(Originally written and published on Jan 25, 2011)
I’ve recently fully switched to a raw food diet (raw = fruits, vegetables and nuts), a move that was expedited thanks toLive a Healthier Life in 21 Days challenge. It’s been 10 days so far on the raw diet and I’ve been having a lot of fun preparing my meals.
Today I want to share one of my favorite raw food meals that I have every day without fail. I call this the “Summer Fresh Salad” – a great combination of healthy, tasty vegetables and juicy fruits to vitalize your day. If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy meal to satisfy your palate, this will definitely delight your taste buds! It’s really easy to make – takes about 10 minutes, max.
The “Summer Fresh Salad”
The list of ingredients needed:
- Lettuce or any greens of your preference (such as Romaine, spinach, etc)
- Button mushrooms (x 2)
- Avocado and garlic dressing* (or any dressing you like)
- Organic vegetarian dressing* (or any dressing you like)
- Alfalfa sprouts (x small handful)
- Grapes x 20 (or any fruits of your choice, such as oranges, apples, strawberries, peaces)
- Organic sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, raw (x 1 tablespoon)
- Parsley flakes (x 1 teaspoon)
*Note the dressings are not 100% raw since raw constitutes not having been processed in any way – Dressing is an aspect of the raw diet which I’m flexible with. If you’re particular about dressings and want them to be 100% raw, feel free to replace them with any raw dressing of your choice
Step 1: Prep the salad base
First, wash the lettuce and cut it up into smaller pieces. This makes it easy to mix the dressings later. Put it into your salad bowl.
It’s up to you on how much lettuce you want. I find 4-5 big leaves quite sufficient for a salad. If you want a bigger salad, add more!
Next, take 2 button mushrooms and cut them up into thin slices. Put them into your salad bowl too.
I really love button mushrooms! It’s something about the sponginess and the light, subtle taste. I didn’t really like it at the beginning when I first ate them but gradually I began to eat more. Today I can eat about 4-5 mushrooms a day or even more.
Shred the carrot. Here I’m using a simple veggie shredding tool. You can also use the knife and cut it up. Get about a handful of carrot strips.
Put all the 3 ingredients – lettuce, button mushrooms and carrots – into the bowl at this point. We’re going to put the dressings next.
Step 2: Mix with the dressings
I use 2 dressings in my salad because I like the variety in taste. Use your favorite dressings! Here I’m using Organic Vegetarian Pate which I bought at a local organic food store. It’s made up of yeast extract, water, herbs and other ingredients. My second dressing is an avocado and garlic dressing which has a tangy taste due to the garlic. It’s great!
Just to show you the texture of the organic vegetarian dressing. It’s really good. It tastes slightly salty. It’s hard to describe the taste because it doesn’t resemble anything I’ve eaten before. For me it took some getting used to, and after the first 2 times of having it though I started to really love it.
This is the herb variant of the dressing. There are other variants such as mushroom (really like this one) and organic (haven’t tried this one before).
Squeeze out about 10-12cm of the vegetarian dressing into the bowl. Then, get a table spoon of the avocado dressing. Mix it all up along with the ingredients until everything’s evenly spread out. Mixing with a fork and spoon really helps here.
When it comes to dressings, a little goes a long way. Dressings are very high in fat and calorie content. A full tablespoon of dressing can easily add up to 100 calories! Some restaurants go overboard with the amount of dressings they put in salads and it’s quite appalling.
Step 3: Add in the remaining ingredients
Next, add a large handful of alfalfa sprouts (more than what I’m holding). The reason why we’re adding after mixing the dressings is because your dressings will get stuck in the sprouts if you try to mix them with alfalfa. You end up with alfalfa + dressing clumps rather than an evenly mixed salad bowl. This happened to me the first time and it wasn’t so nice.
By the way, alfalfa sprouts are nutritional powerhouses. It’s the only plant that supplies the full range of vitamins, from vitamin A, B complex (even B12), C, E to K! It also contains contains a myriad of valuable nutrients such as calcium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, zinc. So add as much as you want. It’s virtually 0 calories too.
Now, toss in the grapes! You’re almost done!
Last Step: Add the toppings
Get a table spoon of raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and sprinkle them over your salad.
Top it off with parsley flakes. Take a teaspoon and sprinkle over the salad. Here I’m using the one by MasterFoods.
Final: The “Summer Fresh Salad”
There you have it! The very delicious summer fresh salad. It’s definitely my raw food staple. I have it every day either for lunch or dinner, sometimes both. You can easily swap the vegetables, fruits, nuts and dressings with other kinds and it’ll work just as well.
Here’s another one I made. I replaced alfalfa with bean sprouts, button mushrooms with swiss brown mushroom, and grapes with orange
Yet another one I had a few days ago. Same as above with strawberries and no sprouts
Enjoy and let me know if you like it! I’ll continue to post more of my favorite creations in the future with you. Being a raw vegan is really opening up a world of different foods to me! If there’s enough interest in the raw way of life, I’ll plan to dedicate some articles to my experience with raw and benefits.