Pomegranate & Apple Winter Salad With Creamy Pomegranate Dressing

This salad is soooooooo perfect for holiday parties.  It’s also sooooooo perfect for winter time.  This looks so festive and tastes so yummy too!  I first made this for Thanksgiving dinner and we’ve had it a couple of times since then.  The only ingredients that are sacred to the recipe are the apples and pomegranate arils/seeds.  After that you can totally play with the vegetables that you might enjoy in the salad.  I LOVE the sweetness and crunch that the fruit offer to this salad.  The apples and the pomegranate really compliment each other and you’ll be delighted how the tart meets the sweet.  The dressing is a cinch to throw together and it continues to highlight the star ingredients.

If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious side to take to your next party, you ought to consider this one!  If you’re just looking for something to change things up at home, this may be your ticket too.  If you want to turn this into a full meal, you can easily add chicken to your salad with great success!  Enjoy!

Pomegranate & Apple Winter Salad
With Creamy Pomegranate Dressing

Mimi Original

3 cups mixed greens (I used romaine)
1 medium apple, diced (I used honey crisp)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced cucumber

1/3 cup pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare salad, place greens in a serving bowl.  Pour lemon juice over chopped apple and stir to coat (this helps to prevent the apple from browning).  Top greens with apple, pomegranate seeds, and remaining vegetables.

To prepare dressing, combine juice and next 5 ingredients a small bowl; stir well with whisk.  (You can also put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.)

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information – Salad Only (Per Serving = 1/6 of Recipe)
Calories:  56.2
Protein:  1.5g
Carbs:  12.8g
Fat:  0.6g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.9g
Sugars:  7.8g

Nutritional Information – Salad & Dressing (Per Serving = 1/6 of Recipe)
Calories:  101.6
Protein:  1.6g
Carbs:  17.3g
Fat:  3.7g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.9g
Sugars:  11.7g


Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I can’t say that I’ve ever been a fan of brussel sprouts, but these are good!  Before you turn your nose up on me, go read all the rave reviews of the recipe here.  That’s what tempted me to try these bad boys, and I’m glad I did.

I love the way these end up crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.  Of course this cooking method doesn’t create the most beautiful picture, but who cares as long as those brussel sprouts are edible, right!?  I can no longer say that I don’t like brussel sprouts.  Give ’em a try, you might be surprised by the end result too!  Good quality brussel sprouts are being sold at Costco right now so pick some up the next time you’re there!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
Calories:  93.8
Protein:  6.7g
Carbs:  6.8g
Fat:  4.7g
Fiber:  6.7g
Sugars:  0g

Fresh Thai Slaw

Cabbage, Zucchini, Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Carrot, Cilantro, Green Onions, Radishes, Jalapeno Pepper

I L.O.V.E. this salad.  It tastes incredibly fresh and I love that, even though my garden has stopped producing most of these veggies, I can still find them all at the grocery store and have a summer-ish type salad during the cold months.  Besides the fact that it tastes so darn good, it’s only 20 calories a serving!  That’s right, folks!  I said TWENTY!

You’ll see that several of the ingredients are supposed to be julienne-cut . . . that just means you cut them into little match sticks.  (If you need further explanation on how to do that, you can go to this post and click on the video link.)  It really doesn’t take forever, but it really makes the texture of the salad so pleasing (and it looks pretty too).

You can certainly slice your own cabbage, but I usually take the easy road on this one and buy the pre-shredded stuff (which is located among the the bagged salads . . . usually in the produce section of your grocery store).  You’ll also see that the dressing has sweet chili sauce.  This is SO yummy, and can usually be found in the Asian isle of your grocery store.  I put links to both of these ingredients so you can see what I typically buy and perhaps it might make your hunt for these ingredients in the grocery store a little easier.

You’ll want to take note that once you put the dressing on the salad you are supposed to serve it immediately.  But, you can totally prepare slaw and dressing up to one day ahead, and store separately in the refrigerator (that’s what I did when I made this and I was SO happy when all I had to do was pull it out and pour dressing on it before we ate it).

I served this alongside Asian Lettuce Wraps and we couldn’t have enjoyed our dinner any more!  I can see that adding chicken or shrimp to the salad could make this a main meal too.  However you decide to eat it, I hope you love it as much as we did!

Fresh Thai Slaw
Adapted from  Cooking Light

3 cups thinly sliced cabbage (I buy the pre-shredded package)
1 cup (1/8-inch) julienne-cut zucchini
1/2 cup (1/8-inch) julienne-cut red bell pepper
1/2 cup (1/8-inch) julienne-cut yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup (1/8-inch) julienne-cut seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup grated radishes
1 minced seeded jalapeno pepper

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon water
1teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce

To prepare slaw, combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl.

To prepare dressing, combine juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until sugar dissolves.  Drizzle over slaw; toss well to coat.  Serve immediately.

Serves 10.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/2 Cup)
Calories:  20
Protein:  0.9g
Carbs:  4.5g
Fat:  0.1g
Fiber:  1.1g

Roasted Butternut Squash

This is my new side dish of choice.  I am currently in LOVE with Butternut Squash!  It takes all the self control I have to only eat my correct portion size.  I have even considered eating it for breakfast . . . I seriously love it that much.  If you are a squash hater, well . . . it might be hard for us to be friends right now.  Ha, ha!

