I am currently on a road trip through Western USA and Canada and cannot stop thinking about salad. Not the standard salads that seem to be on every menu around here that tend to lean heavily on cheese, mayo and candied nuts (why are these the bones behind salads these days?), but real salad that is mostly green with some fresh, colourful, crunchy veggies. Internal shower salad.
It is the time of year that our salad switches are turned back on and we start to crave this type of food again. Even more so if you happen to be on a road trip and your supply of healthy snacks is getting low and you’re beginning to eyeball the chips at the gas station, wishing you knew less about nutrition. Unless truck drivers have amazing partners (or are, themselves amazing) and make themselves kale chips and sprouted pumpkin seeds for their long journeys, I can’t see how Doritos, Red Vines and Dr Pepper wouldn’t become part of their regular diets. And all that sitting too. Poor Truck Drivers.
Truck Drivers! If you are reading this, here are some good snack options for you to take on the road: seed crackers, kale chips, chia cereal, and if you own a food dehydrator, soups dehydrate really well and you could reconstitute them with hot water at the gas station. Just like Cheryl Strayed did, documented in her book ‘Wild’, when she had to carry her food across the Pacific Crest Trail in her Reese Witherspoon-sized backpack. And like some of us do when we go camping. Drink lots of clean water and swap in any of these options for almost anything you can buy at a gas station or rest stop, and I guarantee you will poo more often. In a good way.
Salad is a tough one on the road though. It is even a tough one if you eat out a lot, as I mentioned above, there is often more none-vegetable gloop in a salad than actual salad these days. And the greens are often from a box, and sometimes the kitchen can’t even be bothered to pick out the yellow/slimy ones. This totally baffles me.
Even though washing lettuce is close to one of my least favourite kitchen jobs, I still do it almost every single day. Chopping up and washing a whole head of lettuce for salad (bonus points for dandelion greens) is a lot more work than opening a box and dumping it in a bowl, but it is actually a green form of self-love, something we could all use a little more of. Try to remember this as you think dinner is ready and then realize you haven’t washed the lettuce yet.
Juicy, flavourful lettuce doesn’t generally come out of a box, you have to work for it. Whole heads of lettuce taste so much better and more alive than the boxed stuff, you may find that you actually enjoy eating it so much more, leading to more salad in your life, which can only be a good thing, especially as we shake out the winter cobwebs.
This salad is clean, green, crisp and made with veg that should be readily available almost year-round, depending on where you live. Our decadent ingredient, our ‘blue cheese’ if you will, is an avocado, rolled in some protein-rich hemp hearts and some liver-protecting (and sexy!) black sesame seeds (any leftover seeds you have that didn’t stick but have been avocado-tainted, just sprinkle on the salad too). We then slice it up and top our salad with it. It’s the clean food chicken finger and your salad will think it just won the salad lottery. It sort of did.
I have spread this out in layers on a platter, which means everybody gets a little bit of everything (I’m a middle child, this is important to me). If you prefer to toss it in a bowl, I recommend doing it before adding the seed-crusted avocado slices so that all of the seeds don’t fall off.
- 1 head of Leaf Lettuce, chopped and washed
- ½ bunch of Dandelion Greens, chopped and washed
- 4 Radishes, quartered
- ½ Cucumber, cut into ribbons using a peeler or mandoline (or using the flat slicing function on your spiralizer/spirooli)
- 2 Carrots, cut into ribbons using a peeler or mandoline
- ¼ c Dill, picked into small fronds
- 1 Avocado, pitted, peeled and rolled in:
- 2-3 Tbsp of black sesame and/or hemp hearts
- ¼ c Lemon juice and zest
- ¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- On a platter, layer the veggies, finishing with the Dill and radishes.
- Roll the avocado halves in the seeds (either mixed together or one seed type for each half), slice them up and add them to the top of the salad.
- Sprinkle the lemon zest on top of the salad.
- Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over top (try to get some on the avocados specifically, to avoid oxidizing)
- Followed by the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.