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Yummy Anti Inflammatory Salad with Easy Salad Dressing

Have you heard that you can cut your risk of chronic long term disease by eating anti inflammatory?  Well it’s true!   More people are jumping on the anti inflammatory eating bandwagon!  

If you find yourself wanting to join the anti inflammatory bandwagon, you may find yourself struggling to know where to start.  Or perhaps you’re eating anti inflammatory but are having difficultly to stay inspired to continue. 

Well, you’re not alone in your struggle.  I’m here to help you.  And with this yummy anti inflammatory salad with easy salad dressing recipe, you may find that eating to cut chronic disease is simple, satisfying and delicious!    

Also if you’re looking for a community of anti inflammatory eaters, join my Facebook Group : Anti Inflammatory Healthy Eating Community.  It’s free to join!  Plus there’s loads of simple real food recipes that will keep you going back for more! 

What is Inflammation?I

I’m ready to give you all the reasons why this anti inflammatory salad will help you. However, let’s first connect the dots between long term inflammation and disease.

Your body uses the inflammation process to heal itself.  For instance, when you experience a cut, scrap, or injury, inflammation starts.  The inflammation is a sign that your body is beginning the healing process. Inflammation helps sends the necessary immune cells and repair supplies to that area for healing.  

Inflammation itself is a natural process. However it can take a turn for the worse when it happens for a long time. Research has told us for many years that the root of most chronic disease starts with inflammation.  

How Anti Inflammatory Eating can Help You 

Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gut disorders, memory decline, autoimmune conditions and more chronic disease start with long term inflammation.  Most people use medication for a life time to manage these diseases. 

Now I always recommend to talk to your doctor about the best way to manage and prevent disease.  However, if you are looking to leverage the power of healthy eating, let’s chat!  

I’ve created an eight week nutrition program called Farm to Flourish so that you can uproot inflammation one bite at time!  The Farm to Flourish Program helps you figure out how anti inflammatory eating can optimize health results. 

How this Anti Inflammatory Salad can Help You

Are you wanting to use food to cut your risk of chronic disease? And are you ready to start? If yes, then here is how this anti inflammatory salad and dressing recipe can help you.  

Below, I share a few facts about how powerful nutrition can be at helping you reduce inflammation.  I think once you see the potential in these foods you’ll be convinced to give this recipe a try! 

Spinach is an Anti Inflammatory Veggie

Spinach is definitely a heavy hitter when it comes to comes to cutting inflammation. It’s nutrient rich packed!  For instance, spinach is a great sources for the following : vitamin A, B6, C, E, and K, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc.  Plus, it’s a high fiber food!    

To keep it simple, I’m going to focus on the anti inflammatory benefits of folate in spinach.  Folate occurs naturally in may fresh farm foods. And it’s widely known for its role during pregnancy. Folate helps lower the risk of a birth defect called spina bifida. 

However did you know that folate is also being studied for it’s role in autoimmune and auto-inflammatory disease?   Yep, researchers exploring the benefits of folate to reduce gut inflammation.

In addition to these latest findings about folate, this vitamin is a well known essential to cellular health.  Folate, also known as vitamin B9, helps the cell make and repair DNA.  DNA is considered the blue print of your body.  And if the DNA process can happen easily this is good for keeping inflammation at bay. 

Folate is also a powerful antioxidant.  Think of antioxidants as the cleaning service of the body.  They are great at clearing the way so that the body can work effectively and efficiently.  Hence this translates into fighting inflammation! 

Lastly, always talk to your doctor when it comes to adding green leafy veggies.  Green leafy vegetables, like spinach may interaction with some medications.  

Citrus Fruits are Delicious & Nutritious

I think it’s safe to say that when you think of citrus fruits, such as grapefruits, lemons, and limes, you often think of vitamin C.  Even though there are several foods like broccoli, bell peppers, and strawberries that outpace citrus fruits on vitamin C, citrus fruits are still great sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is good at reducing inflammation due to it’s antioxidant abilities.  

Just like the folate in spinach, vitamin C antioxidant power equates into anti inflammatory action!   However, research shows us that the antioxidant effects of citrus fruit are actually from phenolic acid not vitamin C.

Phenolic acid of citrus is found in the juice, peel and pulp of the fruit.  Phenolic acid is classified as a powerful antioxidant.  And research is showing that phenolic acid deserves the credit for the cleaning action of antioxidants instead of simply vitamin C.  

Now this anti inflammatory salad calls for not just one citrus fruit, but three vitamin C and phenolic acid packed fruits!  Even though these citrus fruits are related, they still have their distinctions.  For example…  

Blood Oranges : This variety of citrus is full of fiber!  And this fiber is linked to helping regulate bowel movements.   

