We’re on a bit of a mission to raise the profile of the salad, not that such a thing exists with the same clarity achieved by many other nouns. ‘Salad’ after all can be a limp and uninspiring affair, or it can be a panoply of colour, texture, taste and some of the best nourishment you can fit on a plate .. or in a bowl. Our passion, not surprisingly lies with the latter. And the reason why? Primarily because eating a salad a day, or several per week can really make a difference: our bodies love them! All that we need to ensure is that we keep them varied and tasty so that we get to love eating them.
With a range of edible plants to choose from, it’s pretty much impossible to construct a salad that isn’t nutrient rich, not just because it will have some quantity of all three macronutrients and fibre, plus a good range of minerals and vitamins, but it will also include phytochemicals. These are plant chemicals that are super exciting, in part because we still haven’t discovered all there is to know about them, but we do already know they have special powers, and it really shouldn’t be surprising that people who eat diverse and frequent salads often improve their health, from whatever their starting point was.
So here’s a suggestion or two from us:
Check to see what fresh produce you have in your fridge, your kitchen, your garden! Most of them can be included raw in a salad, everything from leaves, herbs, fruits (the obvious ones) and fruits such as tomatoes and avocados to root vegetables with the exception of regular potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be eaten raw (recommendation: slice them thinly) but the white potato we’re most familiar with can be toxic eaten raw. However, it can be steamed so still needn’t be excluded from a salad, especially if a more substantial meal is required. You may have the basis of a salad right there. If not, a shopping trip may be necessary. We recommend organic or unsprayed produce for all sorts of reasons but in particular because it’s hard to believe that chemicals that are capable of killing visible ‘pests’ might prove completely harmless to the microscopic bacteria in our gut. A salad will feed those friendly bacteria; why not pull out all the stops to allow them to flourish?
The deal breaker for sustained salad eating may lie in the dressing, or rather range of dressings. There’s so much more to dressings than olive oil and vinegar, in fact why not try a few ‘no oil’ varieties? Nuts and seeds can be the fat in a dressing whilst at the same time providing many more nutrients than those found in the extracted oil. It’s a win win!
It’s all well and good to talk enthusiastically about salads, but what about some ideas for actually making a few? We have a couple of mini demos on our YouTube Channel; there’s Annette making a ‘no oil’ dressing here, and Graham putting together a spicy orange dressing right here. And if that’s not enough, and you happen to have a mango handy, you might enjoy this one:
A handful of chopped mango
A small (or large) piece of ginger
2 tsp lime juice (add more if you like it)
1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds
2 thick slices of courgette
1 tbsp water (adjust for required consistency)
Blitz everything in a small blender. To see the one we use for this, have a look at one of the videos on our channel (see the links above).
Enjoy making and eating salads this summer!
~ Annette & Graham Henry