Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad

Today was a very busy day for me. I had a presentation I needed to prepare for and I did not have time to really cook anything. I put a couple nice sized potatoes in the oven to make baked potatoes and loaded them up with broccoli and Parmesan cheese. I had some baby spinach and decided to make a simple salad. I enjoy these types of salads. The salad had great flavor, dressed nicely with a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was an excellent meal choice for such a busy day. Perfect dinner for 2 people. Enjoy!

Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad
Created on 11/13/2012

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Salad:
1 (10 oz) bag of organic baby spinach, washed and spun dry with salad spinner
½ cup of cran-raisins
½ cup of toasted walnuts
¼ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing:
2 teaspoons of raw honey
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 garlic clove minced well

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a stoneware or cookie tray, spread walnuts and pumpkin seeds evenly and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the nuts/seeds from the oven and let cool. In a glass bowl, mix the raw honey, vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic with a wire whisk. Season the vinaigrette dressing lightly with salt and pepper. Add the washed spinach, cran-raisins, and walnuts/pumpkin seeds and toss well.

 

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Toasted Walnut Spinach Baby Peas Ravioli

I do not eat a lot of pasta because it causes my sugar to rise rapidly but every once in a while I do crave Italian food. I decided to become ambitious one day and attempt to make ravioli for the second time in my whole cooking life. I love spinach in anything so I thought I would try to make spinach ravioli with peas and walnuts. I did not want to use a tomato sauce so I blended up some garbanzo beans for the sauce base and the results came out good. I loved it! I planned my food menu very carefully that day because I wanted this. The dish was such a nice change for me. Enjoy!

Toasted Walnut Spinach Baby Peas Ravioli
Created on 1/6/12

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2 cups of baby spinach chopped – equal to roughly 2 handfuls
1 cup of frozen baby peas, thawed
½ cup of toasted walnuts
1 medium onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced fine
1 package of wonton wrappers, – I cheated did not make fresh
1 cup of Ricotta cheese, can use tofu – very good as well
½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Egg
1 tablespoon of water

In a 350 degree oven, toast ½ cup of walnuts. This takes about 10 minutes depending on your oven. The extra effort to toast the walnuts is worth it. Toasting the walnuts bring out a ton of flavor. Set aside and cool.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until the spinach is wilted. Add the thawed peas and sauté until peas are heated.

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Put the sautéed vegetable mixture in a food processor and cool. Add the toasted walnuts, and pulse a few times. You want the filling to be chunky.

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Add the ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese and mix well. Set aside.

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Crack the egg and mix with the water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Set aside. On a clean board, prepare the Ravioli. This is a lot of work, but so worth it.

Lay one wonton wrapper on board. Add 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons of filling. Brush the edges with the egg wash. Cover the filling with the 2nd wonton wrapper. Press seams together, and force any air bubbles out of the sealed wrapper so that the ravioli does not break or come apart during the cooking process. Repeat this process until you achieve the number of Raviolis you want.

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Put the raviolis on a cookie tray and cover with towel or a non-stick surface. Put the ravioli in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This helps prevent the raviolis from coming apart and makes it easier to cook.

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In a stock pot of boiling salted water, add the frozen raviolis one at a time. Cook for approximately 5 to 8 minutes just enough to cook the wonton wrappers and the raviolis float to the top of the stockpot.

Transfer the raviolis to a plate and top with your favorite sauce. In this recipe I used a garbanzo bean sauce topped with sautéed tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper.

This is a simple sauce that I use instead of a tomato based sauce. I make it to top over bread or pasta or steamed vegetables. Sometimes, I serve this with sautéed cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. The chunky style kind of reminds me of hummus but without the Tahini sauce and lemon.

Garbanzo Bean Sauce
Created 01/06/12

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 can of organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté all the ingredients over medium high heat until beans are heated through. Put beans in a food processor or blender and pulsate until chunky or smooth. If putting on bread, I tend to keep the beans chunky. If I am putting this sauce over pasta it can be chunky or smooth, depends on the dish. If it is pasta I will probably keep the bean sauce chunky but if it is ravioli the sauce will probably be smoother.

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