Superfood Scavenger Salad~ (AIP & Wahlspaleo+)

Superfood Scavenger Salad 4Hunter.

Gatherer.

Scavenger.

This salad returns us to our roots by encouraging scavenging (also called wildcrafting) as a way to reintroduce wild superfoods into the living process.

Though a farmer’s market is an excellent place to source freshly picked vegetables, those garden-variety plants hardly resemble their wild forbears.

Neither do we~.

And that’s kind of the point.

During the 10 millennia that we’ve been agricultural, we’ve intentionally created food plants that are sweeter, larger and easier to grow. In the process, these plants have become mostly food.

They used to be powerful medicine.

The somewhat bitter, acrid or astringent flavour of many wild foods indicates a high level of phytonutrients. Alberto Villoldo, medical anthropologist, refers to these version 1.0 plants as information-dense foods.

He writes that food plants, especially plants in their wild state, are “master regulators of gene expression in humans”, and explains that microRNAs, strands of their genetic material, travel through the body, switching on the genes that create health and turning off the genes that create disease.

Like friendly genetic custodians, moving through the corridors of our bloodstream, ensuring everything is orderly and wholesome.

The Superfood Scavenger Salad~

This salad offers 3 of the most nutrient-dense foods from our agricultural tradition: spinach, broccoli and avocado, and allies these with whatever might be growing wild near you.

The scavenged element of your superfood salad will vary depending on the season and your region. You might find superfood plants in your yard. If you live in a highly urban environment, you might have to go afield to gather these elements.

Superfood Scavenger Salad gatheringsBut getting out of the city and as close to the wilds as you can is a healing practice unto itself. And learning about the edible plants that grow in your territory is an important survival skill.

In the Pacific Northwest, in the verdant month of June, it’s not hard to locate information-dense food plants. For my Superfood Scavenger Salad I gathered dandelion greens, rose petals and salmon berries near my house.

The rose petals are domestic, but I could have ranged a bit farther to gather dog rose petals, which are wholly wild.

When investigating edible plants it is important to distinguish between those that are truly nourishing, and those that may have been used historically for survival purposes in times of famine. The latter might be quite useful in keeping people alive, but may not confer the benefits that superfood plants do, and might have undesirable side-effects.

Superfood plants can include indigenous species (like the salmon berries I picked), as well as ‘invasive exotics’ (like dandelions), or garden plants (like the rose that lives next to my house).

Possibilities near you might include edible berries, flowers, ferns, seeds, roots, seaweed or mushrooms, as well as wild greens like sorrel, nettle tops (steam them before eating~!) and chickweed.

Obviously, don’t poison yourself.

Refer to a reliable guidebook or website. In an emergency, ask the plants themselves.

Superfood Scavenger Salad 3

Superfood Scavenger Salad (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoSuperfood Scavenger Salad 5

  • 1/2 lb (1 bunch) spinach leaves
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 cups superfood plants

First, gather your superfoods. Wash and prepare them for salad, as required.

Prepare your salad dressing (see recipe below, or use the Mason Jar Salad Dressing that’s always ready for action in your fridge).

If large, tear the spinach leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Slice the avocado.

Peel the broccoli stem if tough, and cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces.

Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, add the dressing and toss.

Let the microRNA custodians get started!

Superfood Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup MCT Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Himalyan Salt (or similar)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Herbs (such as Basil, Dill, Cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Combine the MCT Oil, Salt and Herbs in a mortar and pound with a pestle (or cut the herbs up fine & mix these ingredients in a bowl).

Add the Lemon Juice and Apple Cider Vinegar and mix thoroughly to combine.

Taste. Adjust ingredients until it tastes just right~.

Superfood Scavenger Salad

 

Mason Jar Salads (2 go!)

Mason jar salad 9Get ready for salads.

This salad only gets better as it marinates, so you can make it on a Sunday night and have salad to go (or ready & waiting for you at home) for the workweek ahead.

This is a bulk recipe. It makes 7 (seven!) big meal-sized salads. If your household isn’t likely to work it’s way though that much salad in 4 or 5 days, feel free to halve or quarter the recipe.

