Brain Food: Sardine Avocado Citrus Salad

This is an awesome little salad that comes together quickly and easily scales for just one to a crowd. The oily sardines are cut by the citrus and the avocado adds a nice creamy factor. To make the salad feel more like a dinner menu item I saute an onion and at the very end add the sardines to heat them up. Then I use the sardine oil, plus a little balsamic vinegar and sherry to make a simple dressing. That’s it. All of 15 minutes and you’re ready to eat.

Saute the onions or leeks in the tablespoon of fat. Add a little salt and pepper to taste, but go easy on the salt as the sardines are naturally salty too.
While the onions are sauteing open the sardine tins. Drain the olive oil into a small bowl. When the onions are done turn off the burner and set the sardines into the pan so they can heat up a bit. You want the sardines whole, so don’t stir them in.
To make the salad dressing mix the oil from the sardines with half a tablespoon of each sherry and balsamic vinegar. Combine with a fork or whisk.
Place 3 cups of greens onto each dinner plate. Add the avocado and orange on top. Divide the sauteed onion/leeks between each plate and top with the sardines.
Serve with the dressing on the side.

Sprouted Black Eyed Pea Summer Salad

This is a great recipe to use when your garden is bursting with cucumbers and tomatoes or when you just need a tastes of summer. It’s also an easy dish to take to potlucks and gatherings. You can make it ahead and refrigerate and it tastes even better. This recipe is very forgiving. If you have more or less of something or another garden favorite, you can adjust freely.

Combine black eyed peas*, cucumber, tomatoes, pepper and parsley in a medium bowl.
Add olive oil to coat.
Add lime juice and salt to taste.
Can be served immediately or refrigerated to allow flavors to marry.

To sprout black eyed peas, rinse thoroughly. Cover with warm filtered water, place a lid on vessel, and allow to soak for 2-4 hours. Drain completely. Rinse with fresh filtered water and drain completely. Replace lid and place in a warm spot. Repeat the rinse and drain 3 times a day until sprouted.

Brain Food: Warm Butternut Chickpea Salad

This salad is a full meal. It has warm spiced butternut squash with chickpeas and a tahini dressing over mixed lettuce.

Start by preheating your oven to 425. In a large bowl toss the butternut squash and garlic cloves with all spice, coconut oil and sea salt. Arrange the mixture on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes or until the squash has browned and is fork tender.
While the butternut is baking make the dressing. Combine the minced garlic, lemon juice, tahini, water and oil. Depending on my mood and how thick the tahini is I either run it through the food processor or whisk by hand. Add up to 2 tablespoons more water if the mixture isn’t the consistency you would like.
To plate place three cups of greens on a dinner plate. Heap 1/3 of the warm butternut squash in center. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of chickpeas and 1/3 of the red onion on top. Drizzle a generous amount of dressing on top and garnish with 1/3 cup cilantro.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Tastes like a light version of fall 🙂

Separate the seeds (arils) from the pith of a pomegranate. Discard the pith, put the seeds in a food processor. Strain out the juice and discard the remaining solids.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the juice. Pour into small dressing bottle
Shake before serving.

Honey-Mustard-Flax Seed Salad Dressing

We never buy salad dressings. They are expensive and often have scary ingredients. Plus, salad dressing is one of the easiest things to make!

I’ve been making Honey-Mustard dressing for a few years. This new version, with the addition of flax seed, is even more nutritious, adding omega-3 essential fatty acids. The flax also gives it more “body”. It’s just nicer all around!

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until well combined and the seeds are nicely ground up. Pour into a glass jar, put on a lid and refrigerate.

Nutritious, easy, economical, and delicious!

Canned Salmon Salad with Cucumber

A delicious cold salad with enough meat to make this salad a meal. Full of colors and flavors, this salad is very tasty.

Drain the salmon and lightly shred into a bowl, discarding any bones that aren’t soft.
Add the cucumber, onion, tomato and avocado. Give it a light toss.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir to evenly coat. The flavors in this salad intensify overnight. This can be used on sandwiches or wraps if desired.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Fresh. That’s what this salad says. Crunchy bites of cucumber and onion paired with juicy tomatoes, pungent olives and salty feta provides a mouth watering and satisfying salad. This Mediterranean quinoa salad will be a perfect side dish at any summer potluck, but is plenty big enough to stand on it’s own as a main course.

Rinse quinoa thoroughly until water runs clear and no bubbles appear.
Cover with at least 2 inches of warm water and add acidic medium (whey, lemon juice, vinegar). Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours*.
Drain. Add to sauce pan along with a scant 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
Combine remaining ingredients, except lemon and oil, with cooked and cooled quinoa. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the salad and drizzle the olive oil. Toss until ingredients are well-combined.
Refrigerate until serving. Can be made a day in advance and keeps for several days in the fridge, if it lasts that long.

*Read more about soaking grains, nuts and legumes for better nutrition in the book Nourishing Traditions.

Watermelon Salad with Lime and Mint

This is a quick and refreshing watermelon salad to bring to your next barbecue or picnic. Lime and mint give this salad a mojito-like flavor with a watermelon twist. Be sure to serve ice-cold for best results!

Toss cubed watermelon with lime juice and chopped mint. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Right before serving, sprinkle lightly with salt.

Fresh Summer Salad with Roquefort Cheese

Even though the time for fresh lettuce is past because of hotter temperatures, it is still possible to make a wonderful salad from fresh ingredients bought at your local Farmer’s Market, or harvested from your own garden. There are other vegetables that could be added to, or substituted in this recipe, i.e. kohlrabi, turnips, snap peas, onions, broccoli, and also other fresh herbs would do nicely, such as Rosemary, thyme or marjoram. Experiment with what you can source or have on hand and enjoy!

Combine all ingredients, stir gently, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad

Beans are so healthy, they have it all; the fiber, the protein, lots of vitamins, minerals and protective phyto-chemicals. Neutralize the phytic acid, which blocks absorption of some of the minerals, with just a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup of beans in the the soaking liquid for 12-24 hours. Of coarse they cook up faster this way too. Black beans are so versatile as they are fairly small and become soft while holding their shape. I added quinoa to my salad, another power house, which is totally optional. It should be soaked and cooked separately. I bet avocado would be good in this too. I love the light dressing, it brightens the flavor of the salad/salsa.

Whisk together garlic, vinegar, oil, honey and spices to form a dressing. Combine all other ingredients, pour dressing over and toss. Serve as a side dish alone, with chips or in tacos. The flavors meld if you can stand to wait 30 minutes.
*Editor’s Note: To prepare quinoa, first run under cold water thoroughly to clean off the bitter-tasting saponin coating. Next, soak for 12-24 hours on the counter with enough water to cover, plus 1 Tbsp per cup of raw apple cider vinegar or live whey. Cook as directed, but they will cook up a little faster since they have been pre-soaked.

Ginger Carrot Raisin Slaw

Kids love this sweet and savory crunchy carrot salad. It’s a nice alternative to the traditional cabbage slaw. Simple to make and tastes even better after a day to marinate.

Grate the carrots by hand or using the grater attachment on a food processor or mandolin. Toss with the celery, onion, ginger, raisins and apples.
Mix in the homemade mayonnaise (try this [url=””]easy no-fail mayo recipe[/url]). Season with unrefined sea salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.