Christmas Green Salad
To me, no table is complete without a big.green.leafy.salad. In some people’s minds, the nutritious bowls of leaves are reserved for fad diets and honestly, after seeing salads at some gatherings I’m not surprised that people push the leaves around their plates until it ends up as waste.
For all my granny’s cooking prowess, one thing she never quite gets right is a salad. We always joke about the bowl of pineapple, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and iceberg lettuce she makes and opt instead for her oh-so-healthy potato salad. I think she secretly plots it that way because like any nana, she likes us to feel overly full when we leave her home. When I first became a vegetarian, my notion of salads was this narrow. Yes, I went to restaurant and ate slightly fancier versions but they all seemed bland or just contained a few too many expensive ingredients.
The more I delved into healthy eating, and trying to eat a rainbow each day, the more I embraced these bowls of leaves and things. Each salad is unique. Like a snowflake. Because all ingredients are unique and each person adds a little more of this or less of that to their own preferences. The key is to work with your flavour principles and get as many damn colours in there as possible!
My friends are the kweens of catering. And often, the pride and glory is the salad. When you feel like you want to eat a horse, nothing is more satisfying to me than eating the BIGGEST bowl of salad. I could sit munching away for ages, chatting, adding ice to my rosé, picking out my favourite bits and adding more from the bowl, and so on. Perhaps a little like the grazing habits of other herbivores, now that I say it aloud.
At all of our dinners, someone is tasked with making the salad. It always had to be big and it always has to be delicious. For our Christmas Feast, we created a dark leafy green bed for our numerous pops of red and black. Nothing says Christmas more to me than those colours.
Dark leafy greens are important in any plant-based diet.Considered some of the healthiest foods on earth. They have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities, and if you combine that with its very low amount of calories, it is easily one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. They have an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals overall and are considered a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and minerals manganese, zinc, and selenium. This makes them useful in protecting various systems and functions within the body, everything from digestive health to eyesight.
We’re pretty sure you know most of that so before we bore you with more green details – let’s move on to the ruby of the salad: pomegranates! Aside from adding a burst of tart sweetness to the salad, research shows that pomegranates can help prevent or treat various disease risk factors, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, hyperglycemia and inflammation. Pomegranates have even been shown to provide anticarcinogenic effects. They’re loaded with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Another list the pomegranate makes — the top 10 aphrodisiac foods. Probably a bit awkward if you’re spending Christmas at home with your folks, but what festive rom-com is complete without the side-by-side seated scene with the couple on the edge of one of their old, childhood beds.
Knowing that the holidays are filled with things we should eat and drink, we added blueberries to the mix PLUS a blueberry dressing. Antioxidant powerhouses, blueberries will kick the butts of any baddies you have floating in your system. I crave berries when I’m unwell and whenever I do research on them, it becomes more and more obvious why that’s so.
This filling side has a few hidden veggies, a delicious dressing and some superfood ingredients. We’d forgive you if you previously thought of salads as a side to more important meat, but we assure this one will change your mind.
Try it out at your Vegan Christmas Feast and hopefully persuade Granny to stop bringing the cucumber-pineapple chunky salads in the future at the same time!
- 230g Tenderstem Broccoli
- 200g Baby Spinach
- 5 Medium Zucchini
- 120g Frozen Peas
- 180g Fresh Blueberries
- 1/4 cup Pomegranate Rubies
- 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup Fresh Blueberries
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2tbsp Water
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 3g Mint
- 3g Parsley
- Wash and rinse your baby spinach, adding it to a large serving bowl, and set aside.
- Place a pan over medium heat, add the sunflower seeds and dry toast until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl add your frozen peas and cover with boiling water, cover with a lid and let the peas thaw for about 5min, or until soft.
- Place 1cm of water in a medium saucepan that has a lid, bring the water to a slight boil and add your tenderstem broccoli and cover. Steam for 5min, or until tender.
- Drain and set aside.
- Wash and rinse your zucchini and using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini into lengthwise ribbons.
- To assemble the salad; start layering each item you’ve prepared, starting with the tenderstem broccoli and ending off with the zucchini ribbons. Use your hands to gently toss the salad.
- Top your salad with fresh blueberries, pomegranate rubies, your toasted sunflower seeds and micro greens.
For the Dressing
- Place all the ingredients in a high-speed food processor, pulse until fully combined and the mixture is smooth.
- If you would like the dressing to be runnier, add some extra water until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.