Summery Superfood Salad Bar
It's my pleasure to introduce another friend of the OAC, Jennifer Zimmer. She is both a wife and mother of six, as well as a certified holistic health coach and passionate "foodie." She and her husband, Lance are always finding delicious and creative ways to make enticing, healthy, whole food recipes at home. Here is one of her latest inspirations. Enjoy!
Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer’s year—
it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.
Summery Superfood Salad Bar
Summertime in the garden makes eating for health a breeze. Kale, cucumbers, and carrots. Citrus and berries of all kinds. Garlic and fresh herbs. Our senses are awakened by the colors, smells, and sweet flavors available to us. All that we crave is cool and refreshing.
And that’s precisely what nature delivers.
There are many ways to cleanse the body, but my favorite detoxification “tool” is clean, in-season cuisine. It only makes sense that sustainable, good health would come from equally sustainable, good food.
My husband and I are about two weeks into a 30-day detox. The term “detox” may conjure up feelings of deprivation in some, but for us it has been anything but that. All the flavors of summer have kept our food-savvy selves fully satisfied while our bodies have easily shed a few pounds. And who doesn’t want that this time of year?
The challenge of feeding our family of eight while staying true to our value for clean eating leads me to the crowd-pleasing food bar on a regular basis. Baked potato bars, burrito bars, soup and salad bars all frequent our kitchen. This enables our younger members to make food choices for themselves with little to no complaining; every parent’s dream!
As we approach the hottest heat wave of the year so far, the salad bar becomes the go-to meal in our home. And where the in-season salad is concerned, the possible combinations are endless. What I want to share with you is a summer-themed salad bar. This meal offers not only flavorful in-season ingredients, but also powerful antioxidants and detoxifying superfoods.
Just take a look…
Almonds: If you want the most nutrition-packed nut out there, almonds are for you! A one-ounce serving provides 3.4 grams of fiber as well as plenty of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron.
Avocados: Avocados are a perfect cleansing food as they help the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals while helping us feel satisfied with healthy fats.
Berries: These are some of our favorite summertime superstars, packed with low-glycemic sweetness, fiber, and powerful cancer-fighting compounds.
Chia seeds: Plenty of essential fatty acids, fiber, and vital minerals are available to us in these tiny seeds.
Cucumbers: Low in calories but high in water content, the alkaline-forming cucumber helps flush out toxins from the body.
Kale: Packed with more antioxidants than just about any vegetable out there, kale also offers much-needed iron, calcium, and fiber. We need at least 25 mg of fiber per day, so eat up!
Lemons: Restoring healthy pH levels and stimulating the liver, lemons are a MUST when cleansing.
Quinoa: These slight seeds (yes, a seed--not grain) are anything but slight on nutrition. Quinoa boasts eight grams of protein per cup and all nine essential amino acids!
Spinach: This early summer veggie packs up to 12% of our recommended daily dose of calcium and enough vitamin K to help prevent bone loss in only one cup of greens! And, along with all dark leafy greens, spinach is an impressive anti-inflammatory food.
So let’s put this all together in salad bar form, no measuring required. Simply set out your bowls of choice, choose your ingredients from the following and fill ‘em up! If you don’t have all of the ingredients on this list, feel free to improvise with what you have on hand. You can’t really go wrong here.
Kale (baby kale is more tender), torn into bite-sized pieces
Spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
Raw, unsalted almonds, chopped or sliced
Carrots, washed and grated
Cucumbers, washed and sliced
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries
Avocado, sliced or diced
Quinoa, preferably cooked in chicken or vegetable stock
Grilled wild salmon or chicken (optional)
*This is just to get you started! Other foods we’ve put out for this salad are brown rice, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese to give you a few ideas.
Let’s top this off with a light and lemony olive-oil based salad dressing:
Lemon Basil Chia Seed Dressing
1 cup fresh basil, loosely packed
1 cup olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
1 tbsp honey or 2 drops liquid stevia
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Blend together until smooth (I like to use my immersion blender), then stir in chia seeds. Refrigerate until ready to use.
When we find a meal that our entire family enjoys, we deem it a WINNER DINNER. And this salad won that label from the first time we offered it to our children. They have continued to request it as a new family dinner favorite. We hope that your family enjoys the flavors and the health benefits of this summer garden bouquet just as much as we do!