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Salads

Spring Cleaning Salad

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Spring Cleaning Salad

It’s officially spring, which means warmer weather, blooming cherry blossoms, and house cleaning! Tis’ the season to be scrubbing floors, removing clutter, and dusting every square foot of your dwelling. Unfortunately, we spend ample amounts of energy polishing our homes, but often ignore the body when it’s crying for a fresh start. 

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Warm Beet Salad

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Warm Beet Salad

A powerful phytonutrient called betaxanthin is responsible for giving red beets their amazing colour. Betaxanthin is an antioxidant that protects the body against harmful molecules called free radicals.

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Kale Caesar

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Kale Caesar

Raw kale is usually a little tough to break down and not always enjoyable to eat. However, when you gently ‘massage’ the kale with sea salt and some water, the leaves instantly begin to soften as if they’ve been steamed. Preparing kale this way will also help to preserve nutrients and make it much easier for your body to assimilate.

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Sesame Ginger Slaw

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Sesame Ginger Slaw

I love cabbage. It sounds crazy, but I do. I shred it for salads, sauté it with eggs, or blanch the leaves for rolls. It’s inexpensive, almost always in season on the west coast, and seems to go with everything. 

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Cucumber Mint Citrus Salad

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Cucumber Mint Citrus Salad

You may be familiar with putting cucumbers on your eyes to soothe the surrounding tissue and reduce puffiness. This is because cucumbers contain compounds, such a caffeic acid, that promotes skin healing.

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Power Salad - Take Two

As I discussed in Power Salad, this is not your average salad. For this variation, I brought back some of my favourite elements, but introduced a few new ingredients too. Feel free to use what you have and what you love. After all, you want to be enjoying every bite of your meal. Eat to feed your soul, not just your body! Benefits:

  • You may never have guessed it, but buckwheat is full of powerful antioxidants called flavonoids that help to protect the body and repair damage caused by free radicals. Buckwheat is also a good source of manganese, which is used by the bodies energy production organelles, the mitochondria, to protect themselves against damage. In other words, stay protected with buckwheat!
  • Raw tahini is made from unroasted and unhulled sesame seeds. A traditional Middle Eastern staple, tahini has slowly made its way into my kitchen. I use it mostly for hummus and dressings because its flavour is one-of-a-kind. It adds a creaminess that is often hard to obtain in a dairy-free diet and I find its flavour softens when combined with a cold pressed olive oil. Sesame seeds are also a great source of manganese, but perhaps more impressive is its calcium content. Two tablespoons of tahini will give you almost 35% of your daily recommended calcium-- amazing!
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Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale, cut bite-sized & steamed

2 cup buckwheat, cooked (approx. 2/3 cups uncooked)*

1 cup chickpeas, cooked (approx. 1/2 cup dried)

1 yam, diced & steamed

1/2 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped

1 beet, grated (I used an heirloom chiogga beet)

Assemble the salad in the order listed above. Top with Garlic Tahini Dressing (see below).

*To cook buckwheat (or quinoa), soak grain over night and rinse well before adding clean cooking water (1.5 cups water for every 1 cup dry grain). You can skip this step if pinched for time, but soaking allows for quicker cooking time and also removes enzyme inhibitors making the grain's nutrients more available to the body and easier to digest. If you skip this step, use 2 cups of water for every cup of grain. Also expect to double your cooking time. Once you have added clean water and a pinch of sea salt, bring pot to boil before turning to low heat until all the liquid is fully absorbed. Remember to leave a lid on and restrain from stirring to avoid mushy buckwheat. Approx. 20-25 minutes if using a soaked grain.

Garlic Tahini Dressing:

4 tablespoons tahini

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon cilantro, fresh

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Or you can also use a mason jar, but mince the garlic and cilantro before combining all ingredients and shaking to combine. You may need to use a fork to break up the tahini. Shake until all ingredients are emulsified.

References

  • Mateljan, G. (2007). The world’s healthiest foods. Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation.

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Power Salad

I like to call this combination of ingredients the power salad because it has everything to fuel your body for a successful day. It is not a wimpy side dish, nor is it a heavy spread. It is jam-packed to give you what you deserve, and for me that is a pretty powerful meal. It always contains a grain (quinoa, basmati rice, buckwheat, millet, or soba noodles), a steamed starch (yams, nugget potatoes, squash, or sweet potatoes), a legume (chickpeas, beans, lentils, or split peas), raw veggies (carrots, beets, cauliflower, arugula, cabbage, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, celery, etc.), and a creamy vegan dressing (usually tahini or cashew-based). This was tonight's variation.  

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Ingredients:

2 cup quinoa, cooked (approx. 2/3 cups uncooked)*

1 yam, diced & steamed

1/3 red cabbage, grated

2 carrots, grated

1 beet, grated

1 cup chickpeas, cooked (approx. 1/2 cup dried)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

sea salt to taste

I chose to crisp up the chickpeas, but you can skip this step and leave them as is if preferred. Preheat oven to 400˚C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss chickpeas with cumin, oil, and sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. While the chickpeas are baking you can prepare the dressing.

Lemon Cashew Dressing:

1/4 cup cashews

juice of 1/2 a lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon curry spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, mustard seed, cayenne pepper blend)

sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.

Assemble the salad in the order listed above. Top with dressing and hemp seeds.

Serves 4

*To cook quinoa, soak grain over night and rinse well before adding clean cooking water (1.5 cups water for every 1 cup dry grain). You can skip this step if pinched for time, but soaking allows for quicker cooking time and also removes enzyme inhibitors making the grain's nutrients more available to the body and easier to digest. If you skip this step, use 2 cups of water for every cup of grain. Also expect to double your cooking time. Once you have added clean water and a pinch of sea salt, bring pot to boil before turning to low heat until all the liquid is fully absorbed. Remember to leave a lid on and restrain from stirring to avoid mushy quinoa. Approx. 20-25 minutes if using a soaked grain.

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