Posts Tagged ‘dressing’

A word on salad dressings

I am so in love with fat. It’s that silky mouth-feel. When I make my broccoli salad, it is VERY generously doused with the creamy cashew dressing. An avocado blended with an orange, lemon juice and salt is silky-smooth green bliss on a bowl of leaves. Extra virgin olive oil is also an important part of my salad moments for simplicity and flavour. (Oh yes- and chocolate!! I love you!!- Nurturing, healthy chocolate recipes (two varieties) here and here)

Here is why I champion home-made fat-based plant-food dressings:

Home-made:

  • Your dressing is a part of your home-made, nature-grown salad, so why not make your dressing too?
  • You feel all mother-earthy. Especially if you grew your own salad (I am not very good at this part)

Fat-based

  • It lifts the salad to something even more special. It’s a mouth-feel thing.
  • You are more likely to eat lots of raw salad veggies and leaves if it is a delicious, yea, even seductive experience.
  • Our body needs healthy fats and they HELP our heart and cardiovascular health.
  • It aids considerably in the absorption of certain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Several studies that I have seen indicate this.
  • It adds wonderful flavour- extra virgin olive oil is SO delicious. The first time I ever saw six children tuck enthusiastically into salad every day was in Spain – I swear, the secret is the the Olive oil!  Hola Rebeca!  🙂

Plant-food

  • All plant foods contain “phytochemicals” not found in animal products, which have endless immune-strengthening and disease fighting properties
  • Because this is “Loving Leaves”- when have I ever promoted sour cream over an avocado forgoodnesssake ?!
  • I am not going to go into the ethical issues with the dairy industry, but my opinion is a cashew or avocado dressing is way more compassionate. I think we should try to think about where our food comes from and what is really behind it. Not saying I always do, but I believe it is something we all need to do more.

That said, I think it’s a big picture thing….and everyone has different tastes. If a sour cream based dressing helps you eat a gosh-darn big plate-a-greens for lunch, then who am I to cast aspersions? That said, have you tried this “Ranch dressing” recipe here? Helloooo seductive mouth-feel!!

 

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Lazy Salad dressing

When Isaac is asleep and I am working through the old “To Do” list, I know it must be time for a lunchtime salad. We have a ton of leftover hummouses and dips in the fridge from a family get together this weekend; and hummous is not just for dipping, it makes a great salad dressing! Just whisk in a bowl with your choice of flavourings. I tried:

  • 1/3 cup regular hummous
  • the juice of half an orange
  • the juice of half a lemon
  •  1/2 teaspoon cumin

Whisk until smooth, and pour over your choice of leaves, chopped raw vegetables, chopped almonds, raisins, sesame seeds, or whatever else you may wish to have with your salad. I think I will play some more with this, it hasn’t reached its pinnacle yet. Luckily, I have plenty of hummous, and  Alfredo got 4 bags of organic spinach at 30p a bag. Hooray for lazy salads!

 

Erm...for some reason I saw the freeze dried strawberry powder and thought I would garnish my salad with some. well, I do have strawberry and spinach salad in my salad section.......

Creamy Cashew Dill Dressing (Ranch style)

Because leaves that are known as “feathery tips” and that smell that good need to be put into a creamy dressing.

  • 1 1/4 cups of unroasted cashews, left to soak 3-4 hours, then drained.  (FYI-once soaked, they will increase in volume)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (= the juice of 1/2 a small lemon)
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped (yes, raw garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (yes, aswell)
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill (or a large handful of fresh feathery dill tips)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt   (Update: I can’t do it. I just cannot see TABLESPOON next to salt! Start with 1 teaspoon, and taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or a few fresh leaves)

NOTE. I adapted this from a recipe on the website  the Sunny Raw Kitchen. The original recipe had 2 TABLESPOONS of salt in. Two. I found that excessive. Even halving it, putting in one whole tablespoon of salt into the blender did not feel like an acceptable adaptation. I am pretty sure The British heart Foundation would not approve. However, my blood pressure is 60/90 and I love salt, so I threw  it in.   🙂

You could also add another 1/4 cup of water to this dressing easily, if it is for later use, as it thickens in the fridge quite considerably.