I’ve been adding dandelion greens. I pick a big handful of them in my yard & stuff them in the jar on top of the marinated vegetables before I go to work.

It feels subversive and wild to eat dandelion greens for lunch at work. Like I’m introducing a vital primordial antidote into an environment that is stressful and virtual.

Mason jar salad w dandelion greens

Subversive~

I suppose that is because I am.

According to Eileen at Phoenix Helix, dandelion greens have “twice the calcium, 3 times the vitamin A, 5 times the vitamins K and E, and 8 times more antioxidants” than spinach.

Plus, they’re fresh. And free.

Wahls Protocol

This salad covers all 3 vegetable categories for the Wahls Protocol:

  1. Sulfur-rich: broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, red cabbage and daikon radish;
  2. Coloured: celery & red cabbage;
  3. Greens: greens~!

Through my n=1 experimentation, I know that I’m optimized when I hit all three categories each day.

Each meal.

Workday Lunch

Mason jar salad 8

Mason Jar Salad, Victorious Offal Muffin & Avocado for lunch~

Mason Jar salads are my new scheme for work. With a Victorious Offal Muffin (which I make with pureed parsley instead of caramelized onion these days) & an avocado or a Hot Woman Shake, I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet at midday.

I alternate that lunch with Salmon Nori Wraps, and I feel like I’m hitting my bases.

To make this recipe you’ll need eight big mason jars. Seven of them should be the wide mouth variety.

If you don’t yet have your own Mason Jar collection, buy a case. They’re inexpensive and versatile.

They make great water bottles and have a small footprint, which is helpful if you are storing food, like maybe Emerald City Soup, in a crowded fridge.

I use a bunch of them every time I decant a batch of kombucha.

Mason Jar Salads (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoMason jar salad 7

  • ½ purple Cabbage
  • 1 head Broccoli
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 2 cups diced Daikon Radish
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4-6 stalks celery
  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • Dandelion greens or pre-washed spinach
  • ½ batch of Mason Jar Salad Dressing

Make a jar of salad dressing and it set aside.

Dice the Cabbage, Broccoli (including the stem ~peel it if tough), Cauliflower, Daikon, Onion and Celery and place in a large bowl. Mix to combine.

Pour half (or a little more) of the jar of salad dressing over the diced vegetables and toss until thoroughly coated.

Divide the vegetable mixture evenly between seven wide mouthed mason jars.

If there is dressing left in the bottom of the bowl, pour it over the first two jars.

There should be a nice gap between the marinating vegetables and the top of each jar.

Next, use scissors to remove the tough kale stems and to cut the leaves into small pieces. Push these into the tops of 3-4 jars.

Refrigerate. Each day, reverse  the jars (heads, tails & back again) so that the marinade gets to bathe all the vegetables.

Eat the kale topped salads first.

For the jars without kale, press as many dandelion greens or spinach as you can into the top of the jar on your way out the door. Before serving, give the jar a shake to cover the greens with dressing before you pour your beautiful salad on a plate.

Infinitely Expandable Salad Variation

If you have a friend you want to feed, chop a head of lettuce into a salad bowl. Add your jar of marinated vegetables. Add more dressing from your mason jar, or squeeze a lemon or two over top. Toss & share.

Mason jar salad 2

 

 

Mason Jar Salad Dressing

Mason jar salad dressing 2.2Mason jars are the new duct tape.

In that, almost any problem be solved with a good collection of mason jars.

At least the problem presented by the inability to buy bottled salad dressing on the autoimmune protocol is solved so beautifully with a mason jar that I wonder why I ever, ever bought the bottled kind.

Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Aminos & seasoning is all you need to ensure you are salad-ready ~anytime.

A salad does not need to be complex. Two or more vegetables, perhaps some olives or capers & your mason jar dressing. Voila!

Simple

Call it a salad!

Mason Jar Salad Dressing (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoMason jar salad dressing

  • 1½ cups Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ cup Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan Salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Basil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Sea Vegetable Flakes

Put all ingredients in a 1 liter (1 quart) mason jar.

