Friday, 23 December 2016

Spinach salad with spiced nuts and cranberries

It was less than a week until Christmas, the last day of school and I had not eaten dinner at home for 4 days.  I was in need of salad.  Something to please my appetite and feed my soul.  I had been planning it for a few days and was delighted with this spinach and spiced nuts salad. 

I have bookmarked far more spiced nuts recipes than I have made.  Which translates as, I love the idea of them but don't make them often.  (Speaking of bookmarks, is it just me that cannot access recently, and does anyone know why?)  They are a great way to make a salad seem fancy and substantial. 

I am unapologetic about giving a recipe for three times as many nuts as is required for the salad.  They are great for festive nibbles and also make delicious gifts.

The salad is reasonably simple.  I left some in the fridge overnight and discovered that it does not keep overnight.  Rather than dwelling on slimy spinach leaves, let's just say that although you can't make it in advance for a Christmas dinner, you can make most of the components beforehand so you just need to toss everything together before the meal.

We ate this salad with some garlic bread for a simple supper.  It is robust enough for a meal but light enough to include as a side dish.  It caters to vegan and gluten free diets.  Best of all, it is perfect for those trying to eat more healthy food, which pretty much covers most of us.  And salads might be in demand in Melbourne on Christmas day where it is forecast to be 35 C!

I hope your festive season is going well.  It is pretty crazy here.  Sylvia's gingerbread house is almost done and I have almost finished buying presents.  I have lots of wrapping and baking to do.  We were out looking at Christmas lights on houses tonight.  It is yet another late night.  I hope to have one more post in me before Christmas to share some of the photos of Christmas lights.  Meanwhile I wish you all the best for a merry Christmas and happy holidays.

I am sending this salad to Healthy Vegan Fridays and Meat Free Mondays.

Spinach salad with spiced nuts and cranberries
Inspired by Salt and Lavender
Serves 4

150g spinach
1 cup smoky spiced nuts (see below)
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 spring onion
150g sugar snaps
Lime tahini dressing (see below)
roasted and salted seeds (optional)

Toss everything but the seeds with  the dressing in a large salad bowl.  Scatter with seeds.  Best eaten within a few hours of making the salad.  Does not keep overnight.

Lime tahini dressing
adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe

1 and 1/2 tbsp lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp seeded mustard
Generous pinch salt

Whisk together until smooth and creamy.

Smoky spiced nuts
Inspired by Green Gourmet Giraffe and
Makes 3 cups

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pecans
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 170 C or 325 F.  Mix everything well in a large roasting dish.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Stir well.  Roast another 5 minutes.  They will still seem a little wet but should be crisp once they cool.  Once cooled, store in an airtight container.

On the Stereo:
Merry Christmas to the World of Children: Patsy Biscoe


  1. Sometimes one just NEEDS a salad, Johanna and given the choice, this one would be mine with lots and lots of cranberries and nuts!!! Thank you so much for sharing...

    As you know, I am no longer blogging but please also know, I will miss so many of my blogging friends. It has been wonderful getting to know you and your darling family these past years. Oh how wonderful hearing how Sylvia has grown:) Thank you for taking me on "field" trips through your world with open arms. I learned so much about you, your food and yes even your country and traditions. I appreciate every single morsel. Thank you Johanna. A very Blessed and Merry Christmas to You and Yours. Wishing you a Happy, Safe and Healthy New Year. Stay well, Johanna...

    1. Thanks Louise - it has been a pleasure - I miss your cheery blog posts and comments but glad to hear you are doing well. It has always been lovely to hear from you and I will continue to keep an eye on your pinterest board!

  2. This salad sounds good and the nuts look amazing!

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - the nuts were quite moreish - though after about 4 or 5 days the nuts were getting a bit sticky but still moreish!

  3. urgh to that 35C, we are dreading it. We have decided not to have a big dessert and will just go with fresh fruits and banana nice cream instead. This salad looks wonderful, in fact I have everything for the dressing and will make it now and that can be my salad contribution. I just used up all my cranberries though so I will have to brave the supermarket tomorrow.

    1. Thanks Faye - the heat seems to not quite be going away which is a shame - your fruit dessert sounds really good - glad you had a go at the dressing!

  4. I am passing up the salad, though I confess I have made one recently - but please give me some of those spices nuts.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - the nuts are there to make the leaves much more appealing but the nuts are very good on their own

  5. This looks like exactly what I need this week! I've been doing way too much overindulging and salad sounds wonderful!

    A very merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. Thanks Mary Ellen - yes we might also need some of this soon after all our Christmas feasting.

  6. "Speaking of bookmarks, is it just me that cannot access recently, and does anyone know why?)" I don't know about delicious. I use diigo if you are looking for a new bookmarking site. I like it because you can view the recipe even if the website goes down (it stores it somehow?).
    This salad sounds like exactly what I need! I totally overindulged the entire month of December. My body is really craving green things. And the spiced nuts sound really nice. What I like best about this salad (besides how awesome it sounds) is that I have all of the ingredients on hand =)
    I hope you had a wonderful holiday Johanna!

    1. Thanks Kimmy - I am craving some fruit and veg - though my mum did some really nice salads which was a relief with all the sweet food about. Thanks for the info on Diigo - I have thousands of bookmarks on Delicious but if it continues to be down without any updates from the company I might need to look at other alternatives which would make me sad but I've tried to search for info on delicous and can't find any


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