Creating filling & fun salads
This lesson is about GREENS, dark, leafy, and everything in between. Getting to know the great variety of greens will enable you to find ways to add them into all sorts of meal, morning, noon and night. This is BIG IMPACT for your health and a really easy way to integrate more veggies. In this lesson you will learn:
- 8 types of greens you can use in your food plan
- What each type tastes like, is best used for and best cooking practices, and flavor pairings
- My salad bowl formula
- 8 new salads for you to try and practice with (with linked recipes for each salad)
- 3 juice recipes using your greens
- How to incorporate them into a daily plant based menu plan
Curly Leaf Kale
Curly leaf kale is found in green and purple varieties. It is fairly tough and will work best when sauteed, steamed, or at least massaged as a raw salad. It comes on a large ribbing and the leaves need to be torn off.
Mixed Leafy Greens
Mixed leafy greens may come all green or mixed with dark purple leaves as well. This variety is soft and ready to eat as a raw salad instantly. Avoid cooking this variety, but rather use it as a main green lettuce component, or here as a nice supplement to the rest of your salad bowl.
Spinach! The green of Popeye's super strength! Please don't eat out of a can like he did! Spinach is so dimensional when it comes to recipes. It works great to pop into a bowl to make a salad, or as a juice or smoothie ingredient. It has a mild flavor and pairs well with most anything and is sturdy enough for a quick saute or addition to soups too.
Romaine lettuce is fairly well-known and is full of water, crunchy and is great for fresh salads, as a bread/wrap substitute OR one of my alternative faves, grilled romaine salads! You'll see fresh, larger individual heads for sale, or packages of romaine hearts (smaller versions) or packages of the bigger size. I recommend buying these in the larger packages (think Costco here) because it goes fast, I usually eat an entire bundle by myself!
I'm sure you have heard of or had a Chinese Chicken Salad, and while I'm not sure if that's an Asian dish or American one, napa cabbage is the lettuce variety for this type of salad. It's pretty sturdy, buy when you slice it finely, you can definitely eat it raw without problems, it pairs well with bell peppers, and lighter non-starchy vegetables like snap peas, peas, sprouts, cabbage and even some fruits. It will be a lighter almost white color when you see it in the stores.
Not to be confused with curly kale as in salad #1! Lacinito kale is a bit softer in nature and will have a less significant rib to pull the leaves from. It also works well fresh, just by tearing the leaves off the stem, and doesn't have to be massaged as much or steamed or cooked like curly kale. It also has a bit of a milder flavor. I love just tossing this variety in a bowl with all different kinds of veggies, usually some cooked and leaving the kale raw.
Ready to get your greens straight into your cells? Juicing is a super effective way to heal and reduce inflammation. Here are three of my favorite and most simple green juice recipes. Have as a pre-breakfast drink, or an afternoon snack!
- Celery, Parsley, Cucumber: weight loss tonic the cucumber (which your body sees as healthy glucose opens up the liver and then the parsley & celery go in there and PURGE toxins!)
- Straight celery: head over to medical medium who channeled this message from Spirit, it EXACTLY matches the stomach acid your body produces naturally. Which means: it helps you break down your foods much better and is great for reflux.
- Power greens, red apple, cucumber, lemon, ginger, celery, parsley: this one has a few more ingredients but hits all the big players and tastes amazing.
#1 USE VARIOUS GREENS
As you can see just using greens doesn't make a nutrient dense salad! One key aspect of the formula is to rotate through your various greens, you don't have to go and get all of them this week, just make it a point to get familiar with new varieties because they ALL have different physical, emotional and spiritual properties that your body will love to be accessing?
#2: MAKE IT A POINT TO USE ANOTHER 2-3 VEGETABLES ON YOUR GREENS
When you look at the vegetables you have in your kitchen to work with, look at them like this:
Does this veggie stand up to cooking or is it better suited to be raw?
And then, what kind of cooking method would work best for this veggie if it can be cooked and I like it that way?
Here's what I mean, certain veggies do better in different methods, so in this lesson I tried to explain that about the GREENS although there are other veggies on salads right?
- Cucumbers: raw, definitely raw! always.
