A crunchy salad of fruit, vegetables and nuts in a creamy yogurt-based dressing, this is attractively presented on witlof leaves. The bitterness of the witlof provides a good contrast to the sweet fruit.
½ cup (70g) hazelnuts, chopped
2 green apples, cored and roughly chopped
1 cup (180g) roughly chopped fresh dates
1 small red capsicum, deseeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
⅔ cup (115g) seedless green grapes, halved
2 heads red or white witlof
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
For the dressing
⅔ cup (175g) plain low-fat yogurt
⅓ cup (90g) 97% fat-free mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp caster sugar
pepper to taste
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Put the hazelnuts in a small frying pan and toast over a medium heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until you can smell the nutty fragrance. Turn the nuts into a bowl and set aside.
To make the dressing, put the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl with pepper to taste, then mix together thoroughly.
Add the apples to the dressing and stir until the pieces are well coated. Add the dates, red capsicum, celery and grapes, then stir to mix.
Separate the heads of witlof into leaves, trimming off the hard bases. Slice the leaves in half crossways. Add the bottom half of the leaves the salad. Pile the salad onto a large plate or in a shallow serving dish and arrange the tops of the witlof leaves around the edge. Sprinkle with the toasted nuts and the parsley, if using.
Some more ideas…
*Use ½ cup (85g) sultanas in place of the chopped dates. *You could dress the salad with a vinaigrette instead of the mayonnaise and yogurt mixture. Mix together ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice, ¼ tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp caster sugar and pepper to taste. *Witlof is also known as Belgian endive or chicory. If you can't find a red witlof but like the red colour, use small leaves from a tightly packed radicchio.
*This recipe provides plenty of fibre from apples with their skins, celery, witlof and, of course, dates. *Grapes are high in sugar and relatively low in vitamins when compared with other fruit. However, they contain unusually large amounts of bioflavonoids, the anti-oxidants that help to protect against the damaging effects of free radicals, linked with cancer and heart disease. They also have ample amounts of potassium, an important mineral for healthy blood pressure.