Cara Care Oranges : These oranges are considered a good source of potassium.  Potassium is an electrolyte used by the body to keep the nervous system functioning in tip top shape! 

Grapefruit : This fruit’s citrus acid is believed to possibly prevent kidney stones. The citrus acid may connect to surplus calcium. And escort the calcium out of the body.  Always talk to the your doctor about consuming this fruit.  Grapefruit may interact with some medications. 

Nutrition with Cranberries

Cranberries, like citrus fruit is also considered a good source of vitamin C.  However to show you the anti inflammatory effects of cranberries, let’s chat about the flavonoids found in these tasty red berries. 

Flavonoids are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.  Yet the flavonoids in cranberries are found in their color.  Specifically, the red pigment of the cranberry skin is the location of these flavonoids.   

Flavonoids have antimicrobial power.  This power works by blocking bacteria to adhere to the tissue surfaces like the bladder and stomach walls.  Helping block bacteria is a good way to fight inflammation before it starts with infection. 

Now I have to mention that I used dried cranberries in this anti inflammatory salad. The dried cranberries give this recipe a chewy texture. Plus they provide a boost of sweet for your taste buds. 

Now, something you need to know about dried cranberries. Most dried cranberries are sweetened with sugar.  And sugar is known to cause inflammation.

So here’s a tip to make sure you are eating anti inflammatory. Always read the ingredient list of the dried cranberries.  Avoid cranberries that have sugar added. Choose dried cranberries that are sweetened with fruit juice. Or better yet, no sweetened is used at all.

Dried fruits such as cranberries can be found made with sugar, but also made with processed seed oils like canola or cottonseed oil.  Processed seed oils, just like sugar are known to cause inflammation.  

So bottom line, when aiming to cut inflammation with food, always read the ingredients of packaged foods.  

Probiotic Possibilities with Prosciutto

Prosciutto?  Anti inflammatory?  Are you sure?  Perhaps you are thinking how in the world did prosciutto make its way into an anti inflammatory salad recipe. And if you’re curious, just know there are many schools of thought about this one.  

So let’s dive into some delicious tasting cured ham controversy, so that maybe you can get a bigger perspective of prosciutto. 

First, prosciutto is considered a processed meat because it undergoes dry-curing preparation method.  And since most processed meats are known to increase inflammation, one would think that prosciutto is also in the same boat. 

However, when the dry-curing method occurs to transform ham into prosciutto there isn’t the need to add chemical agents, such as nitrates and sugar to allow this process to be complete.  

The thought behind processed meats being bad for your health is due to the agents used during the processing.  

So since prosciutto is able to become prosciutto without inflammation causing agents, it’s definitely different than the run of the mill processed meat.  

And I found an interesting, mind blowing study that backs the idea that prosciutto may need another look.  

In the study, it was found that probiotics are produced during the dry-curing or fermentation process of ham to prosciutto.  There’s hope that these probiotics can be used to treat gut inflammation, disease and illness.  

So again, prosciutto, anti inflammatory, really?  

Well if you’re not quite convinced, then remember this is a salad recipe.  If you don’t want to use prosciutto on your anti inflammatory salad recipe then don’t!  Either way, I doubt the food police will get you! 

Nutrient Rich Pecan

So how do you pronounce ‘pecans?”  It is ‘pee-cans’ or ‘puh-cons?’  No matter how you choose to say pecans, there’s not a doubt that these southern grown nuts are full of anti inflammatory benefits.  

First pecans contain a blend healthy fats that are linked to good heart health.  Pecans are also rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins and trace elements.  All of these nutrients are believed to act in sync to fight inflammation for brain health and memory.

Another study showed a reduction in insulin resistance with the intake of pecans.  Insulin resistance is the cornerstone issue of type 2 diabetes.  And even though more research is needed to understand how pecans helped improved insulin resistance, these findings are promising!  

In addition to the benefits of the pecans, with this anti inflammatory salad recipe, the ingredients used to make the roasted pecan also have nutrition superpowers!  

For instance, the spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and turmeric have been used in cooking, but also for medicinal purposes.  Even though these spices are tasty in food, but also powerful antioxidants, always talk to your doctor when wanting to add spices for medicinal use.    

As for coconut oil, also used in the roasting process of the pecans, has it’s own profile of anti inflammatory benefits especially when it comes to brain health.  Coconut oil is consider a healthy fat, and can be easier to digest when compared to other saturated fats.  

Click on recipe names if you would like to snag the two anti inflammatory salad recipes below. Healthy Burrito Bowl Salad Recipe. And Anti Inflammatory Chicken Enchiladas Salad or Leafy Green Wraps.

