My Top Summer Salad Tips!
My Top Summer Salad Tips!
When I tell people I am a raw, plant based eater, they often come to the conclusion that I eat a lot of carrot and celery sticks and salads. They are right about salads, but I like to quickly differentiate MY kind of salad from the iceberg/cucumber/tomato combo they may be thinking. My salads are meals, complete and nourishing. I firmly believe that a GOOD salad will give you everything you need and you won’t be hankering for the white bread roll to go with it; once you fill up on fresh plant foods, your body is happily restored! I eat salads all year round, using seasonal produce. Whilst there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to salads, there are a few things I do most of the time to make the most of them.
Don’t do only greens unless you’re a rabbit
I love my greens but a whole bowl full of them can make me get over them very quickly. Mix your greens up with light and dark variants, other veggies, herbs and inclusions such as croutons (I make mine from this recipe and add in some fresh herbs before drying) or berries and seeds.
The younger the better
If you're using leaves take the youngest ones for the best flavour, highest nutrients and easiest digestion. And speaking of small leaves, Microgreens are a nutrition powerhouse and I use them all the time as a garnish. Heaps of them!
Make sure ALL your tastebuds sing!
I like to balance a strong green like kale with a strong dressing because kale can handle it, it allows you to balance up and down the flavours a little so you get a perfect symphony between sweet, savoury, acidic, fat. One of my favourite takes on tradition is Coleslaw, I make a rich, creamy dressing using cashews , it's delicious! the recipe is here
Add a Protein Source
Because a salad might be my main meal, I always ensure there are some seeds or nuts, sprouted or otherwise included, or some tree-nut cheese. Not only does this amp up the nutrients and fill you up, it gives it some texture and many layers of interest.
Mix up your cuts
Say what? Just change the way you cut your veggies and see what a difference it makes. I Like to whizz everything up in the food processor to create a tabbouleh effect, I could use the same ingredients and use some cutting techniques like Brunoise (thin ribbons) for an entirely different eating experience. Don’t stay with the same old, same old, there are heaps of things you can tweak!
Start with something seasonal and build
If you have the basic building blocks in place, it’s easy to create your own salad. I love summer because I might start with fresh peas, maybe add some spinach, look at my herb garden and decide on a pesto and so on. Trust your tastebuds and get jiggy with your imagination!
I get bored easily so I like to manipulate Mother Nature just a tad to keep me interested when anticipating my next mouthful! I use my dehydrator to make croutons, dry marinated sprouts for extra crunch, I even dry Kim Chi for a crunchy spicy surprise and I marinate shiitake and dehydrate them for some salty anchovy oomph! Semi dried tomatoes are my favourite- getting rid of that watery aspect of tomatoes can only be good! I also enjoy using pickled veggies and ferments such as Sauerkraut to add more dimension, along with tree-nut cheeses. Activated nuts that have been marinated and re-dried in a variety of spices are a great addition too. I'll almost always have a few raw crackers on the side too.
Don’t eat it cold!
If you have pre made your salad, make sure you let it come back to room temperature before consuming. This way you get the most out of the flavours and you’re being kinder to your digestive system- which really is never a fan of cold food.
So go forth, enjoy the abundance of Summer but don't forget, salads have a place on your plate all year round!!
For recipes, ideas and class information go to www.rawambition.com.au