Friday, June 14, 2013

Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Pistachio Puree and Citrus Vinaigrette

In case you aren't aware, I got engaged a little over one year ago and I am getting married in 7 weeks! I cannot believe it is almost here! It feels like just yesterday I was calling my friends and family back home to share our exciting news. Tomorrow morning I am leaving (on a jet plane ;) for my wedding shower back in Wisconsin – can you believe it?! I wanted to post an inspiring seasonal salad before checking out for a few days and this beautiful work of art is what I’ve created.

I’ve been extremely busy teaching yoga, leading nutrition classes and meeting with other wellness professionals in my community that my time in the kitchen has taken a back seat. I absolutely LOVE to cook and create new healthy delicious recipes and realized that I need to find time for this “therapy” in my crazy, somewhat chaotic world. I always tell my clients that if they enjoy something enough they will find a way to make it a priority. Today I listened to my own advice and made creative cooking a priority!

Arugula (a.k.a. rocket) is a leafy green, which is sometimes classified as an herb, with a spicy peppery flavor. The smaller leaves are generally milder in taste and less bitter. Arugula is high in antioxidants essential in reducing free radical activity in the body. The flavonoid compounds and Vitamin A in arugula may prevent certain forms of cancer such as skin, lung and oral. The sharp leafy green is rich in Vitamins A, K and C and is great at boosting the immune system and improving eye health. Unlike spinach, arugula is low in oxalates, which inhibit mineral absorption in the body, and is therefore a great alternative for people seeking greens high in calcium and other minerals.

Organic wild arugula (rinsed and dried)
Sliced white or yellow nectarines
1/2 cup of soaked pistachios (raw and unsalted)
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup of EVOO
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup of fresh water
1 teaspoon of honey
Sea salt

Blend the pistachios, apple cider vinegar, water, honey and a dash of salt in a blender or food processor until you have a creamy puree. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, add the orange juice to a blender or glass bowl. Slowly begin to add the olive oil (at low speed if using a blender or whisk quickly) until the ingredients have emulsified and look opaque and thoroughly combined. Add sea salt to taste. Transfer to a small jar or bottle and set aside.
Spoon some of the pistachio puree to a plate. Top with arugula and nectarine slices. Drizzle with orange vinaigrette and add a few whole pistachios as a garnish (optional). Enjoy!

* Add cooked quinoa to the salad if you’re eating this salad as an entrĂ©e.

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