Salad days are upon us now. One big benefit you get from eating a variety of leafy greens? A clear complexion. Leafy greens, especially those that you grow in your own garden or from a local farm, are not only a delicious way to enjoy summer bounty, they’re also an excellent way to detoxify and nourish the body. This is because leafy greens are rich in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients. When it comes to salad greens, choose organic because conventionally grown leafy greens contain high levels of pesticide residue.
I like to combine leafy greens with cooked (not raw!) cruciferous vegetables, like brussels sprouts, broccoli or cabbage. So, I will typically cook a package of frozen organic broccoli or brussels sprouts and add them to my greens. Cruciferous vegetables not only have cancer-fighting properties, they also improve liver detoxification. Whether your health goal is to lose weight, have more energy or have clearer skin, eliminating toxins from the body is a critical first step. Broccoli is high in vitamin C and other nutrients that promote skin health. Cruciferous vegetables also contain Di-indolemethane (DIM) that helps reduce bad estrogens (like xenoestrogens) in the body.
The beauty of salad lies in its simplicity.
You can dress it up or down. A salad can be a side nosh or a meal. A simple salad of baby romaine or baby arugula tossed with avocado and dressed with an olive oil-apple cider vinaigrette is just as delicious as a more complex one. You can combine greens—spinach and romaine; a spring mix; arugula and Korean watercress—throw in some nuts or seeds (if you can tolerate), fresh corn (sliced off the cob), avocado, fresh herbs (mint, sage, oregano, tarragon), fiber-rich black beans or white beans (your digestive health permitting) and even edible flowers, like nasturtium, for a spicy bite. Lean protein—whether chicken, pork, fish (like canned sardines or salmon), turkey, beef or egg—gives a salad extra heft, turning it into a satisfying meal.
This is one of my summer favorites:
Summer Greens with Broccoli and Avocado
Apx. 5 ounces of fresh, local organic baby greens
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (dill, mint, tarragon, oregano)
1 medium bunch scallions, green part only, well washed and thinly sliced rounds
Broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
*I often cook a 10 oz. bag of frozen broccoli (Woodstock is the brand I suggest) and add to salad
Optional: 1 cup cooked peas (fresh or frozen; again, I often use frozen organic peas)
Half an avocado, diced
Celtic sea salt, to-taste
4 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Wash greens well and spin dry. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle with Celtic sea salt to taste.
Whisk olive oil and apple cider vinegar until well blended. Drizzle over greens and toss.