This is what it looks like outside right now.
Yep. That’s a bunch of snow. God has quite a sense of humor, doesn’t he? The last time MN had snow in April was 2002, the year I graduated from high school. Prior to that, you have to go back to the 1980’s. Hmmm… something just isn’t right.
This is what it looks like inside.
Since we returned from vacation I have felt off in my eating. I am eager for Spring to arrive and feel like my eating habits are in limbo. The MN weather is schizophrenic this time of year. It’s cold one day and warm the next; raining today, snowing tomorrow. Couple that with the fact that organic berries are beginning to show their pretty little faces next to the winter squash at the market and I don’t know if how to eat. It makes me want to buy a can of pumpkin and bake something delicious one moment and consider going high raw the next.
Yesterday I made up my mind that even though it is snowing outside, the calendar says that it’s Spring! So I grabbed every fresh veggie we had in the fridge and threw together this beautiful salad featuring one of my favorite seasonal dressings. It’s been almost a year since I’ve whipped up this dressing that is inspired by the oh so talented Ashley.
On a side note, have you preordered Ashley’s gluten free cookbook, Baked Doughnuts For Everyone? If not, rush over to Amazon right now. Better yet, open the link in a new tab, finish reading this post and then buy her book. I’m impatient and don’t feel like waiting while you check out. But, trust me, her book is not going to disappoint!
So, back to the salad.
Honestly, this recipe can easily be adapted to the ingredients that you like and/or have on hand. Don’t have green onions? That’s ok, sub in red onion or a sweet onion. No mango? No problem! Unsweetened dried cranberries or cherries are amazing in this recipe.
Strawberries too spendy in your neck of the woods? No worries – add an apple, pear or orange. Have a can of garbanzo beans laying around? Throw them in instead of butter beans! See what I mean? Completely adaptable!
Prefer baby lettuce, spring mix or spinach over kale? Perfect! Just wait to dress the salad until you are ready to eat. Or better yet make cute salads in a jar and vacuum seal them to keep them fresh for your lunch pail all week long.
This really is a very simple recipe the hardest and most time consuming part of chopping all of the veggies. Aside from that the dressing and salad come together in 10 minutes flat.
For the base of this salad I used lacinato (aka dino) kale, which is a softer variety of kale that lends itself to raw applications. Like I said earlier, you can easily substitute any other green in this salad. To prep the kale i simply torn the leaves off of the thick stem into bite sized pieces and washed/dried it in my salad spinner.
To amp up the nutritional value of this salad I added a secret ingredient: raw, lactofermented sauerkraut. Now, I know what you’re thinking… Sauerkraut is stinky, sour and funky tasting. But honestly, raw sauerkraut is none of those things. It’s lightly salty, kind of sweet and completely addicting. It also amps up the nutritional profile of the salad because it is literally swimming with probiotics and beautiful microorganisms that help to build your gut flora and keep you healthy.
I cannot wait to make my own raw sauerkraut this summer, but this winter I have been purchasing the Bubbies brand from Whole Foods. I also like to add a little local, raw Kimchi to my salad, but because Matthew is not a fan of spicy foods I left it out of this one.
Next up is the Strawberry Mango Basil dressing. This stuff is serious business. Even Matthew scarfes down salad coated in this super low fat, ultimately healthy, outrageously delicious dressing. Even if you don’t make the salad, you MUST make this dressing!
I like to keep my salad dressings low in fat so that I can opt to pile on avocado, hemp seeds or other delicious fats. However, I did add a bit of cold-pressed walnut oil to aid in emulsification and add a few extra Omega 3 healthy fats to the mix. Feel free to omit the oil completely, as it wont influence the flavor or sub any organic, cold pressed healthy oil of your choice (EVOO, pumpkinseed oil and hemp oil would work beautifully).
You will notice that I did not add a grain/starch to my salad, like I usually suggest that you should. As you know, due to Luke’s food allergies I am limiting my starches and grains, so instead I opt to top my salads with an additional protein source (chicken, hard boiled eggs, tempeh, marinated tofu, etc.) along with an additional fat source (1/3 of an avocado, additional hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.) – you just have to do what works best for you. This salad would pair perfectly with 1 cup of cooked quinoa, millet or wheat berries.
Strawberry Mango Basil Kale Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: raw no bake vegetable toddler approved summer spring side salad entree dairy-free gluten-free high protein low-sodium nut-free soy-free vegan vegetarian
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
- 1/2 mango, diced
- 6 strawberries, quartered
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch kale, thick rib removed and torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 bunch diced green onion, white and light green parts only
- 15 ounce can organic, unsalted butter beans (in a BPA-free can)
- 3/4 cup raw lactofermented sauerkraut
- 1/4 basil, chiffonade
- Strawberry Mango Basil Dressing
Combine all of the ingredients in a very large bowl and add 2/3 – 3/4 of the dressing. Toss to coat, ensuring that every piece of kale is well coated. For softer results gently massage the dressing into the kale. Let the salad sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to further soften the kale.
Prior to serving add additional dressing, as desired.
Will keep several days in the fridge.
If using spinach, mixed greens or baby lettuce in place of the kale, do not add dressing until you are ready to serve.
Strawberry Mango Basil Dressing
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: raw no bake blender easy entree kitchen staple salad spring summer toddler approved dairy-free gluten-free low-fat low-sodium low-sugar vegan vegetarian
Ingredients (2 cups dressing)
- 1 cup diced mango
- 6 medium strawberries
- 1 tsp walnut oil, optional
- 3 tbsp raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1/2 orange
- 2 tbsp organic, local raw honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard (gluten-free, if necessary)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil or rosemary, optional
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. I used my Tribest personal blender with the mason jar attachment so that I could blend and store the dressing in the same container. Therefore only dirtying one dish. 🙂
Will keep in fridge for approximately 7 days – if it lasts that long!
Notes: Save time by using defrosted frozen mango and strawberries along with their juice. Feel free to sub the zest and juice (totaling 1/2 c liquid) of any citrus you can get your hands on: lemons, limes, oranges, clementines, etc.