The Big Spring Salad
As you might have seen on social, if you follow me there, I love my big lunch salads! They always make me feel amazing, and I find I make better decisions the rest of the day after I’ve had my mid-day fill of veggies :).
The contents change each season, so today I am bringing you my spring rendition for this year, in hopes of continuing to share my big salad creations with you over the next three seasons. I look forward to these salads almost every day! It is very important that they taste amazing and have different flavors and textures to make my eating experience exciting (and keep me full).
Below I break down the components of the salad, and at the bottom I cover the creamy, herby tahini dressing ingredients too.
I hope you enjoy this share and that it inspires you to load up on veggies at lunch too! Happy spring to you, while it is still here, I can already feel summer sneaking around the corner :).
Romaine is a seriously underrated green! Did you know that in just 2 cups it contains over 100% of your daily vitamin K, 45% of your daily vitamin A, and 30% of your daily folate. That is pretty amazing. I typically use this as my green, mixed with some red leaf lettuce for a boost of iron.
Cucumbers are another underrated food, they contain beneficial phytonutrients and lignans. These have been linked to reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. Just don’t scoop out their seeds, some of the greatest benefits are hidden in those little guys!
I love sweet sugar snap peas in the spring, snow peas often get swapped in here too. Green peas are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and also contain certain carotenoids that are beneficial for eye health. Fun fact: peas (as well as other pulses) enrich the soil with nitrogen without the use of fertilizer, making them a helpful rotation crop for farmers. We get to eat, and the soil gets to eat, win-win!
These are delicious, crisp little roots of spring. Radishes are wonderful at detoxifying the stomach and liver, and help boost the production of bile which is very important for good digestion. They also contain a bit of vitamin C, fiber, and have anti-fungal properties!
I love covering my salads with scallions (or green onions) in the spring. They add a great flavor and prebiotic boost! Scallions are a part of the allium family, and contain high levels of phytonutrients and biotin, too.
After all of the above non-starchy vegetables, it is time to add some whole-food, gut-loving starch in the form of sweet potatoes! I use baked white Japanese sweet potatoes here, which I am crazy about in salads. Sweet potatoes feed your good gut bugs, as well as deliver slow digesting carbohydrates (beneficial for maintaining steady blood sugar levels and delivering energy to your brain), potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber - whew! These starches are superstars.
I love the tang of sauerkraut in my salads, I just began adding it recently and now cannot make them without a big scoop. The benefits of cabbage are immense, and so it goes for fermented foods as well. Do your immune system and microbes a favor and add a favorite fermented veggie to your salads! Here I use store-bought because my homemade kraut needs a few more weeks.
Organic, non-GMO soy foods such as edamame, soy milk, tofu, and tempeh are wonderful sources of calcium, manganese, copper, selenium, iron, and plant based protein! Here I use a sprouted, extra firm tofu that I crisp in a pan. This adds a great texture and keeps me satiated too.
Herby Tahini Dressing
Read about this luscious, flavor-bomb of a dressing below :).
HERBY TAHINI DRESSING
Serving size depends on the batch.
This is going to be a bit different of a recipe post! The thing is, whenever I whip this up without measuring the flavor is unbelievable. Add a few measuring cups and spoons to the mix and it goes all wrong. So I will teach you to intuitively build this dressing :) you can do this!
Begin by pouring a good amount of tahini into a small mixing bowl. I would guess around 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
Take half a small lemon and give it a good squeeze.
Scoop a small spoonful of either dijon or yellow mustard (less if using yellow), go easy here, you can add more later.
Add a few, maybe four, good shakes of coconut aminos into the bow, go easy here as well, we’ll taste and adjust at the end.
Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of raw honey, no more, because - again - we can always add but we cannot take away!
I swirl my container of garlic powder upside down around the bowl once or twice, it uses a perforated lid. If yours doesn’t, aim for about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for now.
Add a heaping cap-full of dried basil leaves, around 1 tablespoon.
Add a few pinches of sea salt.
Stir together well with a small spatula or spoon, it will be thick.
Gradually add filtered water until the dressing loosens up. Keep stirring until it turns creamy and becomes nice and pourable.
Give it a taste, too sweet? Add more salt. Too flat? Add more mustard and/or garlic powder. Adjust to your own liking, and if too strong of flavor for you - add additional tahini and water until it feels right.
This tahini dressing thickens in the fridge, so I tend to add a dash of water to it before each use of it during the week.
I don’t add black pepper to the dressing, but I do freshly crack it over my salad like it is going our of style. Highly recommend!
I hope you enjoyed this very “different” style of recipe post :) let me know what you think here in the comments, and I’d love if you tagged me in your salad/dressing creations on social if you feel comfy! It makes my day to see. xx