I was looking for a salad to make for Thanksgiving. It needed to be “special” because of the day, but I wanted to try to keep it light-ish, because of all the other food. Then, going through my pantry (oh, who am I kidding, my pantry is packed – this was on top of the fridge), I noticed a packet of pitted dates I’d mean meaning to use up.
Sure, I could’ve made those cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates, but recall, I was looking for something distinctly salad like; and at least moderately healthy.
Enter da google and a recipe from Safari Dried Fruits. They called for using the dates in a warm dressing drizzled over broccoli and baby spinach.
The thing that really sold me on trying it, though, was the dressing. Chopped dates, sweet chili sauce, and Italian dressing.
Genius! Or total horror show… but I was gonna try this salad.
(Actually, it turned out to be genius).
•1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
•1/2 cup Italian dressing
•1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
•3 cups broccoli florets
•1-1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
•1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
•Salt and pepper
Cut the broccoli into small florets and place in a ‘wave safe bowl with one tablespoon of water.
Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and ‘wave on high for two to three minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and still crunchy.
Immediately turn the broccoli in to a bowl of ice water to stop it from cooking any farther.
Drain well and set aside to dry completely, then stash in the fridge until needed.
Wash the baby spinach, dry, and also stash in the fridge until needed.
Just before you plan to serve the salad, make the dressing by whisking the sweet chili sauce together with the Italian dressing and pouring over the chopped dates in a small sauce pan.
Heat over low or medium heat until just warmed through.
Arrange the baby spinach on a platter and top with the broccoli and sliced onion.
Drizzle the warm dressing over the top, then add the sliced almonds and season with a bit of sea salt and a couple of good grinds of freshly ground black pepper.
Toss and serve.
Note: when I made this the first time, I cooked the dressing ahead of time, stashed it in a covered jar in the fridge, then ‘waved it right before serving to rewarm it.
The reheated dressing was very good, but a touch on the thick side. Better to make it just as you need it, or mebbe even try warming it in one of those mini slow cookers that you more than likely have stashed in the back of a closet fro when you make spinach and artichoke dip.
This salad is totally worth digging that out.