My time in Israel reminded me that salads can be a real treat to eat; at sit-down meals the first course was often 5-7 small bowls of a variety of salads, from mayonnaise-based salads to barely-dressed mixtures of fresh vegetables. There were grains, diced fruits, dried fruits, pastas, meats, shredded vegetables, or cubed vegetables tossed with fresh herbs, spices, vinegar, yogurt, or mayonnaise in any combination you could invent. I am constantly on a quest to discover foods that are interesting and tasty at the same time as healthy, so this experience was an inspiration towards experimenting with new salad combinations.
This also brought to mind one of the few recipes for which I can truthfully claim authorship - a broccoli slaw flavored with dried cranberries and pecan bits. I enjoy the bite of the vinegar and pepper with the sweetness of the fruit and vanilla yogurt (yogurt also being an important Middle Eastern ingredient), held together by the crunchy broccoli slaw that lends such great health benefits. I hope you find this easy salad to be a treat!
Cranberry Pecan Broccoli Slaw
1 package broccoli slaw (I like Trader Joe's Organic Broccoli Slaw)
low-fat, low-sugar vanilla yogurt (like Dannon's Light-n-Fit)
white vinegar (also substitute fruit-flavored vinegars)
2 T sugar or 2 packets Splenda
dried sweetened cranberries
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
Dump the broccoli slaw into a bowl with stirring room and add yogurt until it looks well coated and creamy. Add vinegar to taste. Sprinkle sugar/Splenda over the salad and mix in; add more if it tastes too tart for you. Mix in cranberries and pecan bits in desired amount, and top with cayenne pepper.
For a less sweet and more natural version, replace the low-sugar yogurt with plain yogurt and eliminate the sugar/Splenda. If you're interested in adding more fresh vegetables, baby spinach and white or red shredded cabbage go well with this. It might also be interesting to add some smoky flavor with bits of turkey bacon...or perhaps fresh mint leaves...and some different nuts...hm, I'll have to make it again soon!