816 North

Dressing adds a light surprise to Strawberry Pecan Lettuce Salad

There was a time when the mainstream American eater would not have understood a book title such as “The United States of Arugula” (Broadway Books).

But as author David Kamp points out in his best-seller, the American food revolution that started 30 years ago in Berkeley, Calif., has morphed from fringe hippie food to supermarket staple.

Commercial supermarket versions of spring green mix typically include some combination of arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, frisee, oakleaf, red chard, radicchio, mustard greens and radicchio.

Miss that iceberg crunch? Add a few leaves of romaine.

Of course, the fastest way to drag down a sprightly green salad is to overdress it with gloppy dressings full of hard-to-pronounce ingredients. The Star’s Strawberry Pecan Lettuce Salad whisks all-natural fruit preserves with no sugar added into olive oil, vinegar and a bit of Dijon for a tasty dressing.

The salad is topped with a sprinkling of reduced-fat feta cheese. The texture of reduced-fat feta is similar to regular but trims a gram of saturated fat out. But as is the case with many products, when the fat is removed the sodium goes up (390 milligrams versus 470 milligrams).

But don’t fret: The overall sodium content of the recipe remains low.

Finally, chopped pecan pieces are added for an excellent source of protein and a non-fish source of hearty-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Shopping tip: Popular all-fruit spreads include Polaner All Fruit and Smuckers Simply Fruit.

Cooking tip: To toast the pecans, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted.

Pump it up: This salad was also tested with grilled chicken strips, which can easily turn the recipe into a main dish salad for four.

Strawberry Pecan Lettuce Salad

Makes 6 servings

8 cups lettuce (a combination of romaine and spring greens is preferred)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons toasted pecan pieces

1/3 cup strawberry all-fruit spread

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Place greens in large salad bowl. Sprinkle with red onion, feta and pecan pieces; set aside.

Whisk together remaining ingredients until blended. Drizzle over salad and toss to combine.

Per (1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons dressing): 148 calories (62 percent from fat), 11 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 1 milligram cholesterol, 10 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 29 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.