Friday, June 25, 2010

Spinach and Blueberry Salad with Tangy Garlic Dressing

I was just home in southern Illinois visiting family and the blueberries are in season and delicious. We often go as a family to the u pick place and bring home gallons. After mountains of blueberry pancakes, blueberry smoothies and blueberries by themselves, I start to get creative. Here is a simple recipe and yet another way to enjoy blueberries. The tangy dressing is a nice contrast to the sweet berries.

2 TB rice vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1large or 2 small cloves garlic, through a press
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
salt to taste

3/4 lb baby spinah leaves, washed
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
1-1 1/2 cup blueberries, or more to taste
3 green onions, chopped including greens

Combine vinegar, mustard and garlic in a blender at low speed. While blender is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Then add yogurt and salt. Blend well.
Toss spinach leaves in dressing, adding a little at a time until leaves are coated (you may not use all of the dressing). Add more dressing depending on taste. Place dressed spinach in a large serving bowl. Layer cucumber slices and blueberries. Top with chopped onions. Serve family style. Serves 6.

Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C and folic acid. It is also a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamins B2, B6 B1 and E. Spinach is a strong protector against cancer. The high iron content gives it remarkable capabilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. Spinach is one of the most alkaline producing foods and helps regulate body pH.
Blueberries are an excellent source of flavonoids. They are also a great source of vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber and pectin and a good source of manganese, vitamin E and riboflavin. Some studies rate blueberries as the highest in their level of antioxidant capabilities. One benefit of the high antioxidant content may be in the protection against Alzheimer's disease. Blueberries also help improve vision and protect against age related macular degeneration. Blueberries are also helpful remedy for both diarrhea an constipation as well as promote a healthy urinary tract.
Yogurt is a very good source of protein, calcium, phosphorous, riboflavin and vitamin B12. it is also a good source of pantothenic acid, biotin, selenium, zinc and potassium. Yogurt and other cultured dairy foods provide many health benefits such as; improved tolerance of milk, improved intestinal health, lowering of blood cholesterol levels, anti cancer and immune enhancing effects including reducing colon cancer and having anti tumor effects.

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