Cranberries, with their sweet and tart personalities, are a bit like the extroverts at a party; at ease in savoury situations, and just as good for when things get syrupy.
I always seem to have dried cranberries on hand, and often use them in salads and bakes. They also feature prominently in my Cranberry & Walnut cream cheese spread.
When Ocean Spray’s lovely PR people sent me a hamper of their cranberry-based products to try out, one of the first things I wanted to make was a fruity reduction for a tossed salad. Here, the berries’ tangy notes really perk up the earthiness of fresh baby spinach, wilting them ever so slightly. Also (and I found this out by chance after developing this recipe), that oxalic acid in spinach could hamper the body’s iron-absorption abilities and it is recommended that spinach be eaten with foods containing Vitamin C – like cranberries. How about that?
Tossed Baby Spinach Salad with Cranberry Reduction
- 250ml OceanSpray cranberry nectar
- 2 TBSP fruity balsamic reduction/balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp coconut sugar/sweetener of choice
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tsp garlic pepper
- 1 TBSP good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 100g raw baby spinach
- handful chopped coriander
- pineapple to taste
- feta chunks to taste
- sunflower seeds (optional)
- Add cranberry nectar, balsamic reduction and coconut sugar to a small pot on medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced by a third.
- Add dried cranberries and garlic pepper to the pot and simmer until the cranberry juices form a thin syrup. It is ready when a spoon drawn across the bottom of the pot leaves a clean path in its wake.
- Set cranberry mixture aside to cool. Add olive oil.
- In a large bowl, toss baby spinach with coriander.
- Add the syrupy cranberries to the salad, working the mixture, gently by hand, into the spinach.
- For added texture, mix in sunflower seeds
- Set aside for about an hour to allow the flavours to meld.
- Add pineapple and feta just before serving.
- Finish with an additional sprinkling of garlic pepper.