Updated: Aug 12
Spring is when nature really loves to show off. From fresh produce to blooming flowers, everything seems brighter (and better of course) when the season rolls around. It only makes sense to take advantage of all the flavorful bounty of in-season produce.
The following salad features the very best that spring has to offer, from zesty veggies to sweet peas and fragrant herbs. Whether for lunch, a side dish, or as a main course, this spring salad is welcome at any meal.
The salad I'm sharing with you today is just right for a summer vegan lunch that is very filling, loaded with flavor and bursting with health benefits. Crunchy raw zucchini and carrots beautifully assist in harmonizing all the flavors that make up this salad. It is a colorful and complete meal on one plate that is easy and quick to make too.
If you scroll through my website by categories, you will notice "the salad" category has a lot to offer. I love salads, love seasonal produce and love variety. Never have I understood the people who eat merely from only one category of food. I crave VARIETY! Salad is incredibly versatile and is never BORING!!!
Check out this page for my salad collection. You may find something that you have never considered. Eating vegetables can be fun! Eating veggies regularly will make you crave them! A veggie addiction is the best kind of addiction. Healthy eating is the only way to go.
HOW I BECAME A SALAD LADY?
At my church, St. James Orthodox, after each liturgy we have what is called a common meal, and it is also referred to as "coffee hour". I don't know why the priest gave it this name, because quite often it's not just coffee along with a few pastries, but it is instead a whole feast of delicious foods. Mostly our common meal or rather "coffee hour" means the breaking of a fast, which means no nourishment after the prior evening's meal. Therefore, people are hungry and food that is mostly very filling is preferred so not too many folks think about salads at that point. But I tend to think about salads, and realize their importance, even after a fast! So, it is often that I bring some sort of salad to share with others. Sharing a meal is a beautiful tradition and is meant to enhance and encourage fellowship, which strengthens our church family.
With my desire to share a meal with my church family and wanting to provide fresh, beautiful ingredients, I became known the salad lady; the lady who always seems to bring a SALAD!
Last month, we had a women's retreat (during Great Lent). It was very natural for me to bring a salad for this event. During this period of time, we mostly eat a vegan style diet with a little bit of shellfish. Most folks follow this type of diet but of course it does depend on health conditions too. Salads can be a powerhouse of nutrition providing you with necessary vitamins and nutrients especially during the fast season when you are omitting other foods from your diet.
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS SALAD?
I have to tell you; it isn't necessary to purchase a spiralizer. I have a confession; I am not a gadget girl!!! Less is best for me: a chef's knife and a potato peeler are all I needed to make this beautiful salad.
Veggies - the more the better, I love to incorporate a lot of greens in this salad, because gives me spring feelings, plus my body naturally this time of the year always asks for richer in folate acid foods.
Herbs - again the more variety the better. Don't be afraid to experiment with herbs such as fresh tarragon, basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, scallions and even thyme, why not? If you have a picky eater, finely chop the herbs and then it is easy to incorporate them into the salad! Some people can't tolerate the fact that herbs are in their salad.
CASHEW - CITRUS VINAIGRETTE
May seem like it's a lot of ingredients for this dressing, but there is a big chance you already have some of them in your pantry and fridge. There is nothing super exotic about this dressing, but all the ingredients work together and don't overpower each other. Not only that, but each ingredient is a superfood, which creates a fresh and very nutritious dense vinaigrette that not only makes your salad sing but also feeds your gut in the best way.
WHAT IS NUTRITIONAL YEAST?
Nutritional yeast (called “nooch”) is a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is an inactive type of yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses.
Once the fermentation process has completed, the yeast is harvested, washed, pasteurized, dried and packaged. It’s available in flakes, granules or powder form and is sprinkled over dishes or used to add texture along with an umami cheesy flavor to soups and sauces. Also, it can be used to thicken sauces and dressings.
Yellow in color, nutritional yeast is often used as a condiment due to its deep savory taste and health benefits. It’s filled with B vitamins, zinc, etc.
Don’t try putting nutritional yeast in your next batch of bread; it's not going to work. But instead use as an addition to your morning porridge, salads, or vegan cheesy dishes such as Vegan, Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese with Annatto Seeds
HOW TO SOAK CASHEWS AND WHY IS IT NECESSARY?
While raw nuts are an extremely nutritious food, this careful preparation is key in order to unlock the maximum absorption potential. Even though my family does not follow a vegan diet, we are big lovers of nuts and seeds. Through my blog I mention many times HOW important it is to soak your nuts, grains (not all) and seeds. The benefits of soaking your nuts and seeds include increased enzyme activity, greater absorption of the food's nutrients. One more terrific reason to soak nuts is that many nuts will have a much more appealing taste after they are soaked and rinsed. I'm very old fashioned, so when it comes to the modern fast way of preparing and consuming food, I believe this is nothing but a disaster for our generation. According to Dr. Weston Price, author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, nutrition foundation metabolic disease is rising through the roof.
Therefore, take time to soak your cashews and experience the full benefits of these wonderful nuts.
My method for soaking cashews, which has never resulted in slimy cashews:
Place whole cashews in a large glass bowl.
Add enough filtered warm water to cover it.
Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic salt for every cup of cashews.
Soak uncovered for 3 hours and then promptly drain.
This method applies for all kinds of recipes with cashews; other nuts need to be soaked for 6 hours like almonds and walnuts. If you like to snack on them as they are, please consider spreading the nuts on cookie sheets and thoroughly drying them in a 250 °F (121 °C) oven for about 6 hours. Do not use a dehydrator.
Let's make it...
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Making time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Served: 8 portions
Ingredients for the zucchini salad
3 zucchinis, spiralized (discard the middle or use in other recipes)
1 carrot, spiralized
1 cup thinly sliced red onion.
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper.
1 cup cherry tomatoes (or raisin tomatoes if you can find them)
1 cup mixed olives
1 (10-ounce) spring mix (or greens of your choice)
1/2 cup herbs chopped (I used parsley in the video, but cilantro is an excellent choice) and 1/2 cup chives, chopped.
Ingredients for the zucchini salad dressing
1/2 cup cashews, soaked (see notes above)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (with "mother")
1 lime (juice only)
1 lemon (juice only)
2 tablespoons tahini
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 big clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon pink salt
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped (1 teaspoon dried)
Drizzle olive oil as a garnish to complete the platter of salad. This is optional!
Place-soaked cashews in the blender cup, add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, lemon and lime juices, honey, tahini, nutritional yeast flakes, olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano and salt. Process until creamy.
Add dressing to the bowl with salad and toss to coat. Toss all veggies except the bedding of the salad. In my case it was a spring mix. Use spinach if you like or really any greens.
Plate your salad by first using your greens as the bedding and add the tossed veggies.
Drizzle with olive oil if you like, this step is optional, but does give you a glossy and more eye appealing salad platter. Remember we are eating with our eyes first! Salad should be fun to eat, "joy" vs "have to do".
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