- Carrots: shredded works raw, baby carrots just thrown on a salad are not elegant, bite size and won't blend well, so you could roast them or steam them, chop them up to cook faster and steam or saute
- Celery: raw and MAYBE sauteed, but that is best for soups
- Tomatoes: raw
- Fennel: this is a good example, can be raw or roasted/sauteed
- Red/Orange/Yellow bell peppers: diced work well raw, you can roast whole peppers but we'll get to that in the roasting lesson
- Cauliflower/Broccoli: personally I do not like these raw in salads at all, actually I don't like them raw at all. They are powerful veggies and can be harder to digest/break down just because they are so active. So cauliflower: best roasted; cauliflower rice: sauteed; Broccoli florets: steamed, you can also roast but it cooks faster than cauliflower and can easily burn; saute if you chop it up more. AND if you but the fresh heads of broccoli as opposed to the florets or the frozen kind in the bag, then make sure you thinly slice the outer edges of the stalk with a sharp knife, then chop that up as well, it's super good in stir-frys!
- Brussel sprouts: roasted is amazing, and then if you chop them up, or buy them shredded sauteeing them is amazing too, again, not great raw.
I think that was all the veggies in the recipes in this lesson, so go by that and then create your blends or use mine! But that's why/how they work in to recipes the way they do!
#3: FRESH HERBS ARE GAME CHANGERS
You likely saw this on the master grocery guide, but I always recommend having AT LEAST fresh cilantro and parsley in your house at all times. Why? Because they work in every dish easily. Salads, juices, smoothies, stir-frys, soups, anything. AND they are super powerful.
Cilantro: think heavy metal binder and finder. Parsley think: my liver LOVES this so much!
Chop them up and toss them in and mix through, put/use fresh herbs on last, not during cooking or they'll break down and lose their nutrient potential.
#4: OPTIONAL FRUIT
You'll notice I don't have a TON of recipes with fruit in my salads, but I do when the flavors pair well. This is something you'll learn more as you work with all the recipes, but especially in VEGAN salads without animal protein, fruits can be a great complement. If you have animal protein, I don't like it because it's just another food group to digest and your body always works on the animal protein first, so delayed absorption of carbs of other veggies/fruits can ferment unless you have a healthy gut.
Here's a few fruit/veggie flavor pairings I love:
- Apple/brussel sprouts
- Fennel/orange segments
- Beet/orange segments
- Bibb lettuce/pear
- Bell peppers/mangoes
#5: DRESS IT UP
The right way of course!
Easy ways to find/use dressings:
- Organic salsa (no sugar)
- Plain avocado: smash it in!
- Marinara sauce
- Hummus, especially the flavored kinds, like HOPE brand kale pesto :)
- Primal Kitchen dressings, I love especially the vegan ranch and the avocado oil one!
- Use your microplane (zester) and zest fresh lemon/lime/orange (make sure you wash the skin first please) and then cut it in half and squeeze the fresh juice
- Specialty vinegars: find a spice shop or specialty store and look for all kinds of cool varieties like Fig Balsamic, different fruit flavors and ask the people that work there what it pairs best with (it likely will already tell you this on the tag/label)
The point of this program is to get you hands on in your kitchen integrating one thing at a time to get you very familiar with new foods. So the primary ingredient this week is greens because they are highly active and HUGELY needed in your body and super easy to work with.
1. Choose TWO new leafy greens to use in your recipes this week that you have NEVER used before. Always a spinach person? Get kale. Doing romaine for every salad? Get arugula or mixed leafy greens. Swap them up because you will expose your body and cells to new nutrient profiles with new varieties of greens (and any veggies and fruits).
2. Create at LEAST TWO of the salad bowl recipes above or in the recipes section or follow the formula to make your own. You will benefit by making a double or triple serving of both so that you have leftovers to have for a snack, a to go lunch, or just part of a prepped ahead dinner. NOTE: you can use different proteins that are approved or your vegan options or no protein at all.
3. Have a smoothie and/or a juice each day to get your nutrient infusion going FAST. Smoothies and juices are high impact and low digestive cost for your body, meaning you get HUGE benefit and it doesn't make your body work hard for it. Again, for you busy bees: You can prep a few days or a full week of smoothies ahead of time. On Sunday, get out your blender, and get busy. Pick at least TWO of the smoothies in your recipe area OR make your own using the smoothie formula.
4. The rest of the week, focus on whole foods based meals and just follow your program guidelines and the NO list. Doing this is great progress! Post pictures of your recipes in the group and let me and the group know what you like/don't like about your mixtures or ask any questions you have!