Walnut, Date, and Herb Salad

MAKES 4 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: not applicable

If you’re familiar with that famous scene from I Love Lucy, where Lucille Ball freaksout on the chocolate assembly line, that’s the way I feel about making finger food. I get overwhelmed, I grow two left thumbs, and I want to cry. (It’s really pitiful how cooking calamities can make me feel like a three-year-old.) This salad started off as an appetizer for company, but as their arrival approached, I had made only a few. So I said (and this is the mild form of what I really said),“Screw it!” and threw everything into a bowl. Honestly, the format doesn’t matter in the least because the flavors work so well together, with sweet dates, peppery arugula, creamy goat cheese, toasty walnuts, and sprightly mint do a lovely dance together. One of the longevity stars here is dates, which first made their earliest culinary appearance (as date honey) in the Old Testament. Who knows, maybe I’ve stumbled upon Methuselah’s secret for a long, long, long life.

4 cups tightly packed arugula
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup chopped dates
4 ounces organic chèvre or other soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette

Put the arugula, parsley, and mint in a bowl and toss to combine. Add the walnuts dates, and chèvre, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and toss again.

COOK'S NOTE: You know the old saying “opposites attract”? Dates and arugula are a perfect example. The sweetness of the dates and the peppery flavor of arugula make the perfect couple. If you’re an herb lover don’t hold back: basil, chives, chervil, dill, tarragon—all are beautiful additions to this salad.

Photo Credit: Leo Gong

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods. Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.