Monday, September 5, 2011

Hugh Maughn Gus Salad

I am not advocating just adding vegetables, legumes, fruits and grains to a diet. I am admonishing that they be the focal point of every meal. But perhaps the idea of having salad entrees every day seems rather un- enticing. It can be if salad means iceberg, tomatoes, and cucumbers day after day. However, with a rainbow of foods to choose from, why stop at three or four unvaried ingredients? A glance at the globe will show that salads can be as diverse as cultures. For example, you might find these ethnic combinations:

Russian: beets, potatoes, onion, cucumber, dill, honey, vinegar
Israeli: cucumber, radish, fennel, parsley, lemon juice
Italian: romaine, radicchio, sun-dried tomato, olives, cannellini beans, zucchini, green beans
Asian: cabbage, bean sprouts, snap peas, bamboo shoots, bok choy, sesame seeds, edamame
Southwestern: black beans, corn, bell pepper, chayote squash, cilantro, jalapeno
Carribean: papaya, mango, pineapple, banana, coconut, orange, cumin, rice, greens

A Hugh Maughn Gus salad should fill a dinner plate. I build mine in 3 levels.

1. The foundation is the leafy greens: romaine, spinach, chard, kale, collards, green cabbage, purple cabbage, bok choy, nappa cabbage, beet greens, mustard greens, lettuces of all kinds, arugula, endive, escarole, raddicio. Vary them, mix and match them, delight in them!

2. The supporting beams are produce: asparagus, squash, peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, artichoke, turnip, rutabaga, jicama, scallions, etc., and ANY fresh fruit. Don't skimp here!

3. The overarching ceiling includes seeds, grains, nuts, and healthy dressings. This is also where I add fatty foods such as avocado or olive. You might enjoy sprouts, chia, hemp, flax, lentils, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pine nuts and other crunchy nuggets. I like both cooked and sprouted grains atop my salads, including barley, millet, rye, groats and wheat, in addition to rice.

Dressing your salad is as much art as building it. Of course, I do not endorse commercial products that are rife with MSG, high fructose corn syrup, refined oils, additives and preservatives. But making dressing can be as simple as pureeing fruit and juices together or sprinkling on some cold-pressed oil with vinegar. If you're looking for gourmet, Anitra Kerr just published 31 tantalizing and healthy recipes in her booklet, Best Dressed Salads. I also recommend Sun Drenchers and Robyn Openshaw's recipes.

Let's celebrate salad!
To your health and happiness,

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