Put the lid on the jar & shake.

Store in the refrigerator.

The olive oil will solidify when cold. Just be sure to remove the dressing when you start assembling your salad to give it time to warm up & then give it a good shake before you pour it on. If you need to hasten the olive oil you can set the jar in a bowl of warm water.

Salad makes everything better…

Sichuan Ginger Cucumber (AIP & Wahlspaleo+)

Cucumber partyThis is an adaptation of a recipe from Homemade in Hong Kong. Though not an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)  blog, I follow it because every so often Jun & Priscilla post fabulous regional recipes like Sichuan Seaweed Salad (which I intend to adapt for the AIP one day) or Mung Bean Seaweed Dessert soup (which I don’t have any intention of adapting, but I am nevertheless fascinated by).

It’s garlic harvest time in my land and cucumbers are superabundant, so this recipe makes perfect sense.smash

Though the original version called for peppercorns & chilies, the green onion, garlic & ginger combo in this AIP-friendly variation will still give you a bite!

Plus it’s totally cathartic to smash a cucumber into roadkill…Roadkill cucumber

Sichuan Ginger Cucumber (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

 from petra8paleoCucumber

Dressing

  • 1 finger of fresh Ginger, peeled & minced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled & minced
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon Coconut Aminos
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt (or similar)

Salad

  • 1 large English Cucumber
  • 2 green onions, sliced

garlic & gingerHeat the Coconut Oil, minced Ginger & minced Garlic in a small saucepan until the oil is liquid & the spices are sizzling. Turn off the heat.

Add the Balsamic Vinegar, Coconut Aminos and Salt.

Let the dressing marinate while you smash the cucumber.

First things first: put on an apron.

Then, using the flat side of a large cleaver (or, alternately, Jun and Priscilla at Homemade in Hong Kong suggest the bottom of a pan) smash the cucumber. To achieve an authentically Sichuan salad, Jun and Priscilla recommend that you “really flatten it like roadkill”.

Chop the smashed cucumber into small pieces & put it in a serving bowl with the sliced green onion.

Add the dressing & stir vigorously to coat.

Eat immediately or chill for later.

Variation: Use olive oil. It won’t have the same coconut coating, but it’ll still taste great.

w Olive oil

With Olive Oil

 

Salad of Robust Greens, Roasted Garlic & Lemon (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

Collards & Kale“In a totally frictionless world, everything would just appear as soon as it was imagined.” ~David Allen.

greensI like to think about a frictionless world, one in which salad!, health! and a Hawaiian beach! appear as soon as I think of them.

The best way I have found to reduce friction is to eat great food. Sleep really helps, too.

We can’t eliminate friction, just find ways to reduce it’s drag.

That’s what this salad does. I could call it ‘Friction Reduction Salad’ but that would be a little esoteric.

Instead let’s have:

Salad of Robust Greens, Roasted Garlic & Lemon (AIP & WahlsPaleo+)

  • Difficulty: a mild amount, all things considered
  • Print
 from petra8paleo

  • 1 bunch robust greens: collards &/or the more emphatic types of kale
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 3 green onions, sliced

Garlic Lemon Dressing

  • 1 entire head garlic
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1 teaspoon sea vegetable flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 400

First roast the garlic.

Use a muffin tin to roast multiple heads, otherwise a small ramekin is perfect for just one.

Cut ½ an inch off the top of the head to expose all the cloves. Remove the excess papery skin from the outside. Pour 1½ teaspoons of the melted coconut oil over the exposed cloves, cover with tin foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, zest the lemon, then squeeze the juice.

You want about 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Combine the lemon juice, zest, salt & sea vegetable flakes (if using) with the remaining melted coconut oil. If you use a wee jelly jar, you can put the lid on & shake it.

Cut the thick stems out of the greens with scissors, and then roll the greens to cut them into ribbons or bite sized pieces.

Put them in a bowl, add the dressing mixture and get in there & massage the dressing into the greens with your hands. Get really handsy with it: you’ll hear the cellular structure start to break down.

Then add the sliced green onion & cucumber. Toss.

