If you are a salad lover, you will adore this caramelized almond, apple, dried cranberry and feta salad; if you usually detest salads, get ready to be converted—this is one you’ll be happy to eat.
Mr. Italicano’s request last night for dinner was to eat light :: leggero. I agree. Over the weekend alone we had two pizza nights (hard to refrain when we’re talking about thin crust wood oven pizzas, no?) as well as countless cones of gelato and ice cream (my ultimate addiction). Monday was the start of a new week and thusly a start of 5 days of mindful, healthy eating.
Healthy eating shouldn’t be boring or bland; otherwise, you’ll be quick to reach for a comfort food loaded with unneeded calories. Make a caramelized nut, fruit and cheese salad your secret weapon :: arma segreta to getting yourself to eat more salads. The flavor combinations are endless; how about a fig, pear, gorgonzola and walnut salad with a poppy seed vinaigrette or a salad with strawberries, quinoa and caramelized walnuts? If you want to make the salad even healthier, you can just skip the sugar and toast the nuts.
My mom is the queen :: regina of caramelized nut salads with delicious vinaigrette dressings. Growing up I lived close to a lake, and each summer when we would head down to go boating, our family friends who would meet us would always request her Walla Walla sweet onion salad with mandarin oranges and caramelized almond slivers. It was a salad that never got old.
This caramelized almond, apple, dried cranberry and feta salad is another one of my mom’s salads that I make here in Italy and is often requested by family or friends. It has turned into my go-to salad for dinner parties with new guests. I remember last summer we hosted a bbq for Mr. Italicano’s colleagues :: colleghi and this salad was the talk of the table, not the veggie burgers that I had prepared with 10+ gourmet toppings. No, the star of the night was this salad which is not only simple to make but is a sure bet to impress guests.
- ¼ cup (37g) whole almonds
- ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 ounces (100g) mixed greens
- ½ golden apple, chopped
- ¼ cup (40g) dried cranberries
- ¼ cup (35g) feta, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 orange wedge, juiced
- Add the almonds and sugar to a skillet and heat over medium heat while stirring continuously, about 3-5 minutes. When the sugar has melted and has coated the almonds, remove from heat and spread in a single layer onto a piece of wax paper to cool.
- In the meantime prepare divide the mixed greens, apple pieces, dried cranberries, feta and caramelized almonds among two bowls.
- In a small bowl, add the ingredients in the order given, stir well then divide the mixture between the two bowls. Grab a fork and dive in!