Warm fennel & pear salad with nuts and a creamy poppy seed dressing
Autumn is my favourite season. Even though it’s not on us just yet, I’m already day dreaming about it… the clement weather, the nutty fragrance of wood smoke, the harvest festivals and nature’s palette of reds, oranges and browns. But most of all I look forward to the new season’s edible produce and the prospect of cooking up an autumnal storm!
This salad makes a healthy lunch for two and the flavours complement each other perfectly.
Here’s a low-down on some of the ingredients:
Fennel and pear make a perfect combination in a dish – both are high in pectin which help draw toxins out of the body and the high potassium content xx help regulate fluid retention – plus fennel is a great digestive.
Spinach is a fantastic source of vitamin C, protein and iron. It’s also packed with the fat-soluble antioxidant, beta carotene, which can naturally and rapidly diffuse into the lower layer of the skin, where it can protect collagen and elastin fibres from damage.
Cashew nuts have an inherent creaminess which is a perfect base for a dairy-free savoury dressing. You have to make it to believe that it really doesn’t have any dairy in it. This heart healthy nut can play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease by helping to reduce LDL cholesterol.
Hazelnuts have a high amount of vitamin E which plays an important role in maintaining skin, hair and nails. And their vitamin B content is important in proper cell and energy metabolism
Walnuts The vitamin E found in walnuts is particularly beneficial. Walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E which studies have found to have beneficial properties on the cardiovascular health of men.
Poppy Seeds are rich in B-complex vitamins and minerals and their calcium content, is about 12 times more per gram than milk.
250g baby spinach leaves
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
100g hazelnuts or walnuts (or a mix!)
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
100g cashews, soaked for a few hours
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
125ml filtered water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Dressing – combine all the ingredients into a high-speed blender or Vitamix. Stir in the poppy seeds and put to one side.
Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and add the sliced fennel, cook for a few minutes, whilst stirring until slightly brown. Add a pinch of salt. When the fennel is crispy and brown it’s done.
To arrange salad, share the spinach amongst two plates. Arrange the pear and fennel on top. Top with hazelnuts and drizzle with the creamy dressing.