I’m not a big fan of salads, so I like to make them chunky and mix all kinds of veggies, herbs, protein and fun stuff in it.

This one came together today as a side to the chicken mince cutlets I made.

The apple in the salad gave it a bit of sweetness and the cranberries a bit of tartness.

This salad is as versatile as you would like it to be. Change the fruit to a pear, add some cherry tomatoes, add a bit of wild rice, lentils, chickpeas, beans…let your imagination run wild.

However, keep the parsley, salad leaves, cashew nuts, cranberries and olive oil. These lend the salad the base of crunchy, tart, herby, fatty…and a great mouth feel.

What makes this salad so nutrient dense? Let’s find out.

Cranberries – Phytochemicals in this tart fruit are antioxidant, antibacterial and anticarcinogenic.

What this means is that cranberries are wonderful to treat and prevent many diseases and infections. These include keeping your heart healthy, preventing cancer and healing urinary tract infections.

You might be surprised that cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C! This vitamin is wonderful to strengthen your immune system! Cranberries also contain manganese, vitamins E and K.

Another little known fact is that cranberries can help with the prevention of an inflammatory disease of the mouth – periodontitis. Besides prevention, cranberries can be used to kickstart healing as well.

Olive oil – A lot of people cook with olive oil – this isn’t recommended with high heat as it oxidizes (the chemical compounds change, therefore some of its nutrients are lost). So use it with medium to low heat.

To get the most of its nutrient profile, choose extra virgin, buy a good, reputable brand and use it straight up.

Olive oil contains a good amount of healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet has been proven to have so many health benefits due to olive oil consumption. Just 1-2 tablespoons a day would give you all the benefits that Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has to offer.

This oil is good for regulation of our blood sugar, for bone health, it has anti-cancer benefits…

Buy cold pressed certified organic EVOO in a dark bottle. This would prevent oxidation due to exposure to light. Keep your olive oil bottle away from heat as well and close it as soon as you’ve finished with it. Oxygen also plays a role in oxidising this oil.

Quinoa – This gluten-free and grain-free seed has a high amount of manganese, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.

Pronounced ‘KEEN-wah’, this food has a higher iron content than lamb / beef.

It contains a good amount of folate – which is vitamin B9 is essential during pregnancy to help with foetal development. This vitamin can improve cognitive function and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Quinoa helps in preventing type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Did I mention this salad was also mouth-watering?

 

Apple and cranberry salad

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: fusion
Keyword: chunky salad, dairy free, gluten free, processed sugar free, quick
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 200gm bag of salad leaves washed, dried and chopped smallish
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves finely chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • Small handful fennel fronds optional
  • 1 small apple diced
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts lightly roasted

Instructions

  • Wash the quinoa under running water for about 30 seconds, cook it and add salt
  • While the quinoa is being cooked, pan roast the cashew nuts - watch out so it doesn't burn
  • After the cashew nuts are roasted, spread it out on a plate to cool
  • Put the salad leaves into a large salad bowl
  • Add the parsley to the salad leaves
  • Add the salt and pepper and mix
  • Add the cucumber, fennel and apple
  • Drizzle the olive oil and lightly stir the salad
  • Add the cranberries and mix
  • Once the quinoa is cooked and cooled a bit, add that to the salad and mix gently
  • Lastly, sprinkle the cooled cashew nuts on top. Serve and enjoy!
REFERENCES

Côté J, Caillet S, Doyon G et al. Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their biological properties. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Aug;50(7):666-79. 2010.

Feghali K, Feldman M, La VD, Santos J, Grenier D. Cranberry proanthocyanidins: natural weapons against periodontal diseases. J Agric Food Chem. 2012;60(23):5728–5735. doi:10.1021/jf203304v

McKay DL, Blumberg JB. Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Nutr Rev. 2007;65(11):490–502. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00273.x

Allouche Y, Jimenez A, Gaforio JJ, Uceda M, Beltran G. How heating affects extra virgin olive oil quality indexes and chemical composition. J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:9646-9654.

Nocella C, Cammisotto V, Fianchini L, et al. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cardiovascular Diseases: Benefits for Human Health. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(1):4–13. doi:10.2174/1871530317666171114121533

Reboredo-Rodríguez P, Varela-López A, Forbes-Hernández TY, et al. Phenolic Compounds Isolated from Olive Oil as Nutraceutical Tools for the Prevention and Management of Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(8):2305. Published 2018 Aug 6

Reynolds EH. Folic acid, ageing, depression, and dementia. BMJ. 2002;324(7352):1512–1515. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7352.1512

Abugoch James LE. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.): composition, chemistry, nutritional, and functional properties. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2009;58:1–31. doi:10.1016/S1043-4526(09)58001-1

Dixit AA, Azar KM, Gardner CD, Palaniappan LP. Incorporation of whole, ancient grains into a modern Asian Indian diet to reduce the burden of chronic disease. Nutr Rev. 2011;69(8):479–488. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00411.x

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