Phytonutrient-Rich Dressings to Make Any Salad Even Healthier

Phytonutrient Salad DressingsWhile any salad dressing adds a bit of moisture and palatability to a vegetable medley, the right dressing is a game changer. In fact, these four phytonutrient-rich dressings will not only give your salad a distinct flair, they will take the nutrition quotient to 11! 

How can phytonutrient-rich dressings make a salad even healthier?

First, fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as many phytonutrients need fat for absorption. So, you’ll get more nutrition out of your carrots and sweet potatoes (vitamin A), mushrooms (vitamin D), nuts and seeds (vitamin E), greens and broccoli (vitamin K). That is why friends don’t let friends use fat-free salad dressing!

Second, adding herbs and spices will significantly increase the antioxidant power of your salad to ward off inflammation-causing free radicals. A little goes a long way. For most herbs, simply go by taste and add the amount that tastes right to you. Consistency is more important than the quantity.  Continue reading

Creamy Horseradish Dressing

A bit of silken tofu gives this creamy horseradish dressing such a luscious texture you won’t believe it’s vegan. Freshly grated horseradish delivers not only another source of cruciferous goodness but also gives this dressing a very distinct flair. If you really want to make it zesty, add more horseradish. For best results, either use a

You can find fresh horseradish in the produce section of most grocery stores. For best results, either use a microplane, or finely chop the horseradish after grating, if you’re not using a blender. To prevent drying out, wrap unused horseradish in a damp towel. It will keep for at least a month refrigerated. 

Grated Horseradish Dressing

CREAMY HORSERADISH DRESSING

Adapted from Natural Gourmet Institute
Yield: approximately 1 cup

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon peeled, freshly grated horseradish
  • 1/2 pound silken tofu (squeeze out extra water)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea miso
  • 1/4 cup soy milk or other dairy alternatives
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Tabasco or hot sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the Tabasco, salt and black pepper. Process until the dressing is creamy and smooth. Add salt, black pepper and Tabasco to taste and blend again until incorporated.

 

 

 

Turmeric Tahini Anti-Inflammation Dressing

Turmeric Tahini Dressing

This versatile dressing makes it easy to bring turmeric into your daily cooking. Pour it over cooked fish, grain bowls, soba noodles and vegetables. And with anti-inflammatory ginger, probiotic-containing miso and alkalizing sesame in tahini, this dressing will boost the health quotient of almost any meal!

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Chipotle Coleslaw

Chipotle Coleslaw

This dish is all about the creamy chipotle avocado dressing. Combine silky avocado, zesty lemon and the smoky kick of chipotle pepper. You won’t miss the mayo!

Customize the vegetable and fruit blend to make it your own. Savoy cabbage is particularly good for slaw salads. Savoy cabbage is more tender and less bitter than the green or red cabbage typically used for coleslaw. As such, there’s no need to salt it before serving it uncooked. Dice, grate, slice…it really doesn’t matter much. But, keep the produce sections thin to ease even dressing coverage. Customize the volume as you like. But, who doesn’t like having a salad ready to go in the fridge? Chop now and be veggie-ready for days!

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Quinoa & Black Bean Confetti Salad

Quinoa Black Bean SaladIt’s not easy to love a minimum wage job at a mall. But, I loved my part-time job at Pasta & Co. In the 80’s, fresh pasta was a retail novelty. While Pasta & Co was one of Seattle’s first retailers to offer fresh pasta, it was their specialty sauces and prepared foods which captured my imagination. The owner, Marcella Rosene put a creative twist on everything in that store, from selecting unique and defining recipe ingredients, such as black sesame oil to her beautifully hand scripted product labels. In her stores, something as simple as croutons were memorable. Pasta & Co. The Cookbook, the first cookbook I ever bought myself, is still with me today, dog-eared and splattered. The book is now out of print. But, I noticed a few new copies available on Amazon for $215! Continue reading

Mustard Seed Vinaigrette & How to Make Sulforaphane!

Make Your Own Sulfurophane!As discussed in an earlier post, there are three strategies to get the benefits of raw crucifers when cooked. This supporting recipe is not just a recipe for a mustard vinaigrette. When used to dress a salad containing cooked crucifers or to top cooked crucifers, it is a recipe for the wonder compound, sulforaphane!

This vinaigrette recipe includes mustard seed powder, which provides a source of myrosinase. Remember, mustard greens are crucifers. So, the ground seeds are a potent source of the all important enzyme. Theoretically, whole mustard seeds should work as well. However, do not roast, toast or otherwise apply heat to the seeds or you will denature the enzymes, rendering the seeds just another ingredient. Further, you can adapt any dressing recipe to make it a sulforaphane-maker simply by adding some mustard seed powder. Following is a recipe I now keep on hand and drizzle a little over steamed broccoli or cabbage. I have tried it with apple cider vinegar, but prefer the version with balsamic vinegar.

MUSTARD SEED VINAIGRETTE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons honey, ideally raw and organic (or maple syrup)
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a clean jar or small bowl, add the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, prepared and powdered mustard and mix well. Add all remaining ingredients, except the oil and mix well again.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil while either whisking or stirring rapidly with your fork. Or, if using a jar, shake vigorously, adding the oil in stages until emulsified.
  3. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Do you have a dressing with mustard seeds or powder you like to serve with cruciferous vegetables? Please share!

