As good (for you) as it gets

As a vegan, and mostly raw foodist, one tends to spend a lot of time convincing people that giving up meat and dairy does not equate to living on a diet of salads, or carrot sticks. We eat a rich and varied diet of delicious plant-based foods, drawing on all the world’s cuisines. This can range from the simple to the very elaborate. If you have a look at Matthew Kenney’s book, Entertaining in the Raw (SA link), the stunning raw creations in it are clearly not intended for the novice cook.

Yet despite all of this wonderful, gourmet raw (and I won’t even start talking about cooked vegan) cuisine, sometimes, we do eat salads. Quite often, in fact. But these are not those sad iceberg lettuce and 2 cucumber slices affairs that pass for salads at many restaurants. These are delicious, nutrient-rich (to borrow Gena of Choosing Raw‘s term) salads with a diverse array of ingredients in them. The idea is for the salad to be nutritious as well as appealing– visually, and to the palate, in terms of both tastes and textures.

Here’s a salad I had for lunch recently… I’m afraid it doesn’t have a name, but feel free to suggest one.

Raw meal-sized salad

I don’t think the picture really does it justice, but the list of ingredients speaks for itself. I had the salad in a nice big bowl, and was more than satisfied afterwards. I especially loved the combination of the saltiness of the nori, the creaminess of the dressing and the various kinds of greens, soft baby spinach, crunchy red cabbage and slightly bitter beet greens. Yum!

4 kinds of greens- baby spinach, beet greens, romaine/cos lettuce and red cabbage (about 2 cups in total)

1 sheet of nori (cut into strips)

1/4 cup sprouted lentils

1 small carrot, shredded

1/2 small cucumber, sliced

1/2 bell pepper (red or yellow), sliced thin

1 crumbled raw lentil/sunflower seed burger (recipe here)

Kalahari salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tahini-herb dressing

These measurements are approximate, as I just threw everything into my mini blender. Play around with them to suit your taste.

2 Tbsp tahini

1/4 cup water (or more as needed)

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp hemp seed oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp fresh parsley

1 Tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro

Instructions: blend all ingredients until smooth.

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