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  • Writer's pictureBec Eldridge

Festive Summer Salads

Looking for a new tasty recipe? Salads are a great way to increase diversity in our diet, boost our nutrient intake and enjoy the colours and flavours of the season! By eating a broad range of wholefoods, we encourage a healthy, diverse gut microbiome and robust immune system. Read below for salad creation tips from our Naturopath Bec Eldridge, and also a recipe for Avocado & Pea Pesto Salad, perfect for the festive season!

How to build a tasty wholesome salad

Choose a theme or cuisine and aim for flavours which suit e.g. Mexican, Thai, Moroccan, Italian, Greek, or experiment and just aim for a rainbow of colours and textures. Then choose from a selection of base, middle, topping and dressing ingredients to create a spectacular salad.

Base ingredients - choose at least one vegetable and one grain

  • Vegetables: baby spinach, rocket, kale, mixed lettuce, finely sliced red cabbage, green cabbage etc.

  • Grains: quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, black rice, rice noodles etc.

Middle - choose a few vegetables and at least one protein

  • Vegetables: roast veggies (beetroot, sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, carrots), capsicum, carrot, cucumber, tomato, grated zucchini, grated beetroot, radish, olives, avocado etc.

  • Protein: chickpeas, lentils, peas, black beans, kidney beans, 4 bean mix, tofu marinated and cooked etc.

Toppings – choose a few from each category

  • Herbs: parsley, basil, mint, coriander, dill, chives, spring onions etc.

  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds etc.

Dressings – get creative and mix a few in a jar/bowl

  • Olive oil, lemon juice, un-hulled tahini, apple cider vinegar, tamari, raw garlic, Kaffir lime, lemon grass, ginger, chilli, paprika, cumin and other herbs and spices.

Avocado & Pea Pesto Salad

A great festive or Christmas salad! This pesto can be whipped up a few days before your gathering, making the last minute salad assemble nice and simple.

Pea & Basil Pesto

  • 1.5 cups of green peas

  • 1.5 bunches basil

  • 1 large avocado

  • 1/2 cup soaked & drained cashews or 1/4 cup raw pine nuts.

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/4 - 1 lemon, depending on your citrus palate

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil (approximately)

  • Pepper to your palate

  • Salt a pinch or two

  • Extras: nutritional yeast, chilli, other fresh herbs, rocket, kale, spring onion or nuts/seeds.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or NutriBullet, and pulse until your desired consistency. Some people prefer it with plenty of texture, others like it smooth.

Salad preparation

In a large bowl combine; baby spinach, cherry tomatoes halved, thinly sliced radish, 1-2 spring onions thinly sliced, chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds. Cover the salad generously with the pesto, serve and enjoy!

This salad contains lots of lovely fresh greens – increasing intake of fiber, iron, vitamin K, folate, magnesium and B vitamins. By adding legumes (fresh peas, soybeans etc.), pulses, nuts and seeds to salads we can boost our protein intake and build nourishing hearty salads.

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