Blog | Rachel Begun, MS, RD

Arugula, Apple and Candied Almond Salad


One of my culinary school instructors gave me great advice: get inspiration for recipe development from your favorite restaurants dishes.

That’s what I did for this recipe.  The North End at 4580 is a gem of a neighborhood restaurant in North Boulder.  I eat there at least once a week with Darren and sometimes more if meeting a friend for lunch or after-work drinks.  The food and service is consistently great.  Their Arugula and Pear Salad, which I’ve ordered countless times, inspired this recipe. I usually order it with lobster or salmon, but it can also be paired with grilled chicken, scallops, steak or even a burger.

My timing for replicating and documenting this recipe is impeccable, as they’ve just taken it off the menu, probably because pears are no longer in season.  Apples aren’t either, but I still wanted to share the recipe with you because the fruit used can easily be tailored to the season.

Arugula is in season right now. It’s peppery bite is a perfect match for sweet apples and candied almonds as well as the tart lemony dressing.  For summer, I recommend replacing the apples with grilled peaches or cherries, as these stone fruits pair well with almonds.

Arugula, Apple and Candied Almond Salad

1 cup almonds
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. coconut or maple sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. shallots, chopped
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. honey
3 cups arugula
1/2 cup thinly sliced apple (sweet, crisp variety is best)*
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, half moon slice

  1. Warm a cast iron skillet on medium heat.  Add the almonds and toast until lightly browned and slightly fragrant.  Add the maple syrup and stir until the almonds are well coated.
  2. Transfer the maple almonds to a foil-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle sugar over almonds evenly.  Freeze until the almonds have become crisp and crystallized with the sugar.  Set aside.
  3. Make the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, sea salt, pepper and honey in a blender until smooth.
  4. In a serving bowl, toss the arugula with enough of the dressing to coat the leaves.
  5. Layer the dressed arugula with the apple slices, sliced onions and the candied almonds.

*  In summer, replace apples with same amount of either grilled peaches or cherries

Walnut Raisin Spice Cookies


I have made these cookies forever, but somehow forgot to share them with you.  So, I apologize for that.

Both kids and adults love them.  They taste great and are loaded with good nutrition–from heart-healthy fats in the walnuts to fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from the walnuts and raisins to protein from the egg whites.  Plus, they are gluten-free, dairy-free and contain no refined grains, starches or sugars.  Their sweetness comes from the raisins and honey, and the vanilla extract and spices provide depth of flavor.

Because they are nutrient-dense, they are filling, too.  Just one or two does the trick!

Walnut Raisin Spice Cookies

Yield: approximately 10 cookies

2 cups walnut pieces
¼ cup coconut flakes
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2 egg whites, whisked until frothy
1/8 cup plus 3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a cookie sheet.
  3. Grind the walnut pieces, coconut flakes, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger in a food processor until well combined and consistency is like a coarse, moist flour. Transfer the walnut mixture to a bowl.
  4. Add in the eggs, honey and vanilla extract to make a batter.  Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Mix in the raisins and stir until evenly distributed.
  6. Using a teaspoon, drop equal-sized rounds of batter onto cookie sheet.  Using your fingers, flatten and shape into a circle
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges start to brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.

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