Winter Salads

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I recently made two delicious winter salads I wanted to share with you that feature one of my favorite Trader Joe’s holiday items- cranberry crusted goat cheese! One is more low-carb than the other, but they are both primal friendly. The first is a spiced pumpkin, lentil and goat cheese salad adapted from Bon Appetit. If you want to cut carbs further and omit the lentils, toasted pecans would be a great addition to this dish.  The second is a cranberry, walnut kale salad I found on Pinterest, along with a great new healthy food website called Healthy Aperture. It is similar to Food Gawker (another winner), but focused on health foods. Check it out!

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Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad (adapted from Bon Appetit)

(Difficulty-Easy, Serves 4-6)

  • 3/4 cup French green lentils
  • 6 cups 1-inch pieces peeled seeded organic sugar pumpkin  (from about one 2-pound whole pumpkin)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups organic baby arugula
  • 1/2 log Trader Joe’s cranberry chevre, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar (the original recipe calls for red wine vinegar which I tried, but I preferred the balsamic with the rest of the flavors)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place lentils in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak 10 minutes and drain. Cook the lentils in a pot of salted water until tender, about 30 minutes.

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In a large bowl toss the pumpkin, olive oil, paprika, cumin, and salt. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Turn pumpkin over and roast for an addition 10-15 minutes. Let cool.

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Combine lentils, pumpkin, arugula, and goat cheese with the remaining oil on the baking sheet. Dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and toss. Top with more goat cheese crumbles if you desire. Enjoy!

Cranberry Walnut Kale Salad (adapted from Kitchen Confidante)

8 oz fresh organic cranberries
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons organic pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
16 oz fresh organic kale, stems removed and chopped
1/2 log Trader Joe’s cranberry chevre, crumbled
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot
salt & pepper to taste

Heat fresh cranberries, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let it come to a boil and once the first cranberry pops, simmer for about 5 minutes until all the cranberries pop open. Place in a blender and puree till smooth. Add the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend. Add the olive oil and blend again. Add more salt and pepper as desired.

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Toss the kale in a bowl with walnuts,  shallot, and goat cheese crumbles. Serve with cranberry dressing.

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