Pure maple syrup is a terrific cooking ingredient.
In this dressing, it adds body,
and a little sweetness, as well as rich flavor.
2 tablespoons chopped pecans or other nut
1 10-ounce package fresh pre-washed baby spinach
1 cucumber, cut into ¼-inch slices
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup shredded smoked cheese, such as Gouda or Cheddar
Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
Toss spinach and cucumber in a large salad bowl.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add vinegar and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Immediately pour the dressing over the spinach and cucumber. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese and toasted pecans. Yield: 4 servings.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 163 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat); 183mg sodium, 12g carbohydrates; 2g dietary fiber; 4g protein; 531mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (135% daily value), Folate (37% dv), Vitamin C (37% dv)
Adapted from: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 1999