Radicchio Salad with Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette

Raddichio SaladIn 1988, I moved to Napa Valley with dreams of launching a catering career. I had no job and no local industry contacts to help me get one. But, I had my college friend Heidi. A native of the Valley, Heidi introduced me to Jamie, the executive chef for Inglenook winery. It was a good start. Continue reading

Radicchio: The Other ‘Green’.

RadicchioWith tightly bound, magenta leaves, radicchio is a striking vegetable. But, at the market, it often receives an admiring gaze, then is passed over for the more familiar, less bitter and less intimidating bins of greens. While radicchio (pronounced similar to Pinocchio), looks like a small cabbage, it is actually a member of the chicory family, cousins of lettuces and dandelions. Also known as Italian or Red Chicory, radicchio is very versatile to use, nutritious and is as simple to prepare as your usual green suspects. Radicchio is nutritionally rich, but has several distinguishing health benefits, which set it apart from typical salad greens. Check out this impressive red-head!

Digestive Health: Chicories, like radicchio, contain inulin, a non-digestible carbohydrate [1]. Through fermentation, inulin acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of beneficial bifidobacteria in the intestine. Inulin also helps regulate blood sugar levels [2]. In addition, the bitter quality of radicchio increases bile salts, which can improve digestion.

Bone and Neurological Health: Radicchio is uniquely rich in vitamin K, with 100 grams providing 212% of daily recommended values. Vitamin K promotes the formation and strengthening of bone. Further, research shows adequate dietary vitamin K may limit naturally occurring neuron damage in the brain. As such, vitamin K has an established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s [3]. 

Visual Health: Radicchio’s vibrant red color is an eye-pleaser, in more ways than one. The brightly colored leaves are an excellent source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, such as zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds protect eyes from age-related macular disease (ARMD) by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays [4]. Sunscreen for your eyes!

When selecting radicchio, look for compact, bright-colored heads with prominent ribs, free of bruises and brown or withered leaves. The smaller, younger heads will be less bitter. Store the heads refrigerated, but eat as quickly as possible as they will become more bitter with time. To reduce the bitterness, soak the leaves or quarters in cold water for 10 to 30 minutes.

Radicchio Leaves Soaking

Substitute radicchio in recipes calling for chicory or endive. Using radicchio raw, tear or chop the leaves into small pieces, and combine it with other salad greens for a flavor, color and texture accent. The individual leaves can also be used as elegant and low-carb serving cups or wrappers for appetizers. Cored, but not quartered, the sturdy leaves are excellent grilled or roasted. Radicchio pairs especially well with balsamic vinegar. Try tossing the soaked and dried leaves with a balsamic vinaigrette, with an optional topping of shaved parmesan. Balsamic vinegar also combines well with grilled or roasted radicchio. Following is an adaptation of Michael Ruhlman’s Grilled Radiccchio recipe.

Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted Radicchio with Balsamic Vinegar

Serves 4-8.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium heads radicchio, quartered lengthwise, core intact
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette

Radicchio Quarters

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place radicchio wedges in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  4. Place each wedge, cut side down, on the lined baking sheet.
  5. Roast the wedges, turning once, until the leaves are wilted and just slightly charred, about 12-15 minutes.
  6. Season both sides of the wedges with salt and pepper.
  7. Before serving, drizzle balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette over the top of each wedge.

REFERENCES:

[1] The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia – Comprehensive Resource for Healthy Eating, by Rebecca Wood
[2] Niness (1 July 1999). “Inulin and Oligofructose: What Are They?”Journal of Nutrition. 129 (7): 1402 (7): 1402. PMID 10395607. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
[3] USDA National Nutrient data base
[4] nutritionandyou.com – Radicchio

Organic at Costco: Deep Greens Blend & Baby Beets

Costco Organic Deep Greens BlendCostco is responding to demand for organic packaged foods as well as produce. You never know what you will find! Here, my newest discoveries, a deep greens blend and baby beets are tossed with red onion and my favorite lemon vinaigrette. Simple. Delicious. Easy. 

Earthbound Farm – Organic Deep Greens Power Blend

Earthbound Farm’s Spring Mix is fantastic, but Deep Greens is a welcome change. This blend of triple washed tender baby greens; kale, red and green chard and spinach is ideal for juicing and smoothies as well as salads. Deep Greens is a power dose of vitamins A and C in a 1.5 lb bag for $5.99. This goes on my perennial Costco shopping list.

Love Beets – Pre-Cooked Organic Baby Beets

You’ve got to love the name. These are true baby beets, none more than 2-inches in diameter and at their most nutrient-rich stage. Love Beets are available plain or dressed in vinaigrette, making them a great add-in for salads or other sides. But, for a feature dish, I would probably opt for fresh beets. Twenty baby beets are conveniently packaged in 4 units of 5 beets each for $7.99.

What are your favorite organic finds at Costco?

Love BeetsEarthbound Farm Power Greens
 

 

Cabbage & Avocado Slaw

Cabbage and Avocado Slaw

If cabbage and avocado are good, then coleslaw and guacamole must be even better! This variation on a classic Chilean salad is simple to make, refreshing to eat and a powerhouse combo of fiber and healthy fats with mashed avocado replacing the mayonnaise in traditional coleslaw. Generously salting cabbage for an hour or more makes it tender and withdraws the bitter juices. Add lemon, and mashed avocado and you are picnic ready. Continue reading