Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taste the Rainbow Salad

When was the last time you tasted the rainbow? I'm not talking about the artificial neon colored rainbow in foods or candies, but rather the rainbow in fresh fruits and vegetables. This light lunch salad or dinner side salad has an awesome range of colorful toppings. Zesty sweet no added oil dressing lightly coats crisp, dark green spinach leaves. With every forkful there's complex textures and flavors. Chewy but crunchy. Sweet but salty. 

Sample the spectrum often for a glorious fill of nutrients you won't find in a vitamin. These properties are only available in the foods you eat. Eat more of them! A funny thing happens when you do: there's less room for the unhealthier foods. 

Red - Think lycopene and anthocyanians, 2 different antioxidants that prevent free radical damage in your cells. Examples: red apple, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, red potatoes 
Yellow/Orange - This color group gets their pigment from carotenoids like beta-carotene that convert to vitamin A in the body which helps maintain healthy membranes and immune systems. Examples: apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pumpkin, squash, pineapple

White/Tan - Allicin is a polyphenol that helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. It helps that some of these foods also have a significant amount of potassium. Examples: banana, potatoes, garlic, mushrooms, onions, jicama

Green - The green pigment comes from the chlorophyll in the plants, but most of these foods have a ton of lutein that protects the eyes and free radicals. Examples: spinach, broccoli, green peppers, brussel sprouts, kiwi, avocado
Blue/Purple - Anthocyanins are responsible for the blue/purple pigment and the fabulous antioxidant properties of these foods. This family is touted to have memory function benefits and decreased stroke risk. Examples: blueberries, figs, eggplant, plums, purple cabbage, raisins

Taste the Rainbow Salad
2 large servings (about 5 servings of fruits and vegetables EACH!)

4 cups spinach leaves
1 apple, cored and sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
2-3 tablespoons raisins
grated pepper
2-3 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)

Dressing:
2 1/2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste, found in ethnic food aisle)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons maple syrup 

1. Whisk together dressing ingredients in small bowl and set aside. Adjust to your taste; add more syrup if you like sweet or a dash of black pepper.
2. Place spinach in large serving bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to coat evenly.
3. Fold in other ingredients or arrange in a pretty pattern to really enhance the "rainbow" effect. Feel free to play around with the colors and toppings.

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2 comments:

  1. THat looks SO GOOD! I only recently started adding fruit to my salads, but it is THE BEST! I haven't added raisins though...that seems like it would be a really good addition. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks :) Raisins and dried cranberries are my favorite!...plus, with dried fruit it only takes 3 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup) to equal a fruit serving!

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