This is the salad you’ve been waiting for. Packed full of vitamins, nutrients, enzymes, fibre, and most importantly flavour! I could, and often do!, eat this salad for days on end. The combination of raw, crunchy, and colourful vegetables is irresistible, and the clever flavour add-ons from toasted seeds and nuts, marinated tofu, falafel, baked sweet potato, or sustainably caught seafood are literally endless. Not to mention the multitude of creamy, zesty, spicey homemade dressings you can toss through. This is a salad that won’t leave you hungry for more!
I chop up a large bowl of this salad and store without dressing in a sealed glassed container in the fridge to break out whenever I need a meal, side salad or snack. A slaw at heart, it stays fresh for three to five days – but is best on the first three days. This means you can make up a tub on a Friday night and know you are set for the weekend.
In terms of nutrition and what we now know about disease fighting foods this salad practically has super powers. It includes a knockout combination of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, radish, cabbage and cauliflower, all of which are known tumour fighters, build your immune system and are great for your gut. Equally powerful is the allum family – garlic, leek, shallots and onions and other super salad staples such as celery, beetroot, carrot and red or green capsicums or peppers. Sprinkled with toasted seeds and nuts, and your choice of dressing and extras and you’ve got gorgeously moreish nutrition in a bowl.
Eat to beat disease
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or an autoimmune disease you’re going to need to make some big moves to turn your health around. I believe this energy enhancing salad should be part of your healthy eating plan. It has definitely been part of mine. The science is now clearly showing that we have dramatically underestimated the power of the food we eat everyday to mobilise our body’s innate defence systems and tackle disease. Check out my previous blog, or go to the source with Eat to Beat Disease, and Super Immunity to find out evidence-backed recommendations for your particular condition. Of course you should always consult with your doctor about dietary changes when you are undergoing treatment. And because a detailed focus on nutrition is rarely part of the medical arsenal when tackling disease, its good to do your research and find an integrative GP or practitioner who understands the fundamental importance of eating well to get well.
You can vary the basic line up based on what is local and seasonal in your area, and get as creative as you want keeping in mind that its a pimped up slaw, so you need a mix of firm vegetables to grate and shred at its centre. I’ve included a range of add ons you can experiment with below. Once you start making it you will find your own winning combinations.
I really recommend using the freshest produce you can find, and definitely organic or homegrown if you can get it. Farmers markets have great range of locally grown vegetables often low pesticide, or close to organic if not fully certified. I use the Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen list to choose which vegetables to buy organic. For example I always use organic celery an apples due to heavy pesticide used in growing them, whereas avocados and kiwis can be regular grown. The cabbage and cauli’s only cost marginally more organic so for me its a no brainer.
When you pay for organic you’ll be sure to use every last bit – and because it usually tastes much better that is not hard to do! (Avoiding food waste should be an even greater priority while drought and water shortages continue to affect our growers — yet so much fresh produce is ending up in the bin.)
Finally, how you chop your ingredients really makes a difference. Invest in a hand held mandolin or other kitchen gadget that allows you to finely julienne the ingredients (rather than grate) This not only looks pretty but helps the ingredients to stay crunchy and avoids the salad getting too wet (especially important if you are making a big amount to cover more than one meal).
The Basic Super Salad Set up!
Here is the list of base ingredients – add a combination of at least 5 of these. I tend to use everything on the list when available – sometimes leaving out the cauliflower or radish and the last three items. I’ve deliberately not used quantities as you simply chop as much as you want to eat. Be aware that there are lots of ingredients so chop up half to one cup of each first time around to see how that goes (less on the radish, onion, capsicum and celery).
- Kale- de-stem and chop finely.
- Red (or green) cabbage – slice finely or use a mandolin
- Carrot – shred with specialised grater (spaghetti verses fettuccine)
- Beetroot – shred as above
- Broccoli – blanche in boiling water for 2 minutes, chop into small florets.
- Radish – finely slice and chop
- Red onion or shallots or leek – finely sliced
- Cauliflower – chop into fine florets (can blanche if preferred)
- Mushrooms – chopped finely (or sauté as a topping – see below)
- Celery – slice finely
- Capsicum – chop into small pieces
- Cucumber* – as above – add when serving to stop salad being too wet.
Seedy nutty sprinkles
A combination of seeds and nuts adds crunch alongside healthy fats and protein, making this salad more filling and satisfying. Toast a quarter cup of each of your favourite nuts and seeds lightly in a heavy based saucepan. When they are done add a touch (about a teaspoon) of tamari or light soy sauce. Store in a jar in the fridge to sprinkle over as needed. If preferred you can also leave raw.
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Almonds, and/ or walnuts chopped
- Other additions: pine nuts, sesame seeds,
- hemp seeds or ground linseeds can be sprinkled over raw
The dressing you choose for your salad is what takes it to the next level. You can cram all sorts of additional nutrition and goodness in and if you are fighting off illness then garlic and apple cider vinegar is definitely recommended. Here are two of my favourites dressings. Simply put ingredients in a jar and shake. (The tahini can take a bit longer to mix!) If I’m pressed for time – or simply because theirs is soooo good!- I use Naked Byron Foods Vegan Chipotle Mayonnaise which is available at most good supermarkets or health food stores.
Apple Cider Dressing
- 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (can use a mix of flax oil and olive)
- sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, to taste
- finely chopped parsley, thyme or basil, to taste
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced (more if you
- 1 teaspoon dijon or wholegrain mustard
- 1 teaspoon of honey or maple (to taste)
- 1/2 cup of tahini
- 5 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- sea salt, pepper
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of cayenne, and/or cumin for added flavour
- warm water to thin.
- Shake or stir together and slowly add warm water to desired consistency (around 1/4 cup)
These additions help turn the salad from a super side into a superb and satisfying meal. Add one, or a combination!
Avocado – Slice one quarter to half an avocado over the salad when serving and sprinkle with nuts and seeds.
Mushrooms – choose some mushrooms like swiss brown, reishi, shitake. Saute lightly in olive oil and add a sprinkle of sea salt and crushed garlic.
Tofu– marinate organic tofu in your favourite dressing (ginger, soy, garlic, rice wine vinegar and a touch of honey is a great combo) Fry gently and serve on top of your salad with fresh coriander.
Falaffel – home made or good quality store bought gluten free falafel is wonderful topper. Serve with a dollop of hommous or a tahini dressing.
Eggs – poach, or soft or hard boil free range eggs (we have our own chooks!). Serve with a creamy dressing. For store bought deliciousness I use Chipotle Vegan Mayonnaise – see above!)
Lentils – cooked puy or french green lentils that have been cooled and slightly seasoned can be sprinkled through your salad to add a protein punch. Lima or black beans are also good options – add Mediterranean or Mexican herbs to match.
Smoked trout – as a special treat try flaking trout through your salad. Make sure you get the chemical-free version from your farmers market or quality deli (a more sustainable choice than farmed Atlantic or Tasmanian salmon)
The combinations are as endless as your imagination. You could try zuchinni balls, arancini, veggie burgers, a baked sweet potato to serve with your salad.