What is a Great Salad Meal to Make?

Brenda Davis Super Salad.jpg

There is an online food revolution summit going on currently which contains life-changing health information.  The experts all seem to agree that a plant-based diet is better for human’s health.  Given everyone’s body is built differently, there is no one formula that fits all.  However, there is enough science about the higher benefits of plant protein vs. animal protein and why a vegetarian diet helps.  Risks of Diabetes are 62% lower with a healthy plant-based vegan diet from a recent study.  Heme iron from red meat, as opposed to non-heme iron from plant food, leads to increased risks of heart disease.  Experts warn that one needs to supplement with Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and Iodine if one eats a vegan diet.  In general, many of us do not eat enough fibre.

What might be a great vegetarian dish – like a perfect salad?

Here is a great recommendation from Brenda Davis, a registered dietitian.  I have never enjoyed salad quite as much as I am now. A salad is not boring and is completely fulfilling and tasty.  To kickstart a vegan diet, try this 21day program free: 21DayKickstart.org

Source: http://www.brendadavisrd.com/my-favorite-supper-salad/

My Favorite Supper Salad (Brenda Davis)

My favorite meal is salad. Seriously.  To me, a beautiful salad is a masterpiece of colour, texture and flavor.  Of course, we are not talking iceberg lettuce with a few tomatoes and cucumbers sprinkle on top; we are talking about a full, satisfying meal.  I make a giant salad that lasts up to 4 days.  Greens are torn and dressing is always on the side so the salad does not brown or wilt. Nutritionally, it doesn’t get much better than this!

This salad is a full meal deal. It provides a rainbow of color and a feast of phytochemicals. Choose organic produce, if possible. By eating it with some fat-containing food such as a seed-based salad dressing, nutrient absorption is maximized.

 

The Greens

Choose any dark greens you have on hand. Throw in some red or purple leafy vegetable for variety and color. Use about 8 cups in total – mix and match as you like. Here is a suggested combination:

 

4 cups wild, mixed greens

2 cups kale, stem removed and sliced matchstick thin

2 cups chopped radicchio or thinly sliced red or purple cabbage

 

The Veggies and Fruits

The key is to cover the rainbow in your selection. Aim for 5 color families – green, yellow-orange, pink- red, purple- blue and white-beige. Use a total of about 5 cups veggies (1 cup from each color family). Mix and match as you like or simply select 1-2 options from each color category. Here are a few suggestions:

 

Green

1 cup broccolini or broccoli florets and stems, sliced diagonally

1 cup asparagus (raw or steamed), sliced diagonally

1 cup zucchini, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally

1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas

1 cup sprouts, tightly packed (e.g. sunflower, pea or other)

1 cup fresh herbs, tightly packed (e.g. mint, basil or dill)

2 kiwi fruit, chopped

 

Yellow-Orange

1-2 yellow or orange carrots, sliced or grated

1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips

1 pint heirloom colored grape or other tomatoes

1 cup golden cauliflower florets

1 cup yellow beets (steamed or boiled), cubed

1-2 oranges or 1 grapefruit, bite sized pieces

1 mango, chopped

 

Pink-Red

1 cup watermelon radish, cut into small cubes

1 red pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 cup beets (steamed or boiled), cubed

1 cup pomegranate seeds (or seeds from one pomegranate)

1-2 cups strawberries, sliced or raspberries

1/2 cup gogi berries

 

Purple-Blue

1 purple pepper, chopped in thin 1″ strips

1-2 purple carrots, sliced or grated

1 cup purple cauliflower florets

1 cup roasted eggplant

1 cup blueberries or blackberries

 

White-Beige

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 salad turnips, sliced

1 small kohlrabi, cut in thin strips

1 small jicama, cut in thin strips

 

Plant Protein

Choose at least 1-2 protein sources for your salad. Some great options are:

6-8 oz. smoked tofu, cubed

6-8 oz. tofu, cubed and sautéed with tamari, turmeric, herbs and spices

6-8 oz tempeh, cooked

1-2 cups chickpeas or other beans

1-2 cups lentils

1 cup hummus

4-8 falafel balls or other veggie balls

 

Healthy Fats

Choose one or two healthy fat sources to help enhance nutrient absorption from your meal.

1/4 cup peanuts

1/4 cup tree nuts (e.g. pecans, walnuts, almonds)

1/4 cup seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower or hemp)

1 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup olives, whole pitted or sliced

 

Great Starches

Choose one starchy vegetable or grain to add calories and make the meal more satisfying.

1 sweet potato, steamed and cubed

1 purple or white potato, steamed and cubed

1 cup butternut squash (or other winter squash), steamed and cubed

1 cup corn

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup cooked kamut or spelt

1 cup cooked wild rice

 

Herbs

Add herbs for a boost of flavor and phytochemicals.

