The powerhouse antioxidant red salad was initially started because all I had left of last week’s market shop were red things – pomegranate, red onion, cherry tomatoes, beets… Love a good blessing in disguise!
And then yesterday while doing a little pinning, I had come across this STUNNING red spread of produce.
Photo: Christopher Baker for Martha Stewart Living
And then I decided to reflect on a couple of the awesome things that red foods (natural ones of course) offer us:
1. Lycopene – a carotenoid that is a powerful anti oxidant linked to cancer and heart disease protection. Interestingly, while cooking can often diminishes bioavailability of vitamins in cooking, when you cook tomatoes, the lycopene availability increases loads. So, for a salad like this if you had time, you could slow roast the cherry tomatoes for an hour or 2 on a low 130C / 250F oven and cool before tossing them into your meals. Not essential of course though!
2. Anthocyanins – a type of flavonoid with antioxidant effects. These give rich red / purple colour to things like red onion, beets and pomegranate to name a couple. They are thought through multiple research studies to have anti inflammatory properties and also to be anti cancer and combat high blood pressure. Anthocyanins are the reason it’s ok for us to enjoy a little red wine in life and for that I say thank you little flavonoids. Thank you very much!
3. Vitamin C – a powerful anti inflammatory, pain killer and disease prevention star over all, we have to worry about vitamin C supplements these days as most are synthetic and derived from GM farming. Sad, I know. Not all supplements are though. I have the Healthforce Nutritionals brand at home, which is extracted from organic acerola berries and an easy powder. All that said, if you include these powderful fruits and veggies in your food mix, you[‘ll be getting loads of good Vitamin C every day!
You will also find a little folate, potassium, Vitamin B6, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, manganese, thiamin (especially in organic sources) and so it stands to reason not just for their flavours but for what they bring us in health, that the red family should get a daily look in when they’re in season. Don’t you think? I look at this sort of meal as a delicious form of health insurance – all the goodness of preventative as well as plenty of potent curatives. I hope you love the salad!
What you’ll need (feeds four as a side, and 2-3 as a meal. double for a larger group or if you want leftovers)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, light toasted in a frying pan if you have time
2 handfuls chopped, activated almonds. (why activated? read more here)
1/2 bunch chopped fresh mint
1 bunch chopped parsley
1 punnet small cherry tomatoes ripened on the windowsill a couple of days (fridges are the death of tomatoes!). I halve them for the salad
1 pomegranate )cut in half across it and then bash upside down with a rolling pin so the seeds naturally fall into the bowl.
2 medium beets, grated on the large setting.
1 teaspoon dulse flakes (optional for mineral extras. I like to get a cheeky teaspoon into most savoury dishes)
1/2 a red onion. fine sliced (i used a mandolin)
your dressing of choice (I made a simple vinaigrette of 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 8 tablespoons olive oil, teaspoon mustard, 2 pinch salt and a teaspoon maple syrup with a raw egg yolk for creaminess from a pasture raised organic egg which you could leave out if that irks you)
What to do
Combine everything in your salad bowl. Toss through to mix and then toss through once again to mix with the dressing. I always use half of the above dressing initially, then toss through and then add if still needing more dressing. Then wipe around edges of the salad bowl for a clean, ‘i’m so tidy and professional’ in the kitchen look.
Cracked pepper to finish and maybe a few extra bits of chopped herbs for a green ‘splash’ on top.
And, serve. On it’s own as a meal, given there is so much nutritition going on here with the nuts, seeds, herbs, fruits and vegetables, or as a side to poultry or fish.
The salad with some steamed and buttered zucchini and a little wild caught salmon. Bon appétit!
Here’s to your good health!