Sometimes our own bodies are our best guide to what is good for our health. At this time of the year, after the season of socialising and eating out, our bodies often crave fresh, light, clean, vibrant foods. A salad full of rainbow colours fits the bill. Bright colours in vegetables, fruits and salads often indicate high nutrient and antioxidant content, and apart from that, look appetising – enjoyment of eating food forms part of the promotion of good health.
The author of the latest cookbook I’ve been reading is a woman after my own heart. She suggests that making greens the foundation of the plate can be used as a daily strategy for increasing vegetable intake (Kelley, J. (2012) “Salad for Dinner”, Rizzoli International Publications, NY, USA). As I’ve mentioned before, and as Kelley points out, the preparation of a salad is an art, requiring balance of colour, flavour and texture. Salads don’t need to be all raw, they are lovely with a balance of cooked and raw vegetables, protein foods such as chicken, fish or eggs and additions such as avocado and olives. They don’t need to be complicated – but an oily dressing is essential, around 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon juice. Good quality oil is another essential – I recommend fresh organic extra virgin olive oil from Australia, and/or Udo’s organic 3:6:9 blend, which should be kept refrigerated. Oils promote absorption of nutrients from the salad ingredients, good digestion, brain and hormone function, amongst other things.
Including more salads regularly in your diet is a beautiful way of incorporating more vegetables. Here is one of my current favourite recipes – however try creating your own with your favourite ingredients! It just takes some practice to get the balance right. Enjoy!
Tuna and avocado salad with roasted pumpkin, beetroot and greens
Sustainably fished tuna in oil, 180g can, drained
Avocado medium, 1/2, chopped into small pieces*
Beetroot, 1 medium, peeled, grated or sliced thinly with a peeler*
Jap Pumpkin chopped into small pieces, 1/2 – 3/4 cup, and 1 tsp organic ghee or coconut oil, to roast
4 cups mixed greens, or enough to fill two salad bowls, washed and drained
4 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil or Udo’s organic 3:6:9 oil, or a blend
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
two beautiful wide salad bowls
Optional – shallots and spinach lightly sauted in a little ghee or coconut oil, with water added as required, until cooked, then drained
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease baking dish with ghee or coconut oil. Place pumpkin in the baking dish and rub a little ghee or coconut oil over the pumpkin. Roast for 20 – 30 minutes or until soft.
- Make dressing – place extra virgin olive/Udo’s oil, mustard and vinegar in a small bowl or jar, and mix well.
- Arrange greens in the two salad bowls, then artfully place the beetroot, pumpkin, tuna and avocado and the optional cooked shallots and greens on top.
- Drizzle over the dressing, then season with salt and freshly ground pepper – and enjoy!
*for low FODMAP diets, reduce avocado to 1/8th medium per serve, and reduce beetroot to less than 40g per serve (which is approximately 2 tbsp grated)