Filed under: Healthy Lifestyle, Recipes, Vegetables | Tags: raw food, salads, seasonal eating
Why is it that in the summer we naturally crave more fresh and raw foods? These foods have a cooling effect on the body. The lightness and high water, fiber, and vitamin content work together to act as our internal air conditioning during these warm months. At this time of year we also need less dense, high-energy food because we feel so energized from being outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
There is no better season than summer to have fun creating your own fresh, tasty, creative salad combinations. By simply tossing together several of your favorite raw veggies plus a little protein, you have a perfect meal for a hot summer’s day.
Try your favorite dark leafy lettuce with various sliced, diced, or grated veggies. The possible combinations are endless. Fresh herbs are a wonderful option to mix in, as they are packed full of flavor. Experiment with adding diverse forms of protein to your salads, such as nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, fish, or poultry. (Protein in your salad will ensure that you don’t get hungry an hour after eating, which can happen if your salad contains veggies and fruit only.) Pick up a light and healthy dressing at your local health food store, or mix up something easy, like lemon juice, black pepper, and olive oil.
This is a great opportunity to try a new vegetable from your market. What are some creative flavors you’ve never tried before? Fennel and mint? Daikon radish and arugula? Summer squash with watercress?
Here are a couple of recipes for definitely-not-run-of-the-mill salads:
Bok Choy Apple Slaw
Prep time: 7 minutes
6 stalks bok choy (about 1/2 head), thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 granny smith apple, sliced
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons honey or brown rice syrup
salt and black pepper to taste
1. First make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and whisking well.
2. Chop all the salad ingredients, leaving the apples until last. Mix in a salad bowl.
3. Toss salad with half the dressing. Add additional dressing if desired.
4. Eat immediately, or chill for up to one hour and then add the apples just before eating.
Asian Watercress Salad
Prep time: 7 minutes
1 bunch washed watercress
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup baked tofu
1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2/3 tablespoons plum vinegar or other vinegar
1. Tear watercress into pieces.
2. Mix with carrots in a salad bowl.
3. Drizzle sesame oil and vinegar over salad and toss.
4. Dice tofu into bite-size strips.
5. Serve in individual salad bowls, sprinkle tofu on top of each and serve.