Friday, December 6, 2013

Winter Wellness Salad

   Friends. Fellow veggie-lovers. Kindred salad addicts. I have stumbled upon a most wonderful raw food combination that you should try immediately. I'm calling it...

Winter Wellness Salad

   In a season when nearly every day of the week, for many consecutive weeks, we have good reasons to celebrate... and celebrating often means rich, sweet, salty, and otherwise decadent (but not so good for you) food... In a time of year when carbs and sugar are the fashionable thing to both crave and serve... I often end up fed up and in need of a potent dose of fresh, raw, vitamin-heavy nourishment to set my body straight. And I'm no nutritionist, but these particular ingredients are kind of famous for their health benefits: Kale, spinach, carrots, pomegranate, and lemon. It's all kind of a no-brainer, and these items are abundant in wintertime. The fact that they taste downright amazing together is reason enough to eat Winter Wellness Salad several times a week.

Oklahoma is in the throes of our first big winter storm of this season.
It is so very beautiful... and frigid cold!
Just because it's snowy outside doesn't mean your only meal option
is chicken and dumplings followed by homemade fudge.
Although that does sound pretty darn good.

   Okay, here ya go... My Winter Wellness Salad. The basic components are kale, spinach, pomegranate seeds, olive oil, and lemon juice. As with all salads, this is open to interpretation and you can customize it wildly based on what you love, what you grow, or what you find at the store. My favorite extras so far have been raw broccoli, firm fresh pear chunks, tomatoes, hard-cooked egg, and roasted sweet potatoes. Tonight I plan to top the whole thing with a blackened tilapia filet. Yum.


  • First, clean and chop about a half a bunch of both fresh kale and fresh spinach. Maybe you want to add romaine lettuce too? Whatever you like. To me, what's special here is the kale. I have fallen so madly in love with kale that I plan to grow it from now on. Look out, basil. I have a new green obsession.
  • Then drizzle the voluminous pile of fresh, raw greens with some yummy olive oil. Massage the oil into everything, the kale especially. The notion here is that it tenderizes the rather stout, somewhat prickly leaves. Sure, this could be a myth, but my food blogging friend Katie got a kick out of the idea! And she knows her stuff. Anyway, I whisper to my kale with a Swedish accent and say sexy, relaxing things to it just in case it really works. Set aside your now supple, agreeable, pliant, lightly oiled leaves. Let them rest.

  • The next step is the only time-consuming part of the whole raw salad wellness party. You quarter your pomegranate and using a fork and your fingers, remove the very juicy,very colorful, delicious, sweet, tart seeds. Just gently pluck and wiggle them out of the white, styrofoam-ish membrane in which they're all encased. It is slightly tedious but completely worth the effort. One pom will last you several days. I think tonight's salad only has less than a fourth of the total seeds in it, and it is QUITE FULL. Pom seeds pack a ton of flavor. Also, one pom should only cost a couple of bucks, so give em a try.
  • At this point I also shred at least one good, bright orange carrot. Right down to the bone. Then eat the carrot bone as a snack.

  • Add any extras you crave and combine all of your gorgeous, raw, bite-sized foods into one bowl. Squeeze half a lemon over the whole operation, glitter it all with sea salt and cracked pepper if you like, and you're done!

   I have been making giant batches of this magical stuff and keeping it successfully in a covered bowl in the fridge for a solid week. Every day, delish. Every day, fresh and flavorful. Energizing. Filling. Crunchy, sweet, tart, oily, salty, even umami... but totally healthful. It might give you magical powers of your own. I am in love with this salad. And I predict if you try it, you will be too. It is the cure for what ails you in the depth of a heavily sugared and breaded-and-fried winter. This, plus lots and lots of water, plus some good, sweaty exercise and time outdoors, no matter the weather. But mostly this salad.

   What do you eat when you've had too much fun food? How do you set your body straight? How's the weather in your corner of paradise?

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,
 if one has not dined well."
 ~Virginia Woolf


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