Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Make World-Class Salads by Dr. Ben Kim

I loved this little salad-making lesson! Now I'm off to practice using my mandoline....

I find that people who don't regularly eat salad typically don't have the experience of enjoying one that's rich and varied enough to be a satisfying, stand alone meal.

If this describes you, I hope that the salad making tips found below are helpful in making world-class, nutrient-rich salads a regular part of your day.

I like to start every salad with a bed of crisp romaine lettuce:

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Romaine lettuce seems to provide just the right blend of minerals and chlorophyll to build and maintain strong teeth. If you have problems with sensitive teeth, try eating at least half a head of romaine lettuce a day - doing so should strengthen your teeth.

Here we have some of our favorite choices for our vegetable salads - carrot, celery, zucchini, red beet, bell pepper, and avocado:

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Now a real key to making a top notch vegetable salad: a mandoline that turns root vegetables and summer squashes into lovely, long strips that provide mouth-feel that simply can't be matched by knife-sliced vegetables.

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Here's a close-up of our Japanese mandoline:

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Notice the horizontal blade spanning the width of the mandoline, plus the blade with vertical striations to shred the vegetables into beautiful strips.

Warning: Please be conservative when using this type of mandolin - rather than try to grate up every last bit of vegetable, it's better to leave a good chunk at the end and keep your fingers away from the blades.

Here's what a stalk of zucchini looks like just after it's been put through our mandolin:

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Nothing too impressive, until you give it a light toss, and voila:

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I'm telling you, it's all about mouth-feel, and transforming a bulky vegetable into these delicate strips changes everything.

Building our salad:

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Now the same thing with carrots. Right after shredding:

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And the magical transformation after a light toss:

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For some natural saltiness and a wide variety of bone-building minerals, add some crisp celery to the mix:

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Notice that we like to slice our celery diagonally - just another mouth-feel thing.

For a rich serving of the full vitamin C complex, natural sweetness, and more vibrant colors, add slices of yellow and red bell pepper.

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For more natural sweetness plus a generous dose of betacyanin (a powerful cancer-fighting phytonutrient), add just a touch of shredded red beet:

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And the last essential ingredient - a ripe avocado:

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In keeping with presenting our vegetables in long strips, we like to slice our avocados up lengthwise. We start by evenly slicing while still in its skin:

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And scoop the slices out in one swoop with a spoon:

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Avocado adds a rich, creamy texture to your salad that perfectly complements all of the natural crunch of fresh vegetables. Avocado also provides a solid dose of lutein to help keep your eyes healthy.

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Definitely a few notches above standard Caesar and house salads served at most restaurants, right?

Here's the thing: you can create countless varieties of world class salads that begin with what you see above as a base.

Shredded cucumber and cabbage are particularly good to add on hot summer days.

Vine-ripened tomatoes add more sweetness and natural juice.

For more sweetness, add chunks of fresh fruit like mangoes, apples, grapes, and bananas.

For more protein, add a handful of raw walnuts, pecans, or cashews. Or a soft boiled egg.

And to bring everything together, definitely look at trying a wide variety of salad dressings. When you're feeling tangy, a simple blend of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt is always a simple and delicious choice. Craving something more substantive? Try blending up tahini or your favorite nut butter with a little water, lemon juice, and sea salt, and you instantly have a creamy, protein-dense dressing to get your salivary glands pumping.

If the idea of nourishing and cleansing your body appeals to you, before you resort to a fast or cleansing program that requires deprivation and/or synthetic supplements, try going a week eating nothing but three of these salads a day - I haven't found a more effective way of enjoying a concentrated period of intense internal cleansing.

I hope that this post serves as inspiration to make nutrient-rich salads a regular part of your day. There's really no way to quantify the priceless health benefits that you'll experience by being a world class salad eater.

http://drbenkim.com/how-to-make-world-class-salads.htm


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