Sweet & Savory Salad Topper

Recipe creation largely comes from two sources: (1) standing in front of the fridge or pantry and creating something with whatever I have on hand; or (2) being inspired by an existing product or recipe and wondering if I can make it better in any way.

This recipe is due to the latter. I came across a commercial “salad topper” and was intrigued. It had cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Everything looked great until I inspected the ingredient label. What looked good on the front looked entirely different on the back! It had tons of added sugar (why? why?), canola oil, sulphites and assorted other chemicals – ugh. This great, basic idea could definitely be made better.

Instead of sweetened cranberries, I opted for golden berries. Golden berries (I affectionately call them “nature’s skittles) have a great tangy taste – not to mention that they are one of few berries that are actually a complete protein. In addition to their protein content, they are rich in antioxidants and vitamin A, and are very low in sugar. I used sulphite-free raisins, added sunflower seeds in addition to pumpkin seeds (both of which I roasted), chia seeds for great omega-3 fats and more protein, and added an important pinch of Himalayan salt. Done!

The end result (which some of you sampled Sunday morning) was a nice mix of sweet, sour, savory, crunchy, chewy and salty – I think I covered all the bases! So while it makes a lovely addition to any salad, it’s also a nice trail mix on its own, or could be added to yogurt, cottage cheese….the options are endless. Just know that it’s easy to make, unnecessary sugars and chemicals have been removed, and it makes a nice, well-balanced snack. I hope you enjoy!

Sue’s Salad Topper

1 cup of sulphite-free raisins (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup of golden berries (I use Giddy Yoyo and Essential Living Foods)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds – toasted
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds – toasted
2 tablespoon chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt

Toast sunflower and pumpkin seeds at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Watch to make sure they don’t brown too much. Toss remaining ingredients and mix well. You will find the chia seeds adhere nicely to the raisins and golden berries so they don’t get lost on the bottom. Store in an air-tight jar or container and enjoy!