Green Diva’s Guide to Delicious Living: Hearty Summer Salad Meals

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Hearty summer saladAside from being dubbed the Green Diva, I’ve also been called the salad queen (these may actually be different variations on the same title!). Since my earliest memories of food, salads have been and remain a favorite staple in my world. I was somewhat of a natural vegetarian, gagging on most meat and thus being extremely particular about what meat I managed to stuff down as a child, I always gravitated towards any type of vegetable.

This time of year, us salad-lovers are in heaven. The fresh, crisp and colorful bounty beckons the creation of all kinds of fresh veggie meals.

I’ve become an unofficial expert on making meals out of salads. I can be extremely happy with a large bowl filled with lettuce and a variety of other food groups that make up a healthy combination all mixed up. In fact, I have a special hand-crafted wooden bowl that was given to me when I attended ‘farm camp’ in Vermont last year, that I love to make these salad meals in.

While there are several million ways to create a core group of salad meals, I’m going to pick just two that I’m currently rotating through the menu these days.

Exotic Thai-Style Salad (Vegan)
This one may be more involved than some of the others, but I make a batch on a Sunday and share it with my family (sometimes) and usually have enough left to use for lunch at least once during the week. The three main components of this salad are: Lettuce, soy/wheat-based fake ground meat w/ veggies, and yummy avocado dressing.

Head or two of your favorite lettuce(s) (washed and ripped or chopped as you like it)

Fake ground meat w/ veggies (protein)
1 – 2 Tbls. olive oil
1 pound fake ground meat
1 – 2 cloves crushed garlic (or to taste)
1 red pepper (sliced into strips)
1 carrot (shredded)
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
1 medium zucchini (shredded)
4 oz. can of water chestnuts (drained and chopped)
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp.
1/2 cucumber (thinly sliced into strips)
1/2 c. bean sprouts
Saute veggies (except for cucumber and bean sprouts) and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes, until tender, then add the fake ground meat. Cook thoroughly and add spices and cook for another few minutes to blend the flavors well. Then, remove from heat and add cucumbers and bean sprouts and put aside.


Green Diva’s Avocado Dressing

3 small ripe avocados
1/4 c. fresh cilantro
4 T. apple cider vinegar
4 T. oil (I have been using a flaxseed & olive oil mix lately)
2 T. lime juice
2 t. stevia

Just mash it all together!

Arrange portion of lettuce on an individual plate (if you want, you can toss in a light vinaigrette, but it isn’t necessary), put a portion of fake meat & veggie mixture in center, and add a tablespoon or two of avocado to the top.

NOTE: Ate this today at my desk as I wrote this post – guess I was inspired – had the salad on these great plates I’ve been using at work made from fallen leaves. See my product review of Verterra.

Healthy Salad with Cashew Yogurt (vegan & raw)
If you google ‘cashew yogurt’, you will see that it is very popular among raw foodies and pregnant and lactating vegan mothers. I’m neither, but I was turned on to this cool dairy and soy alternative over 20 years ago, when the mothering thing applied and I’ve loved it ever since. When trying to avoid dairy, which should be always, but doesn’t always happen that way, this is something I keep a batch of handy for various recipes (I’ll share some of those in another post).

Cashew Yogurt
There are a variety of recipes, but I was taught this by my dear friend Steve Meyerowitz, the infamous Sproutman originally, so this is what I use.

1/4 c. organic millet
2 c. filtered water
1 c. raw organic unsalted cashews (pieces are fine)

Soak the millet in the water (preferably in a glass container w/ a loose lid or cloth covering) for about 8 hours (or until kind of foamy at the top) – should be done in the most humid-place possible (if it isn’t a hot humid day out, I put mine near the washer & dryer). This makes rejuvelac, a grain-based healthy liquid loaded with all kinds of beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Rejuvelac can be made from a variety of grains, but I found I liked millet. To test your rejuvelac, according to Anne Wigmores Hippocrates Health Drink recipe,
‘rejuvelac should have a pleasant yeasty smell with a lemon-like flavor’.

Once you’ve achieved rejuvelac, place the cashews in a good blender and fill water to just cover the cashews. blend to a nice smooth even consistency. Sometimes you have to add either rejuvelac or cashews to get it right. Put early stage cashew yogurt in another glass container with a loose covering – again, humid placement is good. Let stand for at least another 8 hours. It should be a little bubbly when it is done. Put it in the refrigerator – NOTE: I reserve a little for a couple of batches to use as starter for the new batches.

Put on salad ingredients of your choice and you have yourself a super healthy salad.

I made this last week, using some of the beets I had roasted and it made a pretty pink dressing!




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