  1. Drain your soaked cashews and place them into your blender with everything else.
  2. Blend until absolutely smooth and creamy. If your cashews have been in soak, it should blend with relative ease.
  3. Taste-test- I feel sure you will NOT need to season additionally, but taste-test all the same.
  4. If you wish, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill, and pulse your blender briefly to add those beautiful green flecks.

This is a delicious, and I mean delicious dressing for a new potato salad, a green salad (with or without jacket potato) and I am sure it would be delicious with fish too. Not counting soak time, it took under 7 minutes.

A toast! To your health. And to feathery summery leaves in winter!

Sweet kale salad with pear and tahini dressing

Been eating a lot of tahini toffee lately, so it’s nice to package some tahini in a different way, more in keeping with the green backdrop on this site. But mainly, this was born because I opened the fridge and all I could see for a salad, which is what I fancied, was 3 handfuls of curly kale and  2 spring onions. It must be the Friday dearth again.

I chopped, not knowing how it would all end up. I threw in some raisins, because I love them in salads (I could never do that food combining malarkey. I love fruit in salads!) and suddenly, noticing my mountain of pears, I knew what needed to be done.

Pear and Tahini dressing

The only equipment that is (ever?) required is a mini chopper.

  • 1 ripe pear 
  • 1/2 tablespoon of tahini
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 1/2 a small avocado (See Rule #1: An Avocado Is never Out Of Place in a Salad)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sucanat (I was out of honey, and I cannot eat tahini unless it is combined with quite a lot of sweetness. I just put sugar on my brassica leaves. Is that right?  🙂  )

Blitz until smooth. Pour over your kale leaves and chopped spring onion, and raisins, and just to further offend the School of Never-eat-Fruit-with-other-Food-Groups, I chopped up another pear onto the salad, and a fig. Those 66 figs won’t eat themselves you know.

Mix well, slightly smushing the fruit into the salad as you mix. Ihere is no photo, my camera was dead. Imagine a bowl of curly kale with fruit all over, and a creamy green dressing. It was seriously delicious.

Isaac ate this with me. I mean, even the kale. All is well.

Gorgeous easy dressing!

You can never really go wrong with an avocado dressing, I say.

Just take one large, perfectly ripe avocado and a pinch of salt and put it into your mini chopper with a small chopped orange. Process until smooth!

Of course, if you only put in the juice of the orange, it will come out far silkier, but I just do it like this, and whizz for a little longer.

Variations: A squeeze of lemon or lime juice, nutritional yeast, herbs of your choice, a tiny piece of garlic….etc.

Here it is featured over a raw carrot salad. It was a really cool colour, but for some reason my camera didn’t get it  😦  

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for some reason,  Amelia cried at the prospect of trying this. I mean, cried real tears. And I wasn’t even pushing her on it, because I don’t. She traded it in for half an avocado and some carrot sticks, which was practically the same anyway!

School run. x

 

Courgette and Avocado Dressing

This is for all you gardeners out there. Or friends and family members of gardeners. Or just courgette lovers. The courgette glut will be upon us before too long and it is time to start collecting recipes! They are high in water, low in calories, rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, the heart friendly mineral potassium, anti-oxidants, fibre (in the peel) and when eaten raw, lots of wonderful enzymes.

Here is a nice easy and delicious dressing to top your big leafy mid-day salad of abundance. You will need a big salad; think leaves, chopped bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, celery, corn, sugarsnaps, red onion, cucumber, or whatever takes your fancy. Now for the dressing.

You will need: 

  • 1 medium courgette (zucchini)
  • 1 smallish avocado
  • 1/2 a spring onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (optional)

First, grate the skin off your courgette, and add the skin gratings to your salad. Chop your courgette roughly and blitz in your food processor with everything except your avocado. These quantities may need to be doubled for a larger food processor.

Your courgette may not be completely homogenized but that is alright. Once you add in the avocado, and blend again it will become a beautiful green, creamy dressing. By all means if you are feeling oleic-acid-hungry, add in a droozle of extra virgin olive oil to this dressing; I did not on this occasion.

You may not have nutritional yeast; add a little something else to lift the flavour if you wish. If you like acidity, a squeeze of lemon or lime. Some red pepper flakes? Some fresh herbs? Go forth, create, and enjoy!

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