When the garlic is roasted, press it out of its papery skins onto the salad. It’s hot work: use the tin foil to hold the head & squeeze out every last bit of garlic.

The hot garlic will reactivate the liquidity of the coconut oil, so it’s good toss the salad for a spell until everything is well-coated with garlicky dressing.

Grilled grapefruit & spinach salad (AIP-friendly, moderate-FODMAP)

Grapefruit spinach saladComplicated salad with intricate dressings are hypothetical in my world.  They look pretty in the picture but that’s where they stay. Simple salad can be equally theoretical because I just know ahead of time it’ll be boring. Lettuce. In winter.

This salad isn’t conjectural in either the over-elaborate or the boring-simple way. It could totally happen, in real-life. It did happen, even when I was sick. And it made me feel better.

[Subsequent to posting this recipe I have learned that 1/2 a grapefruit rates as a ‘moderate’ FODMAP. Though grapefruit shows up on some low-FODMAP lists, I am now using the FODMAP booklet from the Monash University in Australia as my resource (they also have apps for phones). Substitute orange for the grapefruit in this recipe to restore it’s low-FODMAP status.]

  • I grapefruit, cut in half, seeds removed
  • 8-10 cups (loosely packed) baby spinach
  • 1 long English cucumber, sliced
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (the good stuff: no sulphites)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt (or similar)

Section the grapefruit halves with a sharp knife & put them, cut side up, in a baking dish. Pour 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into each. The vinegar should fill the grapefruit to the brim. Put the grapefruit under the broiler at 500 for 15 minutes or until very hot & slightly seared on top. Keep an eye on them: broilers vary.

Meanwhile place the spinach and sliced cucumber in a salad bowl.

Put the remaining balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons), the olive oil & the salt in a small container with lid.

When the grapefruit is ready, scoop the hot flesh onto the salad with a spoon & squeeze the juice into the dressing. Add any caramelized balsamic vinegar from the baking pan to the dressing, then put on the lid on & shake until emulsified.

Pour over the salad & toss.

(Keep in mind that grapefruit can interact with some medications.)

Emerald City Soup

Making salad is time consuming. But you know you need to get to the city of greens if you are going to be paleo-awesome.

Eating salad is also time consuming. Really. In my early paleo days I was all about the rapid weight loss and I didn’t really know what I was doing so here was my protocol:

  • Three salads a day. Each salad accompanied by one of those infuriatingly small deck-of-cards-sized portions of meat. Each salad consisted of infinite lettuce and just one cup of low carb veg. Like cucumber, celery & radishes. I was buying lettuce like a madwoman and consuming massive party-sized salads three times a day. I lost 75lbs in 5 months and I will not lie, I spent all of my discretionary time during those months making & eating salad.

I still think it was a good strategy for me at the time, but I want to do other things with my discretionary time now. Like run, do hot yoga, read, write, have fun with Matthew, go for walks with my girlfriends, and try to get my teenagers to hang out with me. That’s my yellow brick road.

I still make salads, a couple of times a week, but I’ve streamlined. Now I’m as likely to make a raw soup, like this one:

Emerald City Soup

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 handfuls spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 green onions
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 1 litre (4 cups/1 large mason jarful) water
  • A shake of Himalayan salt
  • A generous shake of Chinese 5 spice
  • A pinch of cayenne
  • 1 cup watermelon cubes (optional)

Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and hit play. Taste and adjust seasonings. Eat now or chill for later.

If you are on a dramatic weight loss kick, you might want to omit the watermelon temporarily.

Gazpacho variation

Use a good amount of tomatoes & some bell pepper rather than avocado and spinach.

Eliminate the water & coconut aminos. Add a splash of olive oil.

Your variation

Remove what you don’t like or what you don’t have.

Add what you do like and do have.

Get fancy

 Chop parsley or cilantro or watercress finely with a clove of garlic and some (organic) lemon, lime or orange peel. Sprinkle generously on each bowl before serving.

Get going

Fill a mason canning jar, screw the lid on tight, toss it in your purse (or similar) and get started on your adventure.

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