Wilted Spinach Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Autumn is the perfect time for "warm" salads. Toss some greens in a pan with vinaigrette, top with yummy fruits, veggies, nuts, or cheese, and you've got your self a real meal! 'Tis officially autumn, and the harvest is bountiful. This salad is a delicious way to enjoy the last fresh peaches of the season. Combine sweet peaches, savory spinach, healthy fats of goat cheese and nuts, and acid of the vinaigrette to create a very well-balanced dish. The flavors pair together perfectly.

And with the cooler weather, give your digestion a head start by warming up the greens of the salad. Your taste buds, and your tummy, will thank you. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the salad:

3-4 cups fresh local organic spinach 1 ripe local peach, sliced 1 handful toasted walnuts 1-2 tablespoons goat cheese

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon honey pinch salt pinch cumin and/or garlic salt

Method:

Place the dressing ingredients in a little jar and shake to blend, set aside.

Warm a large sauté pan and add the dressing ingredients until warm.

Add the spinach and toss in the warm dressing until just wilted (don't overcook! Will turn into sludgy greens!)

Divide the wilted spinach between two serving bowls and add the remaining ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

Benefits:

Olive Oil: Olive Oil is packed phytonutrients including polyphenols. Most of the polyphenols in olive oil function as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. When eaten in moderation, olive oil can be very beneficial to our gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Peach: Peaches are high in a number of nutrients such as niacin, thiamine, potassium, and calcium. They are also high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A (which is essential for healthy hearts and eyes). Some say the darker the peach’s color, the richer it is in Vitamin A. The antioxidants may also help in maintaining healthy urinary and digestive functions. Eastern cultures consider peach tea as a powerful kidney cleanser and is used in detoxification. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of vitamin K (think blood builder/purifier!), vitamins A, C, B2 and B6, as well as manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. Popeye apparently knew how to protect himself against inflammatory problems and oxidative stress-related issues, while promoting his cardiovascular and bone health. AND he got the girl! See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Walnuts: Walnuts are powerful medicine. They are packed with valuable antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega fatty acids, manganese, and copper. Walnuts have been studied and proven to help decrease risk of certain cancers,  including prostate and breast. They also help prevent cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.