Sponsored Post: Pazazz Apple, Brown Rice, Cranberry & Almond Salad Perks Up Any Day
Nothing perks us up like a carefree walk through a verdant park, basking on a sun-warmed beach or pumping up the volume on a favorite tune.
Or best yet, simply biting into a gloriously crunchy and juicy apple.
Indeed, did you know that apples are full of antioxidants that fuel neurotransmitters in the brain that trigger the release of dopamine that boosts mood? All of that makes apples a veritable “happy” fruit.
This month, it especially pays to “don’t worry, be happy” by indulging in your love of apples, which not only can boost your mood, but also help protect against cancer.
After all, February is National Cancer Prevention Month. I’m proud to partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research and Pazazz Apples to help spread the word about how apples are high in fiber and antioxidants that can help reduce the risks of some cancers. To learn more about how nutritious apples are and to assess how your own lifestyle choices affect your risk of cancer, go to the informative health check here.
Then, head to Albertsons, Safeway, or Vons to pick up some Pazazz apples, now at peak flavor through June. These beautiful, large, red-skinned apples with yellow-green striations are full of snap, as well as sweet-tangy juice.
Enjoy as is out of hand as a snack or as the star in this simple and satisfying “Apple, Brown Rice, Cranberry, Almond & Rosemary Salad.”
Whether you work from home or commute to an office, this salad is ideal for a nourishing lunch, light dinner or even picnic fare as it’s made to be easily totable.
This happy fruit-filled salad comes appropriately enough from the cookbook, “152 Non-Sad Lunches” (Smith Street Books, 2022), of which I received a review copy, by Australian food writer Alexander Hart.
Although the book labels itself as full of recipes “you can make in 5 minutes,” rest assured that it will take you a little longer to make this particular salad, but not much more. No heavy lifting required, either.
Just cook brown rice and allow to cool to room temperature. You’ll need 1 cup cooked brown rice for one serving, which is the yield from about 1/4 uncooked.
The cooked grains get folded with dried cranberries, roasted almonds, arugula, finely chopped fresh rosemary, and Pazazz apple slices tossed in a little lemon juice. Be sure to leave the peel on the apple because it’s a prebiotic that helps nourish the probiotics needed to maintain a healthy gut.
I actually used ribbons of lacinato kale instead of arugula, whose sturdy leaves hold up especially well in this salad, even overnight if you’re packing it to enjoy the next day for lunch. It demonstrates how versatile this salad is. Don’t have dried cranberries? Use dried cherries or raisins instead. No almonds? Walnuts or pecans will work in a pinch. And thinly sliced cabbage, fresh spinach leaves or even some lightly blanched sugar snap peas can also sub in for the arugula.
The dressing is just apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and olive oil. The vinegar’s fruity, wine-y taste really amplifies the taste of the apples, too. Store the dressing in a small, tightly lidded container, then pour over the brown rice salad when you’re ready to eat.
If refrigerated overnight, the rice will still be soft-chewy the next day, and the apple slices will have remained crisp without turning brown whatsoever.
Dig in to enjoy a hearty meal, loaded with array of textures, from the chewy cranberries to the crunchy almonds to the juicy apple. It’s fresh and bright tasting, with just a hint of pine on the finish from the rosemary. It’s a salad that has that addictive sweet-and-sour thing going on, making you want to take forkful after forkful.
It will definitely fill you up yet leave you ready to get up and go — with a sunny smile, but of course.
Apple, Brown Rice, Cranberry, Almond & Rosemary Salad
For the salad:
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 apple, thinly sliced
150 grams (1 cup) cooked and cooled brown rice
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped roasted almonds
Handful of arugula or thin ribbons of lacinato kale
For the dressing:
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Squeeze lemon juice over the apple slices and toss to combine. Toss through the remaining salad ingredients, then tip into your lunchbox.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar or container with a tight-fitting lid if you plan to take your salad on the go. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss well.
Adapted from “152 Non-Sad Lunches” by Alexander Hart
More Pazazz Apple-Inspired Recipes to Enjoy: Asiago Apple Galette
And: Apple Beehive