Why greens are a spring staple, and 3 recipes to boost your intake
Spring is such a wonderful time of year - the days are getting longer, the weather is heating up, and everything feels like it’s coming alive, including our new cravings and desire for fresh, healthy, detoxifying meals.
I love incorporating salads at this time of year. Since spring is a time our bodies naturally want to detoxify from the heavy winter, greens are a staple as we transition into this season. Here’s why:
They’re high in fibre:
Fibre is essential for detoxification - not only does it help you have healthy bowel movements to rid your body of excess toxins, it can also decrease cholesterol and help manage your weight due to the way it helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after meals. Additionally, fibre helps your body remove cellular and digestive byproducts.
They’re rich in micronutrients:
Greens contain three nutritional powerhouses: folate, iron, calcium and vitamin k. Here’s why this matters:
Folate: this nutrient is often lacking in our diets, and its deficiency is attributed to increased risk of heart disease, stroke and depression. Often destroyed through cooking, ensure that you incorporate raw greens or just slightly steamed. Tip: If you have a difficult time digesting raw food, take a digestive enzyme prior to meals, or a tsp of apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water.
Iron: greens are chock-full of iron, a nutrient that helps our cells produce energy.
Calcium and vitamin k: to keep our bones strong and healthy, it’s important we have a calcium and vitamin k. The combination of both nutrients help to keep calcium in your bones while helping to protect your cardiovascular health.
They contain cancer-fighting phytonutrients:
Since free radical oxidation is thought to be responsible for the negative effects of aging and cancer, the antioxidants found in greens, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, may help to prevent harmful oxidation of free radicals to help your body ward of disease.
Here are three spring salad recipes using greens as this season’s staple:
Super Green Detox Salad
1 Cucumber chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper chopped
Sprouts or Baby Greens
1 Tbs Hemp Seeds
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tbs Tamari
1/2 Tbs Maple Syrup
1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro packed
1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley packed
1/2 Tbs Fresh Oregano
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper
Start by making the dressing. Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Chop cucumber and bell pepper.
To assemble the salad, mix the greens, bell pepper, and cucumber. Top with sprouts and sprinkle with hemp seeds. Top with as much dressing as desired.
Spring Detox Cauliflower Salad
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
chili powder, salt, and pepper
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 apple, sliced thin
1 shallot, sliced thin
a handful of parsley and mint, chopped
2 firm avocados, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
juice and zest of one lime
salt and pepper, to taste
Chickpeas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Roast for 20-30 minutes until crispy and browned.
Cauliflower prep: Working in batches, run the cauliflower florets through a food processor until you get “rice” – it should take about 20-30 pulses.
Dressing: Shake up all the ingredients in a jar, or whisk together. Taste and adjust.
Assembly: Toss everything together. That’s it!
Spring Mix Salad with Blueberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
5 oz Spring mix
1 cup Blueberries
1/2 cup Walnuts (chopped, preferably toasted)
1/2 cup Goat cheese (crumbled)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp blueberries
Honey, sweetened to taste
Sea salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
To make the dressing, puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. (*See note about sweetness.)
Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing.