Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions
Back in my day, spinach salad was topped with crispy bacon, the fat of which was kept warm and whisked up as the base of the dressing.  This warm dressing was then poured over the salad just before it was served, so its heat would wilt the spinach. Nice, huh?  I associated spinach salad with fancy dinner parties I went to with my parents when I was a child.

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

But I always hated it.  The spinach salad, I mean, not the dinner parties themselves.  Something about that bacon fat… I don’t know… just didn’t do it for me, especially after the salad had sat for awhile at room temperature.  And call me crazy, but I don’t think bacon should go in ice cream, either.

Bacon & I haven’t spoken at all for about 25 years, ever since I discovered the connection between nitrites and migraines.  But it’s no big loss for me since I never liked it in spinach salad anyway…

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

But then I discovered I really love spinach salad if it has the right things in it, like this spinach salad: spinach… bell peppers… pomelo.. feta… sunflower seeds… And pickled onions… ohhhh, the pickled onions.

Can we just talk about those guys for a sec?  The onions themselves are healthy enough, but then… but then… when you make them into pickles by fermenting them, they produce all kinds of good bacteria that will make their new homes in your gut.  These little dudes are warriors who will fight off the bad guys, burn fat, resist inflammation, get rid of unwanted cholesterol, and even control excess… ahem, gas.   More and more studies show that gut health is vital to your overall health, and one major way to keep your intestines in top shape is to consume more of these friendly bacteria (i.e., “probiotics.”)  So let’s get going with these pickled red onions, people!  Even if you don’t do the whole salad…

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

But of course you should do the whole salad!!  Because it comes together in a flash and the whole thing together is like music in your mouth.  The olive-oil based dressing is mustard-y, garlicky, and the perfect foil to the strong flavours of the spinach and onions.  The pomelo adds sweetness (and helps you absorb the iron in the spinach, by the way) and the soft feta adds just the right amount of creaminess.  I threw some sunflower seeds on top, but pecans would also be amazing. It’s perfect for a light lunch or a compliment to any dinner.

Especially a dinner party, in my opinion!

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 main dish or 4 side dish servings

Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients

    For the salad:
  • 1 bag fresh spinach leaves, or ½ kg spinach, leaves washed & dried
  • 5-6 sections fresh pomelo
  • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2-3 T. sunflower seeds, toasted if desired
    For the pickled red onions:
  • 4 small red onions, sliced vertically
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ cup white vinegar
    For the dressing:
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 t. seeded mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • To make the pickled red onions, dissolve the sugar & salt in the vinegar in a glass bowl. Add onions and press to submerge in the vinegar. Set aside while you make the rest of the salad. Use what you want on the salad, then set the rest aside, covered with a thin kitchen towel or cheesecloth, for 2-4 days at room temperature. Check daily- pickles are done when liquid is a bit fizzy. Stir, cover tightly, and store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
  • To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl or pitcher. You might not use it all, but the leftovers will keep at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for a week.
  • To assemble the salad, arrange the spinach in a large salad bowl. Scatter over the pomelo segments, bell peppers, & feta. Add the dressing to taste and toss. Just before serving, add the sunflower seeds & grind fresh black pepper over all.
  • Makes 2 main dish or 4 side dish servings.
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Spinach Salad with Pomelo & Pickled Red Onions

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