Delicious and Easy Anti Inflammatory Salad Dressing

Because the words ‘yummy’ goes with the anti inflammatory salad, I figured I also needed to give you a ‘delicious’ anti inflammatory salad dressing recipe.  

Here’s some more good news about this dressing recipe, it is super easy and it’s a family pleaser!  Now, just like the salad ingredients, let’s talk about the anti inflammatory benefits of the dressing ingredients.  

First, honey is a sweet like no other, and is found in nature.  Honey is loaded with B vitamins. And B vitamins are used within almost every cell of human body. Hence, this makes honey more than something sweet to eat, but with nutrient power to keep you healthy! 

Next, olive oil, is a no brainer when it comes to fighting inflammation.  Olive oil is a great source of healthy fats that are well known to help rescue the inflammation that comes with cardiovascular and brain disease.  Plus it tastes great, so again, it’s a no brainer to choose olive oil!  

Lastly, citrus juice, like honey is a natural sweetener.  Citrus juice is absence from the fiber of the orange, yet it comes with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Plus because you are using the citrus juice in a dressing recipe versus drinking, you can absorb the anti inflammatory benefits without guilt!      

Bonus Tips for Anti Inflammatory Snack

Consider doubling the pecan recipe so to get the most out of your time in the kitchen.  For best results, consume roasted pecans within 3-5 days of prepping, and consider the following uses…

1.They make a great stand alone tasty snack that gives you the energy you need to make it through a tough day. Plus they are great at shutting down your twilight food cravings!  

2.They can also become a homemade gift for a loved one. I plan to pack these roasted pecans in a recycled jelly jar for a thoughtful Easter or Kentucky Derby Gathering gift! 

3.Lastly, they make a delicious trail mix for a spring hike or for watching the games during March Madness!  Just add dried cranberries, chopped dark chocolate, and flaked coconut to the roasted pecans.  Make sure to give the ingredients a toss, and you’ll be amazed by this flavor combo! 

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Yummy Anti Inflammatory Salad with Easy Salad Dressing

Elizabeth Ray
This anti inflammatory salad with salad dressing is delicious and easy! It's great at helping you cut inflammation with fresh food from the farm.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Salad, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 250 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Sheet Pan
  • 1 Skillet
  • 1 Cutting Board
  • 1 Sharp Knife

Ingredients
  

  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 blood orange
  • 1 cara cara orange
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 cup dried cranberries no sugar
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

Instructions
 

  • Set oven to 400 degrees.  Grab a sheet pan and the prosciutto.  Tear the prosciutto slices in half length wise.  Place half slices onto sheet pan into 12-individual piles.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  When the prosciutto piles are crispy, remove from oven so to cool.
  • While the prosciutto bakes, turn stove top burner to low-medium heat and place skillet upon burner.  Add coconut oil to skillet, and as the coconut oil begins to warm or melt, add pecans and spices. Continuously mix pecans, coconut oil and spices until the pecans are slightly browned and/or there’s a slight aroma of roasted nuts. Remove skillet from burner so that the nuts can cool.
  • Wash and dry spinach.  Grab a cutting board, and carefully slice a handful of spinach leaves into strips.  Continue slicing spinach until all the spinach is sliced into bite-sized strips.
  • Grab the citrus fruits.  Use a cutting board and knife to slice each citrus in half and then quarters.  Next, carefully cut the fruit away from the peel, and if needed cut the fruit into bit-sized pieces.
  • At last, grab a large bowl or platter to assemble the salad.  Add sliced spinach first. Next, place cut citrus and dried cranberries atop spinach bed. Then add roasted pecans. Crumble or cut prosciutto into bits to cover salad.  Serve and enjoy! 

Easy Anti Inflammatory Salad Dressing

  • save one quarter of each citrus fruit.  In a small mixing bowl, squeeze juice from each citrus slice.  Remove any seeds that fall into the juice.  Also aim to get at least 1/4 cup juice from the citrus; another whole or half citrus fruit may be needed.  Then add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 Tablespoons honey, pinch of turmeric and a dash of salt and pepper.  Mix ingredients throughly, and serve atop the Anti Inflammatory Salad.  
Keyword Dairy Free, Gluten Free, No Sugar

About the Author

Elizabeth Ray is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is on a mission to help you feel good about food!  She believes food from the farm is best.  And she is developing nutrition resources to help you discover the possibilities of real food that is grown/raised by the local farmer.  

For more delicious, nutritious and adventurous recipes that are sourced from the farm, click here.  

“May food from the local farm help you flourish!” – Elizabeth Ray Farmers Market Nutritionist

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