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Brighten up with a fresh spinach salad

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The Garden of Eating

(Read caption) Grated beets, carrots, tangerines, and crunchy pecans on a bed of baby spinach is a sweet and crunchy break from too many holiday desserts. Add coucous or another grain to make the salad more substantial.

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I made this salad for myself and my hubby for lunch a few days ago. It seemed like a perfect antidote to the dwindling sunlight and colder temps as we enter the final days of the countdown to the heart of darkness (aka the winter equinox). 
 
 I was feeling a little draggy after another night of not enough sleep so I decided to take a short hiatus from my usual lunchtime fare – something bread-based, followed by cookies – in favor of a fresher and lighter meal. 

I love grated beet in salads – it's sweet and juicy and crunchy. And the color is so bright and beautiful, too, especially paired with the orange of the shredded carrot and tangerine slices – hence the "sunburst" name. 

I also love citrus fruit in salad – juicy, tart and sweet. And the toasted nuts are deliciously crunchy and rich. I really like the baby spinach as a base for this salad – very tender and flavorful. Although I admit that I am mostly focused on the flavor, it's an added bonus that all these things really good for you, too. 

I added some grain to give the salad a bit more substance. I used leftover couscous from a Moroccan themed potluck we hosted recently but you could use farro or quinoa or whatever you have on hand. I probably would have included some goat cheese but didn't have any in the house. Toss in a handful of currants, raisins or dried cherries, splash with a healthy dose of your favorite vinaigrette and you're in business. Eat well and stay well!

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