Robin’s Healthy Take: Healthy Food Pairings

by in Uncategorized, August 29, 2011
strawberry salad
Strawberry salad with balsamic vinegar, macadamia nuts and goat cheese.

Many foods that are good for you actually taste perfect together. Seemingly unusual pairings can make your mouth soar with delight. In fact, I bet that some of your most memorable meals contained a combination of contrasting flavors and textures – the ingredients balanced each other out while promoting the overall flavor of the dish: salty with sweet, chewy with crunchy – you get the point. Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite pairings and I’ve added some very unique twists. In the first dish, sweet strawberries are coupled with tangy balsamic vinegar, crunchy and mildly sweet macadamia nuts and salty goat cheese, all arranged on a colorful blend of fresh greens (this makes an awesome brown bag lunch or first course for a dinner party). In the second dish, I combined the sweetness of raisins with crunchy toasted almonds, smoked oysters, salty feta cheese and refreshing sherry vinegar. I nestled the combo over a bed of fresh baby spinach. All in all, amazing. And wait until you try the third recipe: salty prosciutto, sweet melon, fresh mozzarella and crunchy celery. I hope you try these and then tell me YOUR favorite pairings!

Strawberries with Balsamic, Macadamia Nuts and Goat Cheese

Strawberries are crammed with vitamin C, nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats and goat cheese is a good source of calcium.

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 teaspoons good-quality balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon good-quality olive oil

2 cups mixed baby greens or baby Romaine lettuce leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons toasted macadamia nuts or hazelnuts

4 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Combine strawberries, vinegar and oil and toss to coat strawberries.  Arrange lettuce on a salad plate.  Top with strawberries.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with nuts and goat cheese.

spinach and oyster salad
Baby Spinach with Smoked Oysters, Raisins, Almonds and Feta

Spinach is rich in iron and antioxidants, oysters are brimming with Omega-3 fatty acids, raisins boast fiber and vitamin C, and almonds are loaded with protein and healthy fats.

3.75-ounce can smoked oysters, undrained

4 tablespoons dark raisins

8 teaspoons sherry vinegar

4 cups fresh baby spinach

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons slivered almonds, lightly toasted

4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Combine oysters with the oil from the can, raisins and vinegar and toss to combine.  Arrange spinach on a salad plate.  Top with oyster mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with almonds and feta.

proscuitto and cantaloupe salad
Prosciutto with Cantaloupe, Fresh Mozzarella and Shaved Celery

Prosciutto (salt-cured ham) isn’t exactly considered a “health” food but a little goes a long way in terms of adding flavor to a dish. The melon is full of vitamin C and mozzarella is rich in calcium. If you want, you can also add chopped dates or dried figs – they also pair very well with this medley.

2 cups cubed cantaloupe melon

4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

2 teaspoons good-quality olive oil

2 cups “shaved” celery (use a vegetable peeler)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons diced fresh mozzarella (I found mozzarella “pearls”)

Combine melon, prosciutto and oil and toss to combine.  Arrange celery on a salad plate.  Top with melon mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with mozzarella.

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at

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