Hey friends! How was your Christmas?
Did you eat lots of food? Receive any gifts you’d been hoping for? Watch any cheesy Christmas movies?
By this time, John and I are likely just bumming around, recovering from a day of heavy snacking and an Office Christmas episode marathon (per John’s request). And, if you’re anything like us, you likely ate a little heavier than usual yesterday and are reaching for something lighter today. You’ve come to the right place! This fresh, satisfying salad is just what you need.
This salad was inspired by one of our favorite salads from Beer Kitchen in Kansas City – our most frequented restaurant of 2014.
It was a mix of greens, tomato, onion, cucumber and artichoke hearts, topped with toasted pepitas, croutons, feta cheese (which I omitted here), and dressed in a creamy, sweet vegan dressing. Crunchy, savory, sweet and seriously satisfying. It made the perfect meal when paired with a veggie burger and fries (always fries).
For the dressing I tried many variations to get it just right. While it’s not identical to the original, it has the main characteristics: creamy, sweet with a slight tartness. I would call my version a creamy (no) honey mustard.
Bonus? It’s made with simple, healthy ingredients so you don’t feel bad about going all in.
The result is a flavorful, fresh salad I think you’ll love. It’s:
Sweet and creamy from the dressing
Crunchy from the cucumber and pepitas
And perfect for hitting the reset button on your diet
This would make a delightful stand-alone lunch if you really pile on the pumpkin seeds. Otherwise, serve it alongside my Super Crispy Baked Fries and Veggie Burger and you’ll be in health food heaven.
If you make this salad let us know! Leave a comment, rate it or take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. And stay tuned next week for the ultimate 5-ingredient New Year’s Eve cocktail. Cheers, friends!
- 4 large handfuls baby spinach or mixed greens (organic when possible)
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, well drained + halved
- 1 roma tomato, sliced
- 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (roasting instructions below | or buy roasted, salted pepitas)
- 1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
- Pinch sea salt
- 3 tsp dijon mustard (or sub spicy)
- 3 Tbsp salted creamy almond butter (if unsalted, add a pinch more salt)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar (or sub honey if not vegan)
- healthy pinch each salt and pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (amount depends on desired consistency)
- Optional: 1-2 Tbsp neutral oil, such as grape seed, for added creaminess
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toss pumpkin seeds in 1 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil and a pinch sea salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and toast for 7-9 minutes, or until fragrant and very light brown - watch them closely as they can burn easily.
- While the pumpkin seeds are roasting, prepare veggies and add to a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Prepare dressing by adding mustard, almond butter, maple syrup and salt and pepper to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Then add almond milk to thin. Go for your desired consistency - creamy but pourable. Add in another splash of a neutral oil - such as grape seed - if desired for extra body/creaminess. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Dress salad with dressing and toss, then top with toasted pumpkin seeds and serve. Leftovers store well in the fridge (when undressed), though best when fresh.
* Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 4 servings with generous dressing.