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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Simple Cleansing Salad

In an attempt to limit refined sugars, yeast and processed foods from my diet, I've discovered my one true love - Salads. I always liked them, even as a kid, but as an adult, I find myself craving them. I'll even go out to dinner and order a salad for my meal. They are delicious, fulfilling, and energizing. Given all of that, they still can get boring, particularly in the winter when fresh salad ingredients are limited. There's no plump red tomatoes, juicy cucumbers or sugar snap peas to liven it up. Greens I can come by, though, from some local farms, carried by the Bath Natural Market, so at least the base is there. The rest is pure inspiration.

Today I perused my fridge for a meal and found a bag of mixed lettuces, so I knew a salad was in my future. I also found a bowl of daikon radish that I had put thru the spiralizer (it made beautiful thin shreds of radish), and a jar of sprouted quinoa. These ingredients screamed to be made into a filling winter salad. But what oh what would I use for salad dressing? I don't buy dressing at the store - I find it expensive and over-processed. Making your own dressings is simple, cheap, and delicious. But alas, I gave my hubby the last batch of honey mustard dressing I made last week to take to work today. It was time to get creative!

Sprouted Quinoa Salad
1/2 C sprouted quinoa* (directions below)
1/4 C shredded daikon radish
2-3 C fresh salad greens

*Sprouted Quinoa is easy to make, only requiring 2 days to bring it from a grain to a lovely sprout. Take 2/3C quinoa and soak in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. This helps remove dust and whatnot from the grain. Drain thoroughly, rinse, and drain again. Place in a glass jar and cover the top with a piece of cheese cloth, held tightly in place by an elastic band. Place in a bowl with the cheese cloth end down and the jar resting on the bowl edge at an angle. This allows proper drainage so the sprouts can grow and not mold. In 8 to 12 hours fill the jar with water (keep the cheese cloth on) and drain. Put back in position on the bowl. Repeat in another 8-12 hours. Taste the sprout at this point and see if it's good for you. I like to do one more rinse and rest period, but it all depends on personal taste. If you want to go a bit longer, fill the jar with water and drain, then place jar back in position on bowl for 8 to 12 hours. Replace cheese cloth with tight fitting lid and store in fridge. I eat these in salads, by themselves with a little dressing, tossed onto rice...whatever sounds good to you. Quinoa is one of the best grains available so eat a lot of it, and eat it often!

Nutritional Lemon Dressing
2 T nutritional yeast*
1/2 lemon, squeezed & zested
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Squeeze lemon into a bowl, add in nutritional yeast, then quickly whisk in olive oil until a creamy dressing is formed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour Dressing over salad, add some zested lemon rind, and toss thoroughly. Enjoy every bite!
*(this is different type of yeast than regular baking yeast, so if you're on a yeast free diet, this is just fine to eat!

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