1/4 to 1/2 cup dill, parsley, basil or other fresh herbs

 

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables as outlined above.
  2. Place the leafy vegetables in a large bowl.
  3. Top with other colorful vegetables.
  4. Add the plant protein source and starchy choices if eating the whole salad. If saving some of the salad for another day, keep the protein source, starchy choice and avocado separate and add just before serving.
  5. Serve with a nut or seed-based dressing.

 

 

 

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Made my First Chocolate

I made myself a super healthy vegetable soup tonight with olive oil, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, onions, mushroom, and tofu, sprinkled with lots of pepper (white or black) and a bit of sea salt, and some watermelon radish on top, all in 20 minutes (courtesy of 101cookbook’s fantastic recipe).  To round off my meal tonight, I made my first chocolate!  I have been fascinated by the author of theearthdiet.org, Liana Werner-Gray, who gives a challenge to herself to eat everything that is directly produced from the earth – i.e. nothing processed – for one year, and she continues with this healthy diet.  She showed how we can make chocolate from raw.  So being a dark chocolate liker, I immediate jump to make some chocolate balls myself.  I can’t believe how easy it was – all in 10 minutes.  I had 4 tonight!

Ingredients:

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (8 tablespoonfuls) – I got the colombian dark chocolate powder from Trader Joe’s

Almond Meal (equal amount as the Cocoa Powder) – also from Trader Joe’s

Sprinkles of honey or agave nectar

Sprinkles of water

(Add a little bit of coconut oil if you like)

Flaxseed meal or coconut flakes

To 8-9 balls of chocolate:

1.  Mix the cocoa powder and the almond meal in a bowl.

2.  Sprinkle some honey and a bit of water (and coconut oil if you like)

3.  Mix with a spoon

4.  Then roll with your hands into balls.

5.  Roll the balls into flaxseed meal or coconut flakes to add extra nutrition and taste.

Freeze or refrigerate for 15 minutes (my own version). This can be stored in the fridge for a week.

Enjoy this delicious, healthy, raw chocolate, with hardly any sugar and saturated fat and absolutely no dairy!

chocolate ball

My New Favourite Summer Dish – Pumpkin Salad

I often head back to my home for lunch, as I live a couple of blocks away from work. Nice, isn’t it?  I have been searching for the healthiest and quickest ways of cooking lunch.  I came across this wonderful cookbook by Donna Kelly and Tegtmeier called Virgin Vegan Everyday Recipes for Satisfying Your Appetite.  There are no lack of Vegan cookbooks around, but something about their philosophies appeal to me very much.  They are not strict vegans, but like me, they like to experiment eating more and more vegan dishes, and so they prepare many colourful yet relatively easy dishes for the readers. The ingredients are often fresh (not faux meat), and the combinations innovative.

I get an inspiration from them on a curried pumpkin salad.

Ingredients:

Chopped pumpkin (doing this the night before would have been better :-))

Coconut oil

A few cloves of garlic, chopped

Millet

Indian curry powder

Leafy, green vegetables such as kale, bak choy

Your favourite fruits (dried cranberries, or strawberries, which I used here)

Vegetable broth from her recipe here (if rushed like me, just use water with some sea salt)

Pecans for toppings

Salt and pepper for taste

Method:

Saute the garlic in coconut oil, and then cook the pumpkin in hot water with some sea salt or broth until soft. While pumpkin is cooking, add in the millet and curry powder, and let the water be absorbed by the millet.  Stir in the vegetables last – about 3-4 minutes.  After the dish is done, sprinkle dried cranberries, or in my case, chopped strawberries, and the pecans.  Mix them well together.  I enjoyed a warm salad, but this would be fantastic when eaten cold; satisfying as its own meal too.

Time taken:

25 minutes (20 minutes had the pumpkin been cut already!)

pumpkin salad

Tahini Makes Avocado and Chickpeas Taste So Good

Last night I looked at my much slimmed-down refrigerator and decided to do a light vegan supper. But I only had half a can of chickpeas and some avocados, not my usual food combination.  I have completely run out of other vegetables.  I did a quick search of “chickpea avocado” on one of my favorite vegan food blogs – Oh She Glows and what a gem I found – tahini chickpea avocado salad!  Thank God I possess a jar of lovely organic tahini and some lemons!  Her recipe can be found here.

I did not use my blender for the salad dressing and just threw all the dressing ingredients together and mashed the avocado before pouring in the chickpeas. I used apples instead of chopped veggie.  The salad still tastes really nice!

(photo courtesy of Oh She Glows)