Salad Toss: Baby Spinach and Cranberry Reduction

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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.

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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?

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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)
  1. Add cranberry nectar, balsamic reduction and coconut sugar to a small pot on medium heat and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced by a third.
  3. 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.
  4. Set cranberry mixture aside to cool. Add olive oil.
  5. In a large bowl, toss baby spinach with coriander.
  6. Add the syrupy cranberries to the salad, working the mixture, gently by hand, into the spinach.
  7. For added texture, mix in sunflower seeds
  8. Set aside for about an hour to allow the flavours to meld.
  9. Add pineapple and feta just before serving.
  10. Finish with an additional sprinkling of garlic pepper.

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