Thursday, May 07, 2009

Building a Colorful Meal—Bernadette’s “Everything In The Garden Dinner Salad”

Day 7
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
Are you familiar with PHYTOCHEMICALS? They are the compounds in plants that often give them their beautiful colors and fragrant smells, many of which contribute greatly to our health. Although there are thousands of these chemicals, only a fraction of them have been studied but you may have heard of the benefits of some of the more popular ones:

Carotenoids are strong antioxidants. Carotenoids include lycopene (in tomatoes and watermelon) and lutein (found in spinach and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables). There has been much written about lutein and its role in preventing macular degeneration and perhaps reducing the development of cataracts.

Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties and can prevent the growth of cancer. Quercetin, a well known flavonoid, is found in apples, green tea and onions. It’s a natural anti-histamine and is also known to have anti-inflammatory qualities. Anthocyanins are another flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties and are found in strawberries, cherries, cranberries and raspberries.

Saponins are a class of phytochemicals that can reduce cholesterol and prevent the growth of cancer cells. These are commonly found in beans and whole grains.

All of these wonderful phytochemicals are found in common fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. To get as many as I can, I try to design a menu with as many COLORS as possible. I know I’ve done a good job when I look down at a dish I’ve just prepared and see a rainbow.
My friend Bernadette Astrella is a master at creating delicious, colorful and healthy salads. I met her at a raw food potluck and I always would go straight to her salads. I asked her to share one of her recipes on the blog so here’s her “Everything in the Garden” Dinner Salad. I made it tonight and as you can see, it’s colorful, beautiful and it was very yummy. Bernadette lives in Sunnyvale, California where she is a Gourmet Raw Food Chef. She attended Living Light Culinary Arts Institute (the ONLY raw vegan culinary school in the world). She also attended Bauman College in Santa Cruz and is a Certified Nutrition Consultant.


Bernadette’s “Everything In The Garden” Dinner Salad [serves 2]
1 head Green leaf or butter lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1 shredded carrot
5 stalks of asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces on diagonal
1/3 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 red and 1/4 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 small radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 small avocado, sliced
4 white button or crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh peas
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 to 2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup alfalfa or clover sprouts

Salad Toppings
2 tablespoons of cashew pieces
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
1 – 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 – 2 tablespoons ground flax seed or hemp seed (optional)

Raspberry Date Orangegrette Dressing
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (if using frozen, thaw and use the liquid also)
1/3 packed cup of Medjool dates, soaked
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a big salad bowl. Blend the raspberries and their juice, the soaked dates, orange and lemon juice in a high speed blender until smooth. Dress the salad, salt and pepper to taste, and top with salad toppings. Serve immediately.

Menu for Day 7
This morning I made a mixed berry smoothie with all of the ingredients of the blueberry smoothie (posted on May 3, 2009) but I added a cup of fresh strawberries and 2 tablespoons of oat bran. I’m also going to make a several cups of fresh juice (carrot, celery, beet, apple and ginger) and sip it during the day for a snack. For lunch, I’ll make a big fruit salad topped with raw pecans. Dinner will be a large taco salad using the “meat” from the vegan soft tacos (see May 5, 2009 posting) over greens, shredded carrots, avocados and green onion dressed with the “lime chia seed dressing” posted on April 9, 2009. We still have some raw tropical chocolate truffles left over so that will surely be dessert!

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