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Spinach and Beet Salad with an Asian Twist

Posted Nov 22 2008 10:51am
My husband and I have decided that we need to eat more salads. I pack our lunches for work, so in the morning I'm pressed for time to be creative with our salad and have enough time to chop the veggies. I've always been grossed out by salad dressing and generally opt out. However, as I've been creating these salads in the morning, I've also concocted homemade dressings to compliment their flavor.

I've made various versions of this salad, so you can be creative with your ingredients too.

Key Ingredients
~Fresh spinach leaves*
~Sliced or quartered beets** (pre-cooked and cold)

Optional Ingredients (all, some or none)
~Cucumber (chopped into bite size pieces)
~Red Bell Pepper (chopped into bite size pieces)
~Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
~Dried cranberries
~Toasted sesame seeds
~Seaweed Flakes***
~Slices of cooked tofu or tempeh
~Cashews
~Wasabi Peas

Dressing
--Add ingredients in a small mixing bowl or a large measuring cup.
--Whisk ingredients together until it becomes a smooth liquid.
--Keep in mind that dressing adds unwanted calories and fat to your salad so don't go crazy with it. Try to limit yourself to 3 spoonfuls.

~Rice wine vinegar
~Crushed ginger****
~Sesame oil (this stuff adds a ton of flavor, but a lot of fat/calories too - use sparingly)
~Sweet chili sauce (this stuff is full of sugar, so go light on it - you can use either the red or orange chili sauce)
~Miso paste (Miso is salty, so don't go nuts with it - this ingredient is optional)
~Red pepper flakes (optional for extra spice)

Tips

*To prepare your salads faster, buy spinach that is pre-washed

**Check your supermarket for pre-cooked beets that are vacuum sealed. Trader Joe's sells these and they're an awesome deal. Otherwise, cook your beets ahead of time and refrigerate.

***Seaweed flakes come plain or mixed with other things such as sesame seeds and/or wasabi, etc. Asian markets typically carry a variety.

****For fast use, buy a container of crushed ginger. It is extremely handy and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.
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