Updated: Apr 14
Summer is here in full speed and already it is hot. It’s important to stay cool and hydrated during this time of year and eating light meals is ideal. Today I will show you how to prepare a great classic summer salad complimented with homemade poppy seed dressing, and includes water - dense fruits, berries, and vegetables that help to keep you hydrated.
Eating veggies, and particularly raw is a good thing for most people, especially during the hot months.
Please check here a few healthy recipes that you may like to make in the future:
My story of introducing American salads into my diet.
How often do you hear, "I had my veggies for today" just after someone has eaten a salad. What sense does this even mean?
My mother-in-law, who always eats a salad for lunch or dinner, follows this philosophy. But is every salad equally healthy? What is the key to absorbing high levels of nutrients from your salad?
There are so many veggies, fruits and berries that require fat-soluble vitamins in order for nutrients to be absorbed. She likes to use fat-free or low-fat dressing that comes in bagged salad or from individually bottled varieties. Do consuming processed salads with these kinds of dressings count as "I had my veggies for today?"
Often, I see how happy some parents are that their child can chew on carrots while dipping them into ranch dressing, masking the true vegetable flavor and consuming unhealthy fats. Salad dressings are one of the easiest things to prepare in the whole culinary world, and they pay substantial dividends in the health benefits for very little effort expended.
When I first arrived in the US, propaganda from nutritionists advising people how to dress their salads had already been set in motion for decades. They were recommending that our salads be dressed with lemon juice only or vinegar in order to avoid an excess of fats and oils in our diet. I still remember how happily my mother-in-law would tell me that she dressed her salad with only honey - balsamic vinegar.
I have to tell you, until I arrived in the US, I never saw any bottled dressing of any kind in my life. We only ate seasonal veggies lightly dressed with extra virgin sunflower oil, that's it. The acid was provided by juicy tomatoes or fermented vegetables during the winter months.
By adopting a new culture, I tried to be a true monkey, so I would go to the store and stare for an hour to watch and learn what people were buying. Then I would try to do the same thing. For the first two years of my life in the U.S., my husband and I ate pretty much all processed food, went out for dinner at least 2 times per week and sometimes even for lunch. This way of eating continued until I started developing some health issues. Please read more about it here.
This is when I went into action and began learning how to make American food from scratch. Let me tell you it was a journey, and I felt bad for my husband who had to be the taste tester for everything I prepared.
Salad dressing was the first thing I learned to make, and I have never bought a bottle since. Originally, I used many recipes from Julia Child and discovered that oil and acid proportions have to be different. I also discovered that Americans feel that the French dressings are too oily.
Store bought dressings vs. homemade.
Store bought dressings are loaded with preservatives, sugars and omega-6 oils like vegetable oil, soy, corn, canola, saffron etc. Canola oil is high in Omega-3 but research indicates that the oil contributes to vitamin E deficiency. Because canola oil goes rancid easily, it must be deodorized to hide rancidity and during this process dangerous trans fats are formed.
Almost all bottled salad dressings, particularly the low-fat varieties, contain neurotoxic MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein. These flavor additives are not always listed on the label. Ingredients listed as "natural flavors" or just the one word "spices" may contain MSG!
Like I mentioned earlier, good quality homemade dressing with trusted ingredients is easy to make. Ingredients consisting of fresh herbs, garlic, anchovies, cultured cream, raw cheeses, raw egg yolk, and homemade mayonnaise create flavorful vitamin and enzyme rich dressings that melt in your mouth.
Notes for this salad
This easy and quick salad can be whipped up in 5 minutes.
Dressing - I recommend making ahead of time, it keeps for one week or longer in your fridge.
Cheese - Use what you have on hand or whatever is your preference. I had brie and that's what I used in the video, but blue cheese, goat cheese, feta, Manchego would also work beautifully in this salad.
Nuts - Also can be changed to your own preference or use seeds instead. I used roasted walnuts. My advice to you about nuts: It is important in my opinion to soak nuts before you consume them.
Why are soaking nuts before using them important?
Nuts just like seeds, beans, and grains are whole foods that are good for you if prepared properly. These foods are loaded with phytic acid, which reduces mineral absorption, and also inhibits enzymes that we need to digest our food.
There is a problem in the modern world which is the fast preparation methods used for our food. Traditional cuisines from around the world used to soak or ferment their nuts, seeds, beans, and grains before consuming. This process not only neutralizes phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors but will also increase the vitamin content, particularly B vitamins. Tannins, complex sugars, gluten, and other difficult to digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more available for absorption.
Here is how to do it:
Cover your nuts with water 2-3 inches above; add a pinch of Celtic salt and a small splash of apple cider vinegar. Let soak for 6-12 hours, then rinse and use a dehydrator or put in the oven on low heat. Allow them to dry in order to create a nice crispness. I like to eat roasted nuts with a little bit of Celtic salt for it is the perfect snack.
Let's do it...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Making time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Serves: 2 portions
Ingredients for the Salad
1 cup strawberries, sliced.
1 cup blueberries
3-5 oz. Brie cheese, sliced.
5 oz. arugula or any other greens
1 avocado, chopped.
1 green apple, sliced.
Ingredients for the Dressing
1 1/2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
juice of one lemon
juice of one lime
3/4 cup of mayonnaise (I used homemade mayonnaise in the video)
2 Tablespoons of apple vinegar (with "mother")
1/4 cup honey (raw and local is ideal)
2 Tablespoons mustard
To make the dressing, first place all ingredients in the blender except the mayo and poppy seeds. Blend for 30 seconds.
Add the mayo and poppy seeds and blend for another 30 seconds. Pour dressing into a bottle. It should be enough to dress this salad a few times.
3. For the salad, add greens to a large mixing bowl and drizzle on a few Tablespoons of dressing and mix well.
4. Arrange the dressed greens on a serving platter and top with the remaining ingredients, and drizzle additional dressing.
Enjoy as is or serve with grilled chicken, or fish!