Date and Feta Salad

DEMONS!

That’s right. Demons. Apparently, the sweet little date palm has a sordid past with demonic creatures. Running a date farm can be very dangerous, and among one of the risks is when the farmers must climb up the date palm. They do this several times, whether retrieving the fruits (there are three stages of ripeness so there are several trips from this alone), or climbing up to pollinate the female flowers. Falling from the top of the tree is not uncommon.

At heights that reach 75 feet, it doesn’t typically end well. This is important because ancient legend tells that anyone that is an “unhappy ghost” intermittently would appear as a demon. Now there are even more tragic portions of this tale. There was a set group of people that were destined to become demons (after a brief stint as an unhappy ghost, remember):

1.     She who dies a virgin

2.     She who dies in childbed

3.     He who drowned himself

4.     He who had fallen from a palm tree

There are so many things wrong with this! I had a hard time keep a straight face reading this (aka laughed maniacally). Ancient tales are hilarious, “sorry guy, you fell off that palm tree trying to pick some delicious fruit, now you are dead, and after a brief stint as an unhappy ghost, you will now be a demon forever”.

I mean. Come on. What does a demon date farmer do, throw dates at you?

Sign me up. Free dates.

With all those free, haunted dates I could make several of these incredibly bright, fresh spinach salads. 

Date & Feta Salad | shutupeatthis.com

Packed with spinach, creamy feta, gooey sliced dates, crunchy walnuts, acidic pomegranate seeds and the easiest “non-dressing” of all (fresh orange and olive oil). I am not sure what prompted me to throw this together. But I was eagerly craving a change up to my salad game. I have been obsessed with Mediterranean/Middle Eastern flavors ever since I discovered this incredible cookbook "Jerusalem: A Cookbook", by Yotam Ottolenghi. I highly recommend this cookbook if you want to learn about a new cuisine, or if you know anything about these flavors, I promise you will not be disappointed. The food is so vibrant, fresh, and steeped in rich history. The dishes in that book makes my heart leap and it is also a great read, full of anecdotes from the people in Jerusalem.

One of the points in the book is that most of the food in the cities highlighted always serve salads with any meal. I adored this concept. My daily goal is to try and add some sort of veggie to every meal, especially greens. I usually eat several salads a week, but after I read this book, I started to notice a huge difference in how I approached salad. I saw it as this beautiful empty canvas. For a long time, salads were just sort of there for me. I wanted to create a salad that I truly craved. Something that I knew Jake would enjoy eating. Which is close to impossible, because Jake is almost anti-salad. He would rather drink a green smoothie than eat a salad. I get it, it is his thing, I don’t question it, but he still needs to eat his damn salads.

So, with my new, refreshed, unbridled love for salad, I whipped up this beautiful winter salad. I succeeded in finding a salad Jake is excited about! I have made this several times (including this week) as I always have these ingredients on hand. My obsession with pomegranate seeds and dates make this all possible. I have always adored feta, and since we use it so sparingly, I typically always have some on hand.

I left detailed prep options in the printable, including if you are serving it for a party, as this is a truly stunning salad to serve. Feel free to mix the olive oil and orange together, but I love dressing the olive oil with the salad first, then squeezing the fresh orange over the top of the salad.

Date & Feta Salad | shutupeatthis.com

Something to remember: the recipe calls for two tablespoons of olive oil, this is 1 teaspoon of olive oil per salad serving. You can add more if you would like, but I prefer lightly dressed salad (I hate soggy salad!), But I left this part up to you, because everyone has a different palette! This works extremely well for meal prep, and I added instructions on the printable as well, which are steps 1, then 6-8.

This salad is so bright, crisp, and brings very unique flavors together all in one bowl. My favorite is when I manage to combine all the flavors into one bite! The fresh, earthy spinach leaves, the salty, creamy briny bite of the feta, smoky walnut, topped off by the burst of the juicy pomegranate seeds.

And I am pretty sure I can promise a demon date farmer won’t come after you if you make this salad.

Pretty sure.

Date & Feta Salad

Recipe by Allie Brendel

A fall/winter inspired salad that is a beautiful appetizer for an upscale dinner, but easy enough to prepare for weekly meals.

Prep time: 15 minutes or less

Total time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 cups

Calories per serving: 241

Fat per serving: 10

Ingredients

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup dates (about 10 sliced in half)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 orange sliced in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I used extra virgin)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. If you are prepping a large salad: combine spinach, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and dates.
  2. Season salad with salt and pepper (you will not need much since the majority of the salt comes from the feta, I used maybe a sprinkle).
  3. Toss well to combine.
  4. Slice the feta cheese into attractive slices or cubes and place in salad (after dressing with olive oil), or you can crumble and combine with other ingredients then dress with olive oil. Depends on how fancy you want to be and when you are serving this tasty dish!
  5. My suggestion is to serve the salad with just the olive oil dressed (add 1 tablespoon, mix, and then add the other if you would like, olive oils vary in viscosity), and allow guests to squeeze the orange on the salad themselves. Give the old salad a little razzmatazz!
  6. If you are prepping individual salads for lunches, complete step 1, then season with salt and pepper.
  7. Portion out in individual containers or bowls, place .5 oz sliced feta on one side of the salad (to really speed up the process you can also use .5 oz crumbled)
  8. Add a wedge of orange on the other side of the container or bowl.
  9. Dress with olive oil and squeeze of orange just before serving to keep the salad from becoming a soggy mess.
  10. You are done, now stuff your face full of healthy goodness!