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Indian Summer Salad

Finally, a recipe! For those of you who didn’t know, I was organizing my kitchen this week, which resulted in a lot of anxiety and not a lot of cooking. But everything is finally back in order, and just in time for the holidays. Alas, now I can actually make something semi-presentable for blogging.

Yesterday was unseasonably warm for DC, probably one of the last warm days we’ll get for a while. I was inspired by the sun to create a salad  full of flavor and everything that reminds me of summer, hence the name. Have you noticed that you crave more raw foods like salad when it’s nice outside? I personally believe it’s your body’s way of telling you to eat seasonally. Fresh produce is usually at its peak during the warmer months, which means your fruits and vegetables will taste even better. So enjoy salads loaded with raw vegetables in the summer! And don’t be afraid to make your own veggie soups and other hot healthy dishes as it gets colder.

This salad is great for lunch or dinner; often I’ll add a little protein like some grilled chicken or a couple hard boiled eggs. Moreover, this salad is packed with nutrients. Greens like arugula are very rich in sulfur. A high sulfur content is actually what gives arugula that peppery taste! Sulfur is one of the most overlooked ingredients for health, especially the skin. Minerals like sulfur are essential for controlling acne/breakouts and giving your skin a youthful glow. Between the greens, the vitamin-C packed yellow bell pepper, the lycopene-filled grape tomatoes, and the mineral-rich cucumber, this is a salad that will truly make you beautiful from the inside out.

One last note about the dressing. It’s great if you eat salad, but if you do I HIGHLY recommend making your own dressings. Most conventional salad dressings, even those found in natural or health food stores, are often loaded with artificial ingredients and rancid oils. Don’t worry, you don’t need to make anything fancy, a splash of olive oil and lemon juice is perfectly fine. But when that get’s old I’ve provided you with a great salad dressing! This dressing feels rich and creamy without all the added fat or dairy. Better yet, this dressing keeps for 3-4 days, meaning you’ll have enough for salads all week!

indian summer salad

Arugula Indian Summer Salad with Homemade Herb de Provence Dressing

Serves 1 (with leftover dressing for many salads throughout the week!)

For the salad:

  • 2 cups arugula 
  • handful cherry tomatoes
  • half bell pepper, sliced (I used yellow)
  • 1/3 of a medium cucumber, sliced

For the dressing:

  • 1 small plum tomato
  • 1/3 of a medium cucumber (about the same size as the tomato)
  • 1 tsp Herb de Provence
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp water (if needed to thin it out)

Directions:

Obviously, the assembly of this recipe is pretty self-explanatory. Arrange the veggies however which way you choose. I personally love a nice presentation for my salads–it makes them so much more fun to eat!

For the dressing, blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor. I actually used my Vitamix for this, thus showing the versatility of this high speed blender. (It’s not just for green smoothies!) Store the dressing in an airtight container. It should keep for 3-4 days. Remember to give it a gentle shake before using it.

  indian summer salad 2 cropped

 

This is honestly a go-to salad for me at least once a week. I love the flavor combination, plus I know that this is really good for me. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different salad greens. Use kale or swiss chard as a base. Try cutting your veggies into different shapes that are fun to eat. Or add a handful of fruit to your salad! This is great technique to keep your taste buds excited. Finally, remember that salads don’t need to be green-based. You can certainly use legumes/beans, cooked root vegetables, or fruits as the base of any salad. As always, it’s your salad and it’s your body. Do what works for you!

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