Meatless Monday: Vibrant Antioxidant Salad

by Laura Knapp on September 12, 2011

By Laura Knapp

Earlier this month, I was in the beautiful beachside town of La Jolla, California for a friend’s wedding. Sunday morning I wanted to explore La Jolla a bit and strolled over to the nearby Hillcrest Farmer’s Market.

I always love seeing how farmers’ markets vary from city to city, from the vendors and food options to local bakeries and shops selling their goods. Thankfully as I was wandering through this farmers’ markets, I stumbled upon the Terra Bella Ranch booth that neatly displayed an array of dried fruits and nuts.

What caught my eye the most were their red walnuts – something I had never seen until that very moment!

Walnuts are known to be one of the healthiest nuts available, but red walnuts offer even more nutritional value/ The red skin automatically adds antioxidants while still serving as an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and Omega-3s.

The vibrant color of these walnuts inspired me to create and share this salad as the second installment of the In Good Taste: Vegan posts – hope you enjoy!

Vibrant Antioxidant Salad

What You’ll Need:

½ cup of golden raisins
½ cup blueberries
½ a lemon
6 beets, golden or red, steamed (Note: I used Trader Joe’s Steamed and Peeled Baby Beets)
4 tbsp. of red walnuts (halved)
2 cups fresh baby spinach spinach
3 tbsp. of aged balsamic vinegar
1 plastic bag (I used two sandwich sized bags but I’d recommend 1 of the Gallon size bags)

How-To:

Begin by putting the golden raisins and blueberries in a plastic bag and add the juice from one half lemon. Give it a little shake just to make sure the lemon juice coats the raisins and blueberries. Set aside while you rinse the beets and slice them into quarters.

Add the beets to the raisin, blueberry and lemon juice mixture so they can soak a bit while you wash, dry and tear the spinach leaves. Add the spinach, the halved red walnuts (or regular walnuts if you can’t find the red variety) and the balsamic vinegar. Seal the plastic bag tightly and shake to combine all of the ingredients. Pour the contents of the bag onto a plate and serve!

Nutritional Benefits: Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Oil Free, No Added Sugar

Walnuts: Walnuts, in general, are a great source of omega-3 fats, which help promote bone health and stabilize moods (tip for the ladies: munch on walnuts if you tend to get grumpy during that time of the month). Walnuts are also rich in zinc, which helps maintain collagen to keep your skin smooth and firm.

Beets: With zero trans fat and no saturated fat, beets are very good for cardiovascular health. Beets contain plenty of vitamin C and about 7% of the daily potassium requirements – potassium lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism inside cells.

Spinach: These leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium and vitamin B6.

Raisins: While the antioxidants in raisins are beneficial to men and women, the high levels of Boron in raisins is extremely beneficial to women. Boron is essential for bone health and is sometimes used to help fight the onset of Osteoporosis.

Blueberries: These berries are said to help reduce belly fat as well as risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit and are rich in copper, which is an effective immune builder with anti-bacterial properties..

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Three-Cookies September 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I have never seen nor heard of those red velvet walnuts. They seem awesome

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Shilpa Sharma September 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm

What beautiful colours on a plate…gorgeous…I thought walnuts only came in a shade of brown :-) they are great combined with blueberries…

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Heather @girlichef September 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm

So beautiful! I never even knew that there was such a thing as red walnuts. Would love this salad.

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Juliana September 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Maris, what a beautiful and healthy salad…never seen the red walnuts…
Hope you have a wonderful week ahead :-)

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Blond Duck September 12, 2011 at 7:25 pm

It’s so pretty!

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polwig September 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm

These look beautiful and I am sure are super tasty and healthy. BTW the girl on the Sheraton Add looks a lot like you, is it?

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Sue/the view from great island September 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I’ve always heard that the more naturally colorful the food, the more healthy it is for you. I have to find red walnuts, I’ve never heard of them— I just sent away for black walnuts and can’t wait to try them.

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Laura September 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Sue, black walnuts sound interesting as well. Where are they grown? Are they suppose to taste different than regular brown walnuts?

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alyssa - fashion fitness foodie September 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm

that salad is so pretty! ive never seen red walnuts! I’ve actually never heard of them

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Erika - The Teenage Taste September 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Salads like this make me wonder why people say salads are boring. I love this! :-D

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Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen September 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Whoa! I am suddenly and unmistakenly smitten with these walnets and must have them!!