This is one of my most favorite ways to cook it.  It cooks up in 30 minutes, is easy to prep, and easy to divide into correct portion sizes once it’s cooked.  Besides that, the leftovers can be used in a some very yummy ways.  I will be sharing some of those ways with you in future posts!  Can you hardly wait?  I can’t!

Roasted Butternut Squash

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds) peeled,
seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Adjust an oven rack to the upper middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a Silpat liner if you have one).  Toss the squash with oil, salt, and pepper and spread out over the prepared baking sheet.  Roast the squash until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Serves 3 (about a total of 3 cups of butternut cubes).

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Cup of Cubes)
Calories:  112
Protein:  1.8g
Carbs:  21.5g
Fat:  3.7g
Fiber:  6g
Sugars:  0g

Broiled Asparagus with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette

Here is a delicious vegetable side dish for all of you asparagus lovers!  It cooks up in a flash and it full of flavor.  I love the broil method because it still leaves the asparagus slightly crisp, but it really helps to enhance the flavor.  You can definitely just broil it and leave it as is (which is what I do a large majority of the time).  But . . . if you’re looking for something a little more special or to add a little more variety to your veggie choice, top it with this yummy vinaigrette!  The beauty of this vinaigrette is that it is a light vinaigrette, but also a little thicker so it clings to the asparagus fantastically.  (The vinaigrette is also pretty good on top of a salad.  I tried it and found it pretty pleasing.)  I loved the freshness of this dish all around and will probably continue to eat it this way until my Costco-size bag of asparagus is gone.

Broiled Asparagus with Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette
Adapted from “The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook”

1 finely chopped plum tomato
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
salt & pepper, to taste

(Makes approximately 9 tablespoons dressing.)

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), tough ends trimmed
(about 30 spears)
1 ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.  If you have one, the food processor works wonders here.  Just put everything in the food processor to achieve a fabulous consistency and texture.

FOR THE ASPARAGUS:  Position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler.  Toss the asparagus with the oil, salt, and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Broil the asparagus until tender and lightly browned, 6 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through to turn the spears.

Transfer the asparagus to a platter, spoon 3 tablespoons of the dressing over the top, and serve.

Serves 5.

Nutritional Information for Asparagus & Vinaigrette
(Per Serving = 7 Spears)
Calories:  45.5
Protein:  2.3g
Carbs:  5.3g
Fat:  2.7g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.1g
Sugars:  0.4g

Nutritional Information for Vinaigrette Only
(Per Serving = 1 Tablespoon)
Calories:  18
Protein:  0.2g
Carbs:  0.9g
Fat:  1.6g (0.2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.2g
Sugars:  0.6g

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

As promised with yesterday’s post, here is how I make my baked corn tortilla chips.  I think they taste WAY better than any store-bought tortilla chip and it’s a huge bonus that they are MUCH healthier too!  Plus, they are super easy to make.  I’ve created the recipe below to serve 2 because that’s how many tortilla wedges I can fit on a cookie sheet.  However, it’s easy to double by just sticking two cookie sheets in the oven at the same time.  If you’re watching your salt intake, then omit the kosher salt.  They will still taste fabulous.

Baked Corn Tortilla Chips
Mimi Original

6 corn tortillas (such as Mission Extra Thin Corn Tortillas)
cooking spray
kosher salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray each tortilla, front and back, with cooking spray.  Cut each tortilla into 6 chip sized wedges and arrange wedges in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  If desired, sprinkle wedges with kosher salt.

Bake for about 6 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for an additional 6 minutes or until the chips are crisp, but not too brown.  Serve with salsa, guacamole, or other garnishes.

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 3 Thin Tortillas)
Calories:  120
Protein:  3g
Carbs:  24g
Fat:  1.5g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3g
Sugar:  3g

Fresh Garden Salsa

Since I’m still using my garden tomatoes, I’ll throw another tomato post your way.  This is a delicious garden salsa recipe.  I love the fact that I can go out to my garden, pick my peppers and tomatoes, and then have fresh salsa 10 minutes later.  There are a lot of ways to make fresh salsa.  You basically want to have a mixture of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.  Depending on your liking, the amounts you use of these ingredients can widely vary AND you can easily add other spices and flavorings to alter the taste to your personal preference.  I am a salsa LOVER!  I rarely taste a salsa that I do not like.  With this particular recipe you’ll see that I’ve added some cumin for a smokier flavor, some cayenne pepper for additional heat, and cilantro for a kick of freshness.  Trust me . . . if you just want a traditional garden salsa without any extra spices or heat, leave them out and that’s what you’ll have.  It’s fantastic!  I love to whip this up and eat it with baked corn tortilla chips (recipe/method to come).

Fresh Garden Salsa
Mimi Original

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
1 fresh Anaheim pepper, seeded and very coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
4 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 (14.5 0z.) can diced tomatoes (drained or not, depending on how much liquid you want in your salsa)
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp. cumin (1.5 tsp.)
1/2 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos, Anaheim, and garlic.  Process until finely chopped.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add all other ingredients to the food processor.  Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire (it does not take many pulses so don’t overdo it).  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/2 Cup)
Calories:  32.8
Protein:  1.4g
Carbs:  7.5g
Fat:  0g
Fiber:  1.8g
Sugars:  3.9g