riboflavin; very low calorie and comparatively high in fiber
3 cups spinach: 20 calories -- 2 g fiber -- 160% Vitamin A -- 40% Vitamin C -- 8% Calcium -- 15% Iron -- 510% Vitamin K -- 40% Folate -- 10% Riboflavin -- 15% Magnesium -- 40% Manganese
Best uses: fresh in salad (like this Red, White, and Blue Cheese Salad), on a sandwich, sautéed and served with eggs, steamed or sautéed and topped with vinegar and salt, added to Italian dishes (lasagna or cheese manicotti), in Spinach and Artichoke Dip, blended into a smoothie (it turns it green, but you don't notice the flavor!)... the list goes on!
By no means have I exhausted the list of greens available today, but today we're going to use the powerhouse green spinach as the bulk of our salad. I love adding fruit to my spinach salads to offset the bitterness the leaves can have. In honor of spring, I'm adding strawberries and mango to sweeten this dish.
To make this salad, slice a half pound of strawberries and toss with eight ounces of freshly washed spinach leaves. Peel a ripe mango, cut into cubes, and add to the salad. Wash and slice six green onions, cube four ounces mozzarella cheese and toss both with salad. If desired, add mint leaves for a burst of bright flavor.
In a separate container, make a dressing by mixing together a third cup olive oil, a fourth cup balsamic vinegar, and one tablespoon sugar. Shake or stir well to combine and toss with salad immediately before serving.
Enjoy this sweet spinach salad and hug a mom today!
Strawberry Mango Spinach Salad
8 oz. spinach leaves, washed
1/2 lb. strawberries, sliced
1 ripe mango, peeled, cut off the pit, and cubed
6 green onions, sliced with part of the green tops
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
Optional: mint leaves
In a large bowl, toss together spinach, fruit, onions, and cheese.
In a separate container, mix oil, vinegar, and sugar; shake or stir well to combine.
Add dressing immediately before serving and toss to combine. Add optional mint leaves if desired.
Serves 4 - Serving Size: 3 cups - Nutrients per serving: 356 calories -- 26g total fat -- 7g saturated fat -- 0g trans fat -- 19mg cholesterol -- 417mg sodium -- 24g total carbohydrates -- 5g fiber -- 18g sugar -- 12g protein