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Arugula and Cranberry Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

By Cheryl Forberg

Mother's Day is right around the corner - and what better way to celebrate than by sharing a meal that's both nutritious and delicious? With the menu below, not only do you pamper Mom with a home-cooked meal, but you also give her the priceless gift of health.

An easy brunch menu might include:

  • Grilled chicken breast or salmon fillets
  • Fresh fruit platter or fruit kabobs
  • Whole grain salad (such as quinoa or tabbouleh)
  • Fresh green salad (below)
Whatever menu you use in assembling your brunch menu - for Mother's Day or any occasion - keep these nutrition tips in mind to create a meal that's as nutritious as it is memorable:
  • Put protein front and center. Lean protein is not only essential for a balanced diet; it helps balance the rise in blood sugar carbohydrates cause, filling you up for longer than carbs alone. And because protein helps keep muscles strong, a lack of protein at breakfast can mean your body feels more fatigued by day's end.
  • Choose the right grains. The bran and fiber in whole grains make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose - leading to a slower, more moderate increase in blood sugar levels. Whole wheat breads and muffins, oatmeal and even polenta can all be part of a healthy breakfast that won't let you down later in the day.
  • Or get your carbs from fruit. Fresh fruit - not fruit juices, which are loaded with sugar - can give a boost to your morning. Citrus and other fruits high in Vitamin C are especially good choices for a morning meal that will leave you feeling strong.
  • Aim for 3 cups fresh veggies per day - a combo of raw and cooked for optimal nutrition.
  • It's OK to have a glass of bubbly on your special day - but then switch to water. Remember that every four ounce glass of wine or champagne has 100 calories.
Here's the perfect salad for Mother's Day, and every day!

Arugula and Cranberry Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts
Try it with different nuts and berries, too. Extra dressing keeps well in the refrigerator for up to one week. Add roasted chicken and this salad can be served as an entrée for four.
Yield: 8 servings

Red Onion Dressing:
6 ounces Red Onion (about 1 medium), peeled and halved lengthwise
¼ cup plus Olive Oil
¼ cup fresh Lime Juice
3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Arugula and Cranberry Salad:
4 cups fresh Arugula
1 3-ounce package Melissa’s Dried Cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup Melissa's Pine Nuts, toasted

Prepare dressing:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel onion and cut into eighths lengthwise. Place onion wedges on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn onion over and bake until brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. Set aside to cool. Place roast onions in bowl of a food processor; add lime juice, mustard, and vinegar. Purée until smooth and thick. (Add 1 tablespoon of water if mixture is too thick to process). Add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil in a thin stream. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. There will be about 1 cup of dressing.

Prepare salad:
Add arugula, cranberries and nuts to medium mixing bowl. Add enough dressing to coat greens, about 1/4 cup; toss well. Divide salad evenly among 8 plates. Serve immediately. Pass extra dressing separately.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories 122
Total Fat 4g
Sat Fat 0g
Cholet 0mg
Sodium 16mg
Total Carb 20g
Fiber 3g
Protein 2g
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