There are so many moments when I’m preparing food and thinking, ‘I wish I could blog about this’. Something that gets me so geeked is teaching about ways to eat healthy without just dishing out another recipe. Education; it’s what I want the heartbeat of this blog to be. Educating you on how to find practical ways, that are easy to replicate and implement, to add more gorgeous, colorful, nutritious foods to your diet.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a very long time. I started a new real estate photography job a few months back and have been getting busy with my own lifestyle photography that it has kind of taken over my life. It’s a huge passion of mine, and I’m blessed to be doing photography full-time now, but oh, how I miss having those few extra hours a week to blog. Although it isn’t much, these occasional blog posts represent my tight grasp on this creative outlet that’s also driven by, you guessed it, so much passion. I’ve had these pictures sitting on my computer for a few weeks now, and I’m choosing to make the time to give them their deserved debut 😉
So today we cover salads. And dressing. Or lack thereof.
Salads are phenomenal. I believe salads have the power to cure food regrets. They’re a reset food; one that sustains you while helping you clean internally, getting you back on track (maybe after you have temporarily departed from the clean eats station..ya know ya know). Smoothies and juicing are other very suitable examples of what I consider reset foods, but there is something about salads that is just so satisfying – maybe it’s the crunch, the vibrant colors, the nourishing greens or all the different flavors cohesively mixed together in one single dish. It’s most likely all of the above.
I guess I should specify this though; I’m talking about clean salads. Not ones that are cancelled out by filthy dressings that devoid your salad of its potential greatness – dressings that contain GMO oils and other ingredients, flavor enhancers like MSG and artificial flavors, and preservatives. There are some good organic brands out there, which is nice to have on hand, but one thing I have recently started realizing is this: you don’t need dressing. And this is where this blog post becomes useful. It’s not just any salad where you can omit dressing and still enjoy every single bite – it’s a salad containing certain elements that, when combined, completely eliminate the need for dressing.
First, let’s quickly break down the main components of a dressing:
- At times, a hint of sweetness
- Herbs or seasonings
Now, I really want to focus on the first two. Fat and Acid. Oil and vinegar. These are pretty paramount for what comprises a typical dressing. If you have these two present, you’re already so far on your way to a dressing-less salad. Yes, you can drizzle any oil as your fat (like olive oil), but you can also use sliced or diced avocado, which adds an unbeatable creaminess to the salad as well. Avocado has many nutritional benefits and is most definitely my go-to for the fat component. I hope I can continue dispelling the myth that avocados contain a lot of fat so therefore, should be avoided as far as weight control is concerned. This is not true. These are healthy, vital, delicious fats you need in your diet. There is no need to fear healthy fats when you are eating a balanced, nutritious diet. Embrace good fats!
As for the acid or the astringent flavor, think pickled or fermented. I’ve been obsessed with both lately. You can easily pickle some veggies yourself, like I this one I made below:
This is pickled red onion and radish in a brine of apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar. Let it sit for as long as you’d like (whether that’s a couple hours or days) and that’s it. I love adding this to so many dishes because it gives the food a unique tart factor that I just crave! You can also use sauerkraut. And I’m not talking polish sausage sauerkraut here, I’m talking traditionally fermented sauerkraut that’s raw and oh, so delicious. Another perk is that it comes in many different flavors! Wildbrine and The Brinery are two of my favorite suppliers. Here is what a few from wildbrine look like:
Now for the optional: something sweet and something herby
Think dried or fresh fruit. Berries are perfect now that they’re in season! Sometimes I’m totally in the mood for this and sometimes I am not. Either way, it tastes so yummy combined with the fat and acid from above as pictured in the example below. This salad has blueberries, raspberries, and nectarine slices.
As far as herbs and spices go, I think it’s safe to say that your salad won’t really need help in the flavoring department, and they’re kind of unnecessary at this point. I love to add some fresh green onion, but that’s about it.
Here is also a simple, quick, easy salad I made with just some strawberries, the red cabbage and beet sauerkraut with some fresh green onions over greens. I didn’t use a fat component, yet it was still very tasty and clean.
Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below if you have any other ideas or thoughts!