September 2, 2008

Salads - My Definition

Salads. Can you believe that I would title this entry “salads”? I decided it would be nice to explain my definition of a salad and what I do to make vegetables and salads something you actually want to eat. Most people think of rabbit food as soon as I say “lettuce” or salad. However, a salad to me can be a meal in a bowl that is tasty, colorful, delicious and very nutritious all at the same time. It is quite a versatile course. In the United States salads are a very common dish to eat that includes some kind of lettuce and certainly other vegetables. In other countries salad usually does not include lettuce or maybe just lettuce (trying to satisfy the American palate but missing the mark)! It may also be just one kind of vegetable, such as tomatoes or cucumbers, and nothing else.
I have learned to make complex salads because I enjoy pushing the limits to traditional “salad” definition. For various salads I roast beets, caramelize walnuts, toast pecans, make goat cheese cakes, even use fresh corn on the cob and love adding dried cherries, and raw broccoli and jicama. The options are limitless and this is what makes salad-making and salad-eating fun!
I would never associate my salads with “rabbit food” or even something that only “healthy” people can eat. Salad can suit your tastes and dietary preferences. It’s your imagination that limits what you can create. And the more creative you are the moreyou will want to eat this healthy meal more of the time.
My salads usually include lettuce (unless it’s orzo or pasta), and I prefer organic mixed baby greens. I also include shredded carrots and then at least another two vegetables (corn, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, jicama, broccoli) and then I add something with protein (edamame, fish, tofu, even goat cheese or gorgonzola) and then comes something crunchy (pecans, walnuts, croutons or other salad topping) and then a homemade dressing. Salad would not be the same for me with a store bought version of something that I can easily replicate at home.

Here’s a recent creation of mine that tastes good and is a great dish to bring to a potluck or family gathering.

Broccoli Almond Salad

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
1 c. Almonds
4 cloves garlic
1 slice ginger
1/4 c. Tahini (raw sesame paste)
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 Tbls. lemon juice
2 Tbls. raw honey
6 basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. olive oil


SALAD INGREDIENTS:
3 cups broccoli florets (lightly steamed)
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 Tbls. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Sea salt
1 head romaine chopped
2 large carrots grated
1 package mixed sprouted beans
15 Halved Cherry or Grape tomatoes

SALAD TOPPINGS:
1 avocado peeled and chopped in cubes
15 Halved cherry tomatoes for decoration
1/4 c. coarsely chopped toasted almonds

PREPARE ALMOND DRESSING

In food processor blend almonds, garlic, and ginger. Add Tahini. Mix well. Start adding liquids; orange juice, water, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Add honey basil leaves and sea salt. Slowly add olive oil Mixture should be slightly thick. You may need additional water to liquify. There will still be a little crunch but mixture will be fairly smooth. Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated.

PREPARE SALAD

Mix cooled broccoli florets with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and sea salt. Mix in almond dressing and blend well. Set aside while you prepare rest of vegetables. Mix together chopped romaine, carrots, sprouted beans and tomatoes. Add broccoli/almond mixture to vegetables and blend well. NOTE: Begin with chilled vegetables.

PREPARE TOPPINGS
Sprinkle avocado, cherry tomatoes and almonds for decoration. Serve chilled.

Serves 6

1 comment:

Tiana said...

This sounds wonderful and I can't wait to make this salad. The combination of ingredients makes my mouth water just reading it!