Your body is constantly detoxifying — literally taking out the toxins. The problem is that it is often overwhelmed by inflammatory foods.
By eating more of these salads more regularly, you displace inflammatory foods on your plate and in your diet. Loaded with nutrients to help remove toxins and waste, these salads will aid your digestion and elimination.
General guidelines for a nutrient dense salad that supports your body’s natural detoxifying processes:
- Shred a whole cabbage (or broccoli or Brussels sprouts) in the food processor. (Or buy it already shredded).
- You can mix with leafy greens — lettuce, spinach or arugula — especially if these nutrient dense salads are new for you
- Make it a complete meal adding hummus, canned salmon or sardines, or other proteins and fats (avocado, nuts, seeds). You need good fats to absorb essential vitamins A, D, E and K, and to obtain essential fatty acids necessary for building cells, hormones and fueling your heart and brain. You need the protein as building blocks for your tissues, enzymes, antibodies, as well as insulin and glucagon that regulate your blood sugar.
- Or make it part of dinner alongside meatloaf, chicken or other protein side dish
- BONUS – Use what you need for the salad. Save the remainder to use as a base for a grain bowl or stir fry. Make a lunch wrap with hummus or guacamole. Add it to soup.
One of my superpowers is crazy delicious, nutritious salads.
My kryptonite is that I can’t seem to write down the combinations and concoctions that come out of my kitchen every day.
So here are 4 recipes to use as building blocks for 2023. Rich in nutrients – vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals oh my! – you will also improve your immune system.
Use them as building blocks for meal planning throughout the year. As a start, pick one of these salads to make each week for the next four weeks.
CAVEAT! – Every body is unique. A mega dose of salad may not be best for everyone. If you have gut health issues all these raw veggies may be too much for your system. This is where mindful eating and a Food and Mood Diary come in. Eat a small serving. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel. For at least 5 – 7 days write down what you ate and how your body feels.
- Use dark leafy greens (spinach, arugula, red leaf lettuce) instead of kale
- Shredded beets or apple instead of carrots
- Other nuts instead of almonds
- because of the collard greens – so important to expand beyond eating the same greens ones over and over. Each one has different nutrients though they may look the same
- for the combination of beans and quinoa, an easy and powerful way to boost nutrient-density!
- Add green onion or some finely sliced or chopped red onion; the synergy of greens and onions boosts your immune system
- Use other dark leafy greens instead of collard greens – Swiss chard or kale
- Switch out black-eyed peas for other beans (black beans, cannellini beans, even lentils)
- Use other grains (brown rice, barley, faro)
- Add herbs – parsley, cilantro are easy options
I share this one for the roasted vegetables and the pesto. Easy to make with leftover roasted vegetables and store bought pesto. You can use any herb to make pesto; cilantro helps remove heavy metals and protects against oxidative stress. Make a double batch of pesto and use it:
- On roasted fish, on chicken breast
- On a wrap with roasted veggies, chicken, fish or even steak
- Mix into goat cheese, for snack with veggies and seed crackers
- Add to a vinaigrette and make it into a salad dressing
- Change out the veggies. I use sweet potatoes rather than fingerling because that’s what I usually have
- Add additional roasted veggies; I always double up when roasting any vegetable to use in salads or wraps later
- You can skip the rice unless you have leftovers, or use other leftover grains: quinoa and barley are my favorites
I share this salad for its Brussels sprouts. Often people who don’t like cooked Brussels sprouts discover they like them raw. And sharing for the almonds too. Almost all my salads have nuts or seeds -one of the most nutrient dense food categories – and loaded with vital brain nutrients.
- Having highlighted the Brussels sprouts, it seems contradictory so suggest another cruciferous vegetable, but a) they are not always available and b) there are only so many Brussels sprouts salad even the most enthusiast eater can eat – so, switch them out for shredded cauliflower or broccoli
- Blueberries are a summer food, so in winter use pomegranate or shredded beet
- Use dried cranberries instead of raisins
- Any nut instead of almonds (or seeds — pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
30 Healthy Salads – Dinner at the Zoo
A fabulous collection of delicious, nutritious salads – make one each week and you have 34 weeks of salads.
Let’s make it a delicious, nutritious year!
Which salad will you start with?
Updated from January 2022 post