Sunday, June 17, 2012

Deconstructed Salad Dressing

I have loved making some of the nut- and seed-based nutritarian dressings first inspired by the recipe collections and member posts, as well as Chef A.J.'s "Hail to the Kale" salad. My own versions of these dressings are available on this blog under the "salad ideas" tag. But in an effort to be more deliberate in my measurements of seeds and nuts, and to enjoy them fully, I have started "deconstructing" these dressings, including their components in their original form instead of blending them into a dressing.

Spinach salad with roasted garlic

Tonight, for example, I'm having a salad with a Middle Eastern spin:  dark lettuces, red onion, halved green grapes, diced cucumber, some pinto beans, one pressed garlic clove, the juice of a quarter of a lemon, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and some toasted pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds).

Yesterday I had a similar one with a California spin: dark lettuces, a few raisins, diced tomato, diced pepper, a mix of sprouted beans, one pressed garlic clove, a grating of fresh ginger, and toasted almond slivers.

The other day I did one with a Mexican spin: dark lettuces, Vidalia onion, diced tomato, diced green pepper, pinto beans, one mashed garlic clove, a dollop of salsa, and the juice of a quarter of a lime.  I saved the nuts for peanut butter on an apple on the side.

The key is to mix the "dressing" ingredients together with the beans and wet veggies (tomato) in the bottom of the bowl, then toss the leafy and hard veggie bits and fruits with this mixture and enjoy! I really like they way it helps me wean myself away from the idea of a dressing from a bottle or jar and to just enjoy the flavor that the fruits and vegetables give to the salad.

What are some other possibilities for this technique?

  • Tropical/Jamaican:  tomato, hot red peppers, pineapple, green onions, black beans, coconut?
  • Italian:  softened sun-dried tomato, fresh basil and rosemary from the garden, white beans, pine nuts and/or marinated olives
  • . . .
Update June 20:  Today I'm having pinto beans, garlic, a squeeze of lime, a dash of blood orange vinegar, sweet cherries, toasted almond slices, lettuces, baby greens, onion, and yellow bell pepper. It's great!

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I'd love to know what you think of these or if you have suggestions for improvements!