Enjoy Sweet Fall Salads
Make the switch from processed sugars to fresh fruits
I’ve never enjoyed eating fast food. Salty, grease-laden foods do nothing for me. Soda is not my cup of tea.
I’m not necessarily a health junkie, but I try to maintain a healthy diet. Yet like all mortals, I do have a weakness: food fantasies that revolve around gooey chocolate chip cookies, fluffy vanilla cake and glazed rainbow sprinkle frosted doughnuts.
At the start of 2019, I vowed to eat less sugar. In my pursuit of my New Year’s resolution, I gleaned that sugar is present in almost everything — bread, peanut butter, even marinara sauce.
I try to stay current on health studies, and I’ve learned that processed sugar has been linked to a variety of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, weight gain and even skin issues.
I consider myself a happy person who wants to stay that way. I knew that abolishing sugar would lead to a less-than-ideal me. So, when a sugar craving struck, I would reach for fruit and its fructose instead of a chocolate bar and its processed sugar that increases health risks.
I’ve always loved eating fruit — and vegetables, for that matter — which prompted me to question why I wasn’t buying more of it. I suppose I would forget how much I loved it, even after I bought it. The peels would be bruised and soft and the berries mush by the time I got to it. I needed to buy fruit and be intentional with it.
And I did. It began simply — berries with a drizzle of local honey or peaches with a sprig or two of mint. Then, I began to layer and experiment with flavors — watermelon and feta or melons with chili powder and lime. These pairings were a delightful surprise to someone who normally doesn’t mix her sweet and salty.
I often top salad mix or quinoa with fruit. This meets my sweet quota for the day and fills me up. While I may not be able to resist a cookie straight from the oven, I find I am satisfied both substantially and aesthetically by fruit-centric meals.
With a cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables at their peak in the fall months, I’ve concocted these healthy, hearty and superbly sweet recipes ideal for dining al fresco all fall.
Fall Harvest Salad
1 cup of cherries, pitted and halved
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 honey crisp apple thinly sliced
2 sliced figs or fig preserves
½ cup of your favorite nuts/seeds (slivered almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, etc.)
½ cup of feta cheese
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
A few large handfuls of your favorite greens, I suggest kale
Arrange the greens in a large serving bowl. Top with fruits, nuts/seeds and feta cheese. Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon then drizzle over salad. For an even heartier meal, top with thinly sliced prosciutto.
Fall Fusion Salad
1 cup of dried cranberries
1 pear sliced
1 cup of red grapes halved
½ cup of sliced beets
½ cup pecans
½ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Cracked black pepper to taste
A few large handfuls of your favorite greens, I suggest arugula or kale.
Optional: bacon crumbles and blue cheese
Arrange greens in a bowl. Top greens with fruits, beets, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and pepper. Drizzle over and serve. For a heartier option,
top with crumbled bacon bits and blue cheese.