July Food Focus: Raw and Cooling Salads

Why is it that in the summer we naturally crave more fresh and raw foods? These foods have a cooling effect on the body. The lightness and high water, fiber and vitamin content work together to act as our internal air conditioning during these warm months. At this time of year we also need less dense, high-energy food because we get so much energy from being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. There is no better season than summer to have fun creating your own fresh, tasty, creative salad combinations. By simply tossing together several of your favorite raw veggies, naked or with a light dressing, you have a perfect meal for a hot summer’s day.  

  • Try your favorite leafy lettuce with various sliced, diced or grated veggies. The possible combinations are endless.
  • Fresh herbs are a wonderful option to mix in, as they are packed full of flavor.
  • Experiment with adding diverse forms of protein to your salads, such as nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, fish or poultry.
  • Pick up a light and healthy dressing at your local health food store, or mix up something easy, like lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil.

This is a great opportunity to try a new vegetable from your market. What are some creative flavors you’ve never tried before? Fennel and mint? Daikon radish and arugula? Summer squash with watercress? Whatever you choose, have fun with your food and stay cool. Happy summer!

Recipes of the Month:

Spinach Apple Slaw

Prep time: 7 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 batch or container Spinach or mixed greens

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 granny smith apple, sliced

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds or walnuts

Dressing:

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons honey

salt and black pepper to taste

Or already made balsamic vinaigrette dressing as an option

Directions:

1.   First make the dressing by combining all the ingredients and whisking well.

2.   Chop all the salad ingredients, leaving the apples until last. Mix in a salad bowl. 

3.   Toss salad with half the dressing. Add additional dressing if desired.

4.   Eat immediately, or chill for up to one hour and then add the apples just before eating.

Asian Chicken Salad

Prep time: 7 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 bunch organic romaine lettuce

1/4 organic red cabbage

1 cup grated carrots

1 orange

1 stalk green onion, diced

1 cup shredded cooked organic chicken

1-1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2/3 tablespoons plum vinegar

Directions:

1.   Tear lettuce into desirable size pieces.

2. Cut cabbage in strips.

3.   Mix with lettuce, cabbage, and carrots with chicken in a salad bowl.

4.   Drizzle sesame oil and vinegar over salad and toss. Optional: Use sesame oil and soy sauce.

5.   Serve in individual salad bowls, top with orange slices and green onions in each bowl and serve.

Note: Add a healthy replacement for fried won ton strips of your choosing.

Enjoy!

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