Part of our nutritarian diet is eating salads – lots of salads! One of the tenants of the Eat to Live or whole foods plant-based diet is eating at least half of your vegetables raw each day and including plenty of leafy green vegetables in the diet. That means salads and lots of them.
For the first several weeks of my journey into nutritarian living, I started each salad with a base of Classic Iceberg lettuce mix, layered Kale Slaw on top, and added a few miscellaneous vegetables and bottled dressing.
Well, it wasn’t exciting or tasty. In fact, it kind of sucked. I decided to find and follow several salad recipes.
Butternut Squash Salad
This summer my garden offered a wealth of butternut squash. One of the great things about growing your own vegetables is that they store well and the squash stored for five months. I picked the last of it in late August and cooked the last squash in January. It was in my pantry for almost five months and was just as fresh the day I cooked it as the day I picked it.
To cook butternut squash, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel the squash and cut off the ends, then slice it in half and scoop and discard the seeds. Slice up the squash in cubes and place it in a metal baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil. Dr. Fuhrman’s plan limits oils, but I do still cook with olive oil.
Bake the squash cubes for at least half an hour or until they are tender, stirring a few times during cooking to prevent them from sticking.
I cook up squash this way whenever I have something else baking in the oven. It saves time and uses up the remaining space in the oven to save energy. Last night, I made baked potatoes, and I slid a pan of spaghetti squash into the oven to cook alongside the potatoes. Lunch today was spaghetti squash, black beans, and napa cabbage and it was delicious!
This butternut squash salad is assembled in layers. I placed bagged, washed baby spinach leaves in a thick layer on the plate, then layered the cooked butternut squash on top. Sprinkle it with pepitos (roasted green pumpkins seeds) and a bit of balsamic vinegar and YUM it is a treat!
I’ve added chickpeas to my salad because Dr. Fuhrman recommends beans as important cancer and obesity-fighting food. In fact, he coined a term called “G-BOMBS” to remind people of the most nutrient dense foods to eat for health:
- Onions (garlic)
You’ll notice that my salad has 3 of the foods in the G-BOMBS list…greens from the spinach, beans from the chickpeas, and seeds from the pumpkin seeds. I try to eat G-BOMBS daily and incorporate at least 2 in my lunchtime salads.
More Salad Goodness
Speaking of salads, I made two more nutritarian salads which were also yummy and filled with plant-based nutrient goodness.
This one included tons of crunch in every bite! Red onion, broccoli, napa cabbage, artichoke hearts, and chickpeas in a bit of Italian dressing made this a zesty treat. And G-BOMBS a plenty: onions, beans, and greens from the cruciferous broccoli and napa cabbage.
Lunch is served! The nutritarian diet includes lots of fruit – at least three pieces a day – and I enjoy a piece of fruit for dessert. Here’s what I ate that day for lunch and I wasn’t hungry until supper time several hours later.
My third salad creation focuses on the G of G-BOMBS and cruciferous vegetables. This one includes napa cabbage, red cabbage, and spinach. It was so colorful and pretty it was almost too nice to eat. Dressing was rice vinegar.
Although we do still use some commercial salad dressings, we often opt for flavorful vinegars. Vinegar tastes like it has salt in it but it does not. Balsamic vinegar offers a great amount of flavor for few calories and no salt, and rice vinegar on cabbage-based salads like this one really tastes great.
Salads for lunch used to be a struggle for me except when I worked in Manhattan and could got to a deli with a salad bar. Then I would load up my tray with salad, fruit, feta cheese, and stuffed grape leaves. I still love cheese and stuffed grape leaves but after 12 weeks eating salads for lunch I feel physically ill eating my old lunches like a grilled cheese sandwich or pasta smothered in cheese. Instead, my body craves greens and a fresh salad with fruit for dessert.
It takes a while to reset the palate but once you do it becomes so much easier to follow this wonderful plan. Here’s to salad lunches!