Winter's wrath has begun to leave the Philadelphia area and I could not be happier. I am finally able to give much needed love and attention to my yard, which was a little neglected by the previous owner. I've spent almost all of my free time pulling out tremendously ugly plants, cutting very overgrown bushes, pulling out vine-weeds that tangled themselves all over the very overgrown bushes, and pulling up grass to extend the garden bed(aka the hardest thing in the world to do). There is still about a million more things to do before I can relax and be happy. But for now, I am trying to embrace and enjoy the time spent working to get my property the way I want it. It's a bonding experience of sorts.
Another advantage of the warmer weather is trading in soups, stews, and stir-fries for gigantic salads. As cliche as it may sound, I still love eating salads more than any other meal. What I've learned over the years, though, is how to make them fun. And when a salad is fun to eat, it makes it even more delicious and healthy at the same time.
The first trick to making a salad more fun is to first gather as many different vegetables as you can find and then chop them as small as possible. That way, you get a little bit of everything with each bite. I try to cut everything small enough to use a spoon, but sometimes my patience does not allow that much precision. Secondly, I add as many "fun stuff" as possible. This provides the salad with different tastes and textures. Some of my favorites include hearts of palm, olives, raisins, walnuts, chickpeas, mango, and roasted peppers. Lastly, the salad is tossed very thoroughly before adding a delicious and healthful dressing and mixing again. The ending result is my dinner of choice just about every night. I love adding a hefty sprinkling of nutritional yeast to the top, then reapplying after I eat each layer. No B-12 shortage in this little body.
I started using this particular salad dressing last summer when I read the book Thrive. I love the idea of pureed fruit as the main component because it's delicious while still being very healthy at the same time. (There's nothing worse than making a gigantic salad and then adding in a dressing full of oil and fat. It kind of defeats the purpose, in my opinion.) The ending result is a giant salad, but it's filling without being heavy. And that is the perfect feeling to have when you go outside to trim overgrown bushes immediately following dinner.
Welcome Spring Salad
serves one as a meal, or more if sharing
2 large handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
1 inch slice of purple cabbage, chopped
1 c cauliflower, finely chopped
1 c broccoli, finely chopped
4 baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 slice red onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 mango, chopped
1/4 c chickpeas
1/4 c hearts of palm, chopped
1/4 c fire roasted red peppers(from a jar)
handful of walnuts, chopped
3 black olives, sliced
sprinkling of raisins
mango salad dressing, recipe below
nutritional yeast, to top
Combine all ingredients(except for dressing and nutritional yeast) in a large bowl(I use my largest mixing bowl) and toss until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Add salad dressing(about two large spoonfuls) and toss again until everything is evenly coated. Top with nutritional yeast. Enjoy!
Mango Salad Dressing
adapted from Thrive
2 large mangoes, cut into cubes
1/4-1/2 jalapeno, chopped
juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.