As it slowly gets warmer during Spring, we naturally start to crave fresher, lighter meals such as salads. With lots of fresh fruit coming into season such as berries, bananas, passionfruit, watermelons, mangoes, nectarines and peaches they are difficult to resist after eating apples all winter!
Traditionally, Chinese Medicine doesn’t condone eating too much raw food, as its cold nature can cause an imbalance in the digestive system and body. However, slowly incorporating more raw foods into your diet as the weather warms up is a great way to awaken your energy and senses after the cold weather! *
As always, balance and moderation is the key! ☺
* If you have digestive problems you may wish to speak to your Chinese medicine practitioner about the best foods for your constitutional type.
Tips when eating raw foods
- Avoid the fridge: It is important not to eat food and drink straight from the fridge. Keep this in mind when preparing a raw salad as this accentuates the cold energy of raw food and makes it more difficult to digest.
- Add some warm cooked vegetables: When eating a salad try adding some lightly blanched, steamed or baked vegetables to warm the salad slightly, thereby making it easier on the digestive system.
- Stew, bake or grill fruit: This is an alternative way to enjoy fruit (especially for dessert with some natural yoghurt ☺)
Six Ways with Salad
- Get creative:
The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can do to make a yummy salad. You don’t always need baby spinach, or mixed lettuces. Try using English spinach or throw in some chopped silver beet or shredded cabbage. You can also try grating some raw pumpkin, zucchini or beetroot into your salad. This adds colour and flavour and also adds variety to your diet.
- Go nutty:
Add raw nuts and seeds. This is one way to increase essential fatty acids in your diet and contributes to the texture and flavour. Try sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, cashews, almonds, pine nuts…
- Add colour and sweetness:
With fresh fruit! Add some grated apple, chopped oranges and mango, sliced pear, diced peaches, nectarines or kiwi fruit… You could also add a handful of sultanas or currents. These are just some suggestions. I have tried all of the above and I think fruit in salads is delish!
- Play with texture:
Using different techniques when preparing the ingredients for a salad changes the flavour of the final product. For example, you can chop it, grate it, or use a potato peeler to create ribbons of carrot or zucchini.
- Shake it up:
To me, a dressing makes a salad and brings it all together. Making your own dressing tastes a million times better than buying one. It is also very simple and much healthier for you. Once you have mastered a basic recipe and familiarised yourself with different flavours you can start trying new things by changing the type of vinegar or oil (see recipes below).
- Spice it up:
Fresh herbs in salad can bring the salad to life; try using parsley, coriander, basil or mint…
One of the easiest ways to prepare a salad dressing is by using an empty jar with a lid. Chuck all the ingredients in and shake it. You can keep left over salad dressing in the jar in the fridge for next time. Substitute the oil by using a little nut oil such as walnut or macadamia (choose first cold pressed oils wherever possible). Different vinegars also dramatically change the flavour of the dressing e.g. balsamic, red wine, white balsamic…
½ garlic clove crushed or finely chopped
1 heaped teaspoon of Dijon or seeded mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, white balsamic or red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt, pepper to taste
Optional: Add 1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt
Asian Immune Booster
4 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
½ cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
Black pepper to taste
½ clove of garlic crushed or finely chopped
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon juiced (approximate 4-5 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons of Black tahini (you can also use regular hulled tahini)
pinch of salt, pepper to taste
Optional: add 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
The black tahini may intimidate you but it has a very mild delicate flavour and is made from black sesame seeds – it is very yummy!
My Favourite Salads of the Moment…
All ingredients are listed, however quantities are not included – go with your feeling and adapt to your taste ☺
Rocket: Wash and dry
Pear: Thinly slice or use a mandolin
Toasted pine nuts: Toast on a dry pan over high heat, constantly tossing until golden
Balsamic and olive oil: To drizzle
Salt and pepper: To taste
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl serve before a meal or as a side to pasta, lasagne or homemade pizza ☺
Raw English spinach: Wash, drain, and tear
Red onion: Finely slice
Put all ingredients in a bowl, top with “Black Sabbath” dressing and toss.
For more information
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- give us a call on (02) 9938 2182
- email us at [email protected]
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This post was created by Kristie Ussher, former acupuncturist and Chinese medicine herbalist at Ocean Acupuncture in Curl Curl on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.