By Dr. Mercola
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or you simply want to start eating healthy, a bowl of freshly made salad is a great choice.
But before you start thinking of buying prepackaged green salads at the grocery, let me share with you one of my many favorite green salad recipes. Healthy is an understatement with this one — just have a look at its ingredients and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Check out my Crisp and Crunchy Green Salad recipe:
For the Salad:
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 whole avocado, chopped into chunks
- 1 cup sunflower seed sprouts
- 1 medium tomato, chopped into small pieces
- 1 medium cucumber
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
For the Dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Rip or cut the lettuce leaves and place them in a big bowl.
- Cut remaining vegetables and place in the bowl with lettuce.
- Toast pine nuts in an un-oiled skillet on medium heat for four to five minutes until lightly browned.
- Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar, then add the crushed garlic. Pour over salad and serve immediately.
From Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type
Crisp and Crunchy Green Salad Cooking Tips
This green salad recipe is so easy to prepare, and you can enjoy it any time you wish – whether as a refreshing pick-me-up snack or a quick grab-and-go meal you can pack and eat in the office. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of this healthy recipe:
- Make your own salad dressing. Majority of store-brought salad dressings are more often than not overloaded with high amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, highly processed omega-6 oils, and other harmful additives. Whipping up your own salad dressing at home will give you the peace of mind that there’s no processed ingredient lurking in your food.
Another alternative that I highly recommend is mixing fermented vegetables like kimchi or sauerkraut with your greens. This is what I do with my salad all the time. This way, I’m not only getting that lactic acid, vinegar-like flavor, but trillions of beneficial microbes and a very significant dose of vitamin K2 as well.
- Pump up the nutrition value of your salad by adding homegrown sprouts. Among the easiest foods to grow at home are sprouts. And as luck would have it, they’re also among the most nutritious and they’re an excellent addition to a fresh bowl of salad.
Homegrown sprouts have radically improved the nutrition of my own primary meal, which is, as I mentioned earlier, a salad at lunch. They’re also a perfect complement to fermented vegetables. It is hard to imagine a healthier combination that provides the essentials of nutrition, and at a very low cost.
- Peel your avocado the right way. How you peel your avocado can affect how much of its valuable phytonutrients you get. UCLA research has shown that the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids, for example, is located in the dark green fruit closest to the inside of the peel.
In 2010, the California Avocado Commission issued guidelines for getting the most out of your avocado by peeling it the right way. To preserve the area with the greatest concentration of antioxidants, you’re best off peeling the avocado with your hands, as you would a banana:
- First, cut the avocado lengthwise, around the seed
- Holding each half, twist them in the opposite directions to separate them from the seed
- Remove the seed
- Cut each half, lengthwise
- Using your thumb and index finger, simply peel the skin off each piece
Get only raw organic nuts that are not irradiated or pasteurized. Remember that pasteurized almonds sold in North America can still be labeled “raw” even though they’ve been subjected to oil roasting, dry roasting, blanching, or other types of pasteurization method.
A self-confessed salad lover myself, I make sure I’m well stocked and have all the necessary ingredients within reach all the time. To keep your green salad ingredients fresher longer, here are some of my tried-and-tested tips:
- Salad greens – Store salad greens in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and add a paper towel to help absorb moisture. A salad spinner will also help remove excess moisture – the key culprit in wilting leaves – from your greens.
- Tomatoes – Keep tomatoes at room temperature and away from sunlight, in a single layer with the stem side up. Don’t put them in plastic bags, which will cause them to spoil faster.
- Avocado – When storing chopped avocado or guacamole, leave the pit in, spritz it with some lemon juice or olive oil, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge. This will help keep it from turning brown.
- Nuts – Keep your nuts inside an airtight Mason jar and store them in the freezer.
Crisp and Crunchy Green Salad Nutrition Facts Calories 370 Fat 34 g Carbohydrates 16 g Protein 8 g
Why Is Crisp and Crunchy Green Salad Good for You?
Most people buy into the idea that eating any green salad recipe is going to make them healthy. But let me tell you why my Crisp and Crunchy Green Salad recipe is a cut above the rest, because it contains:
- Avocado – According to the California Avocado Commission, a medium Hass avocado contains about:
- 22.5 grams of fat, two-thirds of which is monounsaturated
- 3 grams of total carbohydrate
- Less than one gram of fructose per one ounce serving
The fact that avocados are so low in fructose is another great boon of this fruit. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including:
- Fiber (approximately eight percent of your daily recommended intake)
- Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
Due to its healthy fats, avocado also enables your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients (such as alpha- and beta-carotene, and lutein) from any other food eaten in conjunction with it. A 2005 study found that adding avocado to salad allowed the volunteers to absorb three to five times more carotenoids, which are antioxidant molecules that help protect your body against free radical damage.
- Pine nuts – As they say, big things come in small packages. Do not be deceived by this small treat. Aside from being undeniably delicious, pine nuts are also full of wonderful health benefits. Studies have shown that with the powerhouse of beneficial nutrients it has, pine nuts can help suppress your appetite, boost your energy, reduce your heart disease risk, combat harmful free radicals, and improve your eyesight.
Different types of nuts offer a slightly different mix of nutrients for your health. To get the best of them, I suggest munching on a variety of nuts rather than sticking to just one. Apart from pine nuts, I
- Sunflower seed sprouts – Sprouts are excellent sources of fiber, manganese, riboflavin, and copper, along with smaller but significant amounts of protein, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Sprouts also can contain up to 100 times more enzymes than raw fruits and vegetables, allowing your body to extract more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fats from the foods you eat.
Some of the most commonly sprouted beans, nuts, seeds, and grains are listed below. My personal favorites are pea and sunflower sprouts, which have the added benefit of providing some of the highest-quality protein you can eat.
Broccoli: known to have anti-cancer properties, courtesy of the enzyme sulforaphane Alfalfa: a significant dietary source of phytoestrogens. Also a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K Wheatgrass: high in vitamins B, C, E, and many minerals Mung bean: a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins C and A Clover: a significant source of isoflavones Lentil sprouts: contain 26 percent protein, and can be eaten without cooking Sunflower: contains minerals, healthy fats, essential fatty acids, fiber, and phytosterols. It’s also one of the highest in protein content Pea shoots: a good source of vitamins A and C and folic acid and one of the highest in protein content