While I know how important fresh veggies are, I am not ready to go to a raw food diet. . . I know cooked veggies are good, but the heat does kill some of the phytonutrients. Simply put, fresh is always better. My question is: how many salads can you eat without dying of boredom. Which means, of course, that I am always trying new ideas and combinations to keep myself entertained.
Last week we were in our local health food store and happened upon bulk dried cranberries. I like cranberries a lot, but they are almost always preserved with lots and lots of sugar. In moderation they add great taste but very little nutrition. Once you dry them the abundant Vitamin C content (the only reason to eat them raw) is eradicated and what you have left is a good source of potassium. I am not exactly sure that they qualify as a whole food plant-based food in the first place and adding sugar would probably totally disqualify them. Admittedly the sugar improves the very sour flavor but takes them from being nutrition neutral to actively nutritional “bad guys”. Which is why I haven’t eaten them in years.
These, however, were preserved using apple juice instead of sugar. Score!! We bought five pounds and I have been using them in baking experiments, granola and with hot cereal and salads. They still aren’t exactly a recommended food, but they are a nice addition to my salad repertoire.
Here is my favorite. Very simple. After all, ’tis the season, and the colors are perfect:
Holiday Red and Green Salad
- Assemble in a bowl:
- 1/2 lb of baby spinach (washed and towel dried)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- Create a light dressing by blending (with food processor or immersion blender); the secret is to make sure it is blended well and to use it immediately:
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use the best quality you can find)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- Pinch of salt
- Add 2-4 tablespoons of water or cranberry juice
- Pour dressing over salad and toss
My great powers of rationalization lead me to believe that the nutritional values in the spinach more than make up for the deficits in the cranberries. What do you think?