This is a quick and simple salad that the whole family will love. Just substitute any of the salad vegetables with your family's favourites. I've made the dressing with almond butter for a creamy consistency and added chopped almonds to the salad for some crunch. Chopping the salad makes it easy to serve and a great choice to take to a BBQ or on a picnic. For a nut-free version, use sunflower butter or tahini in the dressing and add seeds to the salad instead of almonds.
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To make the dressing, add the almond butter, olive oil and mustard to a bowl. Use the back of a spoon to press and mix them together so they combine well. Add the lemon juice, coconut aminos, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Combine well and adjust the seasoning if needed. Place in the fridge until required.
Place all the salad ingredients into a large bowl and gently toss to mix.
To serve the salad, you can drizzle the dressing over the salad or tossed it through, then garnished the top with extra almonds.
(Any of the salad vegetables can be subsituated to suit your family and also made nut-free.)
Cos or Romaine lettuce is a variety of lettuce that grows a taller head of firm leaves. It also tolerates heat, unlike most other varieties of lettuce. The heart of the cos lettuce with the outer dark leaves removed, is known as a baby cos lettuce and is a touch sweeter than the outer leaves. They are very easy to grown yourself, we have a small back yard and grown them in pots. Harvest when the leaves are crisp and head is full of colour (the more mature the plant the more bitter the leaves).
Lebanese cucumbers are usually just a little smaller and have thinner skins than the regular green cucumber and are eaten with skin on, which means more green into your diet. They also don't seem to cause burping or indigestion. Cucumbers contain Vitamin K.
Capsicum is known as a vegetable but technically it's a fruit, as it's seeds are inside. It's called a pepper or bell pepper in the US. Capsicums can be eaten raw or cooked. They belong to the nightshade family. Capsicums vary in colour, shape, size and their flavour intensity, between the different varieties. They are highly nutritious and contain more vitamin C than an orange and have relatively high amounts of vitamin B6.
This crunchy orange root vegetable is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. They are good for the eyes and improve night vision. You get vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits from carrots, including cancer prevention, helps prevent infections and heart disease, protects teeth and gums and promotes healthier skin.
The tomato is a fruit but is much lower in sugar content than other fruits so it is typically eaten raw in salads and cooked in many dish and sauces from around the world. The tomato belongs to the nightshade family. Tomatoes contain carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants.
Other names for spring onion are scallion or green onion. They have hollow green leaves and a small root bulb and can be eaten raw or cooked. The green tops are also used sliced or chopped as a garnish. The green tops are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene.
Both celery stalks and leaves can be used, whole stalks are eaten raw in salads or cooked to give flavour in stews and soups. Raw stalks with the leaves are excellent in your morning smoothie and give you a good dose of vitamin K, B and A, folate, riboflavin and more, plus celery contains several minerals.
It is often mistaken for a vegetable, the avocado is a fruit. It has a rich buttery flavour and smooth texture. Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin C, E and B6, potassium and dietary fibre, also useful amounts of iron magnesium and folate.
Peppermint is one of the easiest and hardest herbs to grown. Studies have uncovered a variety of health benefits. Mint leave oil is used as a digestive aid, to relieve pain, it has anticancer properties and can help with allergies.
Coriander is also know as cilantro. The fresh chopped green leaves in large amounts are a good source of vitamin C. The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many Indian, Thai, and Mexican dishes. They are usually tossed through just before serving as the heat can diminish the flavour. The dried fruits are known as coriander seeds, the seeds have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed. The word coriander in food preparation may only be referring to the ground seeds not the plant.
Almonds have 240mg of calcium in 50gms, as much as is found in 200ml of milk. Nuts are a great protein snack. Eat them raw or activated and it's best to avoid store bought roasted nuts that have been cooked in canola, sunflower or similar vegetable oils. When ground finely almonds make a wonderful nut meal/flour for grain-free baking.
Almond butter may also be called almond spread. It is finely ground down almonds to a texture resembling a paste. In my cookbook I have a recipe for roasted almond butter, which has extra flavour due to the roasting and a little organic salt added. If purchasing a commercial almond butter in a jar, make sure it's 100% almonds.
The olive fruit of the olive tree is pressed and crushed to released the oil. Healthy fats like olive oil are essential for brain function and to transport vitamins and minerals throughout our bodies. This is a delicious oil to drizzled over salads and vegetables.
Mustard is a condiment made from various varieties of seeds from the mustard plants (white or yellow mustard, brown or Indian mustard and black mustard). The seeds are ground to make different kinds of mustard. Dijon mustard is made when ground into a paste with added ingredients like water, salt, lemon juice and flavours and spices. It is a much milder mustard and is excellent to add to sauces and dressing.
Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Most store bought lemon juice containers preservatives.
An excellent soy free alternative to soy sauce and tamari. It comes from the sap of the coconut tree and has a sweeter flavour than soy sauce and is not as salty. Coconut aminos can be purchased from health food stores or online. This is one of my favourite ingredients.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.