Today I would like to share with you guys one of our salad recipes that I make often in the winter.
We always liked salad but after reading "Eat to Live" and "The End of Dieting" by Dr Joel Fuhrman we liked it even more and our portions got bigger and bigger. We eat two large bowls of salad almost every day, one for lunch, one for dinner.
According to Dr Fuhrman, who bases the foundation of his healthy diet on the foods rich in nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals, the more salad and vegetables you eat the more fit and healthier you get and, you also get to have more protection against many health problems and diseases. The aim is to eat one pound of raw and one pound of cooked vegetables per day. Of course, we musn't forget to consume a good amount of legumes, fruits and also some raw nuts and seeds on a daily basis according to Fuhrman's nutritarian diet.
I recommend the book not only to those who want to get fıt but also those who would like to have protection against heart disease, who suffer from high cholesterol, high pressure, diabetes... etc. We experienced very positive effects on our health. Stefano, my husband lost 15 kg in a little more than a year, was able to finally quit cholesterol medication. It's been quite a while now and thanks to our lifestyle change he managed to keep fit. He got rid of the vicious cycle which was led by yo-yo dieting.
I didn't have much of a problem with my weight although I admit that I often felt tired. I noticed that I feel more energetic and I hardly catch flu recently. I also read many success stories of people who managed to quit their high pressure, cholesterol even diabetes medications thanks to the change they've made to a whole food plant based lifestyle.
If you too are one of us, who prefer to solve/prevent health problems by natural ways, healthy nutrition, and lifestyle, the books of Dr Fuhrman can lead you the way.
Before the salad recipe I'd like to share with you a few tips which may save you some time and effort while preparing your salads.
As you know, lettuce requires a lot of washing and good amount of chopping. Here is what I do in short. I wash all the lettuce I have in the fridge, which would be enough for us for the next 3 days. After drying and chopping I put them in zipper bags and store in the fridge. This saves me a lot of work when I need lettuce for my salad. You may ask "But wouldn't it be better to wash and chop our lettuce close to serving time from a nutrient perspective. Well, it most certainly would! However, as a person who has been trying to eat in a healthy manner I've reached this conclusion: when something is not practical enough application fails. No matter how motivated you feel about a healthy diet, sooner or later you don't feel like washing, drying, chopping lettuce all day.
If I am to store some prewashed and cut lettuce in the fridge I cut leaves by knife, I find it less bruising.
I often use a minimum of 4 types of green - red leaf varieties. Using different colored leaves enrichen your salad as nutrient-wise and it also looks so pretty and appetizing.
My lettuce selection vary depending on the season and what is freshly available at the market. I pick them from the freshest and best looking varieties available at the moment. Some of our favourites are Romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce, curly endive, canasta lettuce, arugula, radicchio, iceberg, scarola lettuce... etc.
Even though I give the amounts for each ingredient below as I always do, they are mostly exemplary. You can change up to your needs. You can use different lettuces due to the season and what you may find in your own farmer's market.
Ingredients (for 1):
120 g green - red lettuce mixture(*)
50 g Granny Smith apple
30 g fennel
30 g cucumber
20 g arugula
2 radishes (including leaves)
30 g carrot
1 tsp raw or lightly toasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp raw or lightly toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp freshly toasted flax seeds
1/2 tsp lightly toasted sesame seeds
1/2 - 1 tsp granulated onion (or 1 tbsp thinly sliced scallion)
(*) In this salad I used Romaine, gentilina, Iceberg and radicchio lettuce.
Washing, chopping and storage:
- Separate lettuce into leaves and wash thoroughly.
- Dry them with salad spinner and transfer onto clean kitchen towel.
- Chop with scissors or a sharp knife.
- If you intend to prepare salad for the next couple of days as I am doing, wipe lettuce gently pressing with a clean kitchen towel. Fill them into zipper bags. I put around 400 - 500 g of lettuce in 6 L zipper bags of Ikea.
- Place two pieces of paper towel inside zipper bag, one on the top, one at the bottom. Press the air out gently and zip it. Store in the fridge.
Fennel and Apple Salad:
- Put chopped lettuce in a bowl.
- Peel apple. Cut into small pieces or thin slices. Add into salad bowl..
- Peel and slice cucumber. And into salad bowl.
- Add arugula into the bowl and mix all. (This way we stop apple from turning yellow).
- Cut fennel into thin slices and add into the bowl. (In the photos you'll see that I am using mandolin, it's not a must obviously).
- Decorate your salad with thinly sliced turnip and carrot.
- Add raw or lightly toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Finally, add freshly toasted flax seeds and sesame seeds. (Toast flax seeds lightly in a pan for a very short while. They pop as they are toasted so it may get messy. You'll need to cover with a lid when you hear them crackle. But be extra careful and quick to toast because they tend to burn very fast)
- You can sprinkle your salad with dried granulated onion and balsamic vinegar.
- We don't dress our salad with oil. Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and flax seed are high in fat. They are also packed with micronutrients.
- We don't add salt in our salad.
I have a confession to make: It wasn't hard for us at all to stop using oil and salt in our salads but I won't be able to say the same thing for the cheese. It took a while. I am going to be honest here. I always had a love affair with cheese since my childhood and most of the time our salads included strong cheeses like feta, Roquefort, Gorgonzola piccante etc. Even after quitting oil and salt in our salad, I kept using cheese. It was very little, even 10 grams but it was there. You may even see a few crumbs in the photos which I took almost year ago. Happily, I can now say that we overcame our addiction and since last spring we don't use it anymore in our salad. I guess I will always like the taste of the cheese, but I have to say that now I can taste better all the other flavors. In fact, the cheese, like salt, has the side effect of covering the flavor of the other ingredients. Once you stop using it, after a while your taste buds improve and vegetables and fruits taste just better..