You all know I love a good salad, and that I’m obsessed (in a good nerdy nutritionist way!) with keeping our microbiota in balance. This salad ticks ALL the boxes! Oh my gutness, this salad delivers with nutritional clout and loads of flavour.
SPA salad is the nickname I’ve fondly given this recipe. Not just for the obvious acronym, but because it’s easy to imagine eating this straight from a Gwinganna kitchen or Gwyneth Paltrow filmset. This salad is the savvy way to bring SPA living to your own table, feeling like a wellness guru from first bite.
This salad’s full of some fave prebiotics – put simply, the foods that your good bacteria love to eat. Artichokes and asparagus are the stars here, offering anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and digestive support.
Artichokes have been found to contain tremendous amounts of antioxidants and prebiotic fibre. In the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition artichokes have been highlighted as having key positive digestive effects in numerous clinical studies. Definitely consider increasing in your diet if dyspepsia, abdominal pain, or bloating troubles you at times.
I must admit this salad has been on repeat in our household this month, since the fresh Spring asparagus has appeared. Even my normally fussy teenager has been going back for seconds! We had it this weekend with my Chorizo and Rosemary Frittata,but any main protein of say fish, lamb or chicken would work well. Actually this salad stands up easily as a meal on its own, such is its good flavour and satiety combo.
This love your guts salad flows easily in the kitchen
as you get started the moment the oven is preheating by toasting your pecans at the same time. Using the same baking tray to follow for the asparagus makes for slick and easy moves. Gut ready in no time, it’s sure to please…
SPA Salad with Spinach, Pecans and Asparagus
1/3 cup pecans
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
150 grams baby spinach leaves
¼ cup blueberries
3 artichoke hearts, store-bought in jar, drained and leaves separated
¼ cup goat and sheep feta cheese, crumbled
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons EVOO
generous pinch each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Spread the pecans over a baking tray.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC and at the same time place the pecans in the oven as it preheats.
- Heat the pecans for 6-7 minutes, or until the pecans are lightly toasted.
- Pour pecans into a small bowl and leave to the side to cool.
- Put the asparagus in a shallow bowl, drizzle with EVOO and a generous pinch of salt, and gently toss.
- Spread out evenly over the original baking tray, and bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until just tender. Put to the side to cool before roughly chopping into thirds.
- For the vinaigrette, add all ingredients to a Mason jar, secure lid and shake well.
- In a large serving bowl, add baby spinach leaves and artichoke hearts. Drizzle with half the dressing and toss gently.
- Scatter the asparagus, blueberries, pecans and feta cheese over the top and drizzle with the remaining dressing.
TIP: No pecans on hand? You can easily swap these to walnuts or hazelnuts. Dairy free? Swap the feta for avocado.