Fox 31 Holiday Cooking Series: Light Orange Waldorf Spinach Salad

Calories and fat add up over a holiday meal at an alarming rate, not unlike the cash register when you’re buying Christmas gifts:  cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, Fox 31’s nutrition sleuth did some investigating and discovered that the typical Thanksgiving meal rings in at 5000 calories! Talk about adding up—that’s twice or more what an average person needs to eat all day.

With all their sugar, butter, oil and white fluffy flour, holiday foods are bound to taste great going down. But things may not feel so great after the party—and then there’s all those calories to burn off before they lodge permanently on the hips or some other favorite spot.

That’s why it pays to plan a little calorie relief into your holiday meals. This recipe is great because:

  • It uses orange juice concentrate for part of the mayonnaise in the Waldorf mixture
  • The orange juice provides so much flavor that the salad is still creamy and delicious, even with less than half the fat
  • Serving it on a bed of spinach lightens up the dish even more, and
  • With the spinach, a serving takes up a good portion of your plate so there’s less room for things that deserve smaller portions, like that cheesy potato au gratin, well-marbled prime rib, buttery bread and so on

So here’s to holiday enjoyment:

Light Orange Waldorf Spinach Salad

  • ½ cup walnut pieces

Warm a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium-low heat.  When warm, place walnuts in pan to toast, stirring and turning every couple minutes until they are lightly browned and smell nicely toasted.   Remove and chop roughly into ¼” pieces.

  • 4-5 stalks celery diced to about ¼”
  • 1 lrg. apple diced to about ½”
  • 2 Asian pears diced to about ½”

While walnuts toast, toss celery, apple and pear together in a glass or metal bowl.  Stir in walnuts once they are toasted. Now make dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 4 Tbsp. orange juice concentrate
  • 1-2 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon, thyme or half and half (to taste)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Using a fork, whisk dressing ingredients together in a small jar or bowl.  Pour ½ to ¾ of dressing over fruit mixture (to taste) and stir gently to combine well.

  • 1 lrg. bunch spinach, large stems removed, torn roughly into 2” squares, or a 6-8 oz. bag pre-washed spinach (baby spinach is best)

Arrange spinach around the outside of a salad platter or large, low-sided bowl, leaving a hole in the middle where fruit mixture can be mounded. Serve with remaining salad dressing on the side.

Note: Since there are no standard sizes when it comes to produce, aim for
roughly equal amounts of celery, apples and pears, but of course don’t worry if your amounts don’t come out perfectly.


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