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Daryl September 13, 2011 at 3:50 am

This salad is absolutely gorgeous and I love everything in it!

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Claire @ Un Bello Aperitivo September 13, 2011 at 4:12 am

As soon as I saw the picture in this post, I thought in my head, “Ooooo…that’s what I want for lunch!”

I’ve never heard of red walnuts; it’d be interesting to see if they taste any different.

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Angie@Angiesrecipes September 13, 2011 at 4:17 am

I have never seen nor heard of those red walnuts….the salad looks gorgeous!

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Blond Duck September 13, 2011 at 5:47 am

Happy Tuesday!

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Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray September 13, 2011 at 9:17 am

Great post! This looks delicious and I’m sure my body would appreciate something like this. I’ve never heard of red walnuts, how interesting!

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Elle September 13, 2011 at 10:05 am

This is so beautiful…. and I bet it is just as delicious. I have never seen red walnuts either. I am one of the few people I know who like walnuts and I eat them often.

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Susan September 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

What a gorgeous salad packed full of nutrition and what a gorgeous place to find them. La Jolla is so beautiful and San Diego is such a fun place to visit. I wonder why I’ve never seen red walnuts before! I do try to eat a small handful of walnuts every day around lunch time. Great snack.

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather September 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Red walnuts?! How cool! This looks beautiful and refreshing. Love how salads are so energizing.

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Cakelaw September 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

What a gorgeous looking salad – and a great way to get some anti-oxidants into the diet.

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Pudding Pie Lane September 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I love farmers markets and the different array of foods to find these, shame I’ve never come across these but I’ll keep on the lookout :) Great salad too!

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lisa {smart food and fit} September 13, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Never heard of red walnuts, glad you shared that with us. This is such a wonderful recipe that is so nutrient dense. I love it, very colorful and creative! Yummo!

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Joanne September 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I love seeing farmer’s markets whenever I’m traveling also. it’s always great when you locate a fun find like those walnuts! What a fabulous salad! You must have been exuding health after eating this!

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Baking Serendipity September 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm

La Jolla is one of my favorite places on earth. I’ve never been to their farmer’s market, but I can imagine it is fantastic! This salad looks like the perfect late summer lunch :)

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NancyC September 13, 2011 at 10:02 pm

That’s a beautiful salad–love all the colors in it! I didn’t know there was such a thing as red walnuts, either! I’ve heard how beautiful La Jolla is, but haven’t had a chance to go there yet.

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Roz@weightingfor50 September 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm

That is ONE delicous looking salad Laura. Thanks for the inspiration to eat more color!!! And Maris, hope you are doing well.

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Junia @ Mis Pensamientos September 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm

this is the beauty salad! antioxidant powerhouse = beauty :D . i lOVE putting berries in my salads. i switch btwn strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries, depending on what i can find organic.

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chopinandmysaucepan September 14, 2011 at 12:47 am

The colours looks so vibrant and healthy! Looks like Superman’s salad and I’m not sure if all the toxins in my body can take this ultra shake up :)

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Kitchen Belleicious September 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

red velvet walnuts? What? I must get me some- how cool is that. This salad looks amazing!

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Barbara @ Barbara Bakes September 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

Such a great colorful salad. California Farmers Markets are so great. I liked candied walnuts on a salad. Do you think that cooks the nutrients right out?

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Laura September 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Hi Barbara, thanks for your comment. I looked this up just to be sure and apparently, the nutritional value of walnuts changes only slightly (and insignificantly) when roasted, toasted or baked for short periods of time.
Here’s more info if you’re interested: http://bit.ly/mV1Qit

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Lisa @ Tarte du Jour September 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

Colorful, healthy and delicious! What a delicious salad!

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Kay September 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Pretty! I love salads with lots of “stuff” haha.

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit September 17, 2011 at 12:52 am

Never heard of these gorgeous walnuts, but they sure do add to this beautiful salad! I could eat a salad like this every day. :)

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Olga @ mangotomato October 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm

great combo: love adding nuts and berries to the salads. but then you also used beets: some of my favorite root vegetables.

I’ve never had red walnuts before!

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