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Most of us tend to eat a heavier diet during winter and even those who eat predominantly raw foods often tend to include cooked items to some degree during the cooler weather. So when the first days of spring arrive, the change of season invites a return to a fresher and lighter approach.
Spring is the perfect time to adopt a more cleansing diet with an emphasis on a higher intake of raw foods, especially leafy greens, which help to wake up the liver a period of lower activity. Adding more fresh salads to your diet is one of the ways you can enjoy consuming an abundance of raw greens as the weather shifts to support detoxification of the body.
This salad recipe offers a healthy and nourishing way to usher in the early days of spring. The base is a combination of butter lettuce with other soft and tender leafy greens, which are easy to digest. For this salad, I like to use Organic Girl protein greens or mache blend, but any tender leafy greens like baby spinach or other types of lettuce are fine. It is supported by the addition of crisp cucumber and slivered carrots. I used white carrots when making this salad but any color you prefer will work.
The salad is then topped with sliced strawberries, which are generally just coming into season in March and April. Strawberries are also an excellent food for the liver. In traditional Chinese medicine, they are said to stimulate a sluggish liver and assist with the elimination of toxins. They are rich in vitamin C and can help enhance immunity during a seasonal transition.
I added fresh blackberries as well as goji berries, which are traditionally used to cleanse the liver and protect it from toxins, playing a protective role against liver cancer. They also add a nice chewy textural element to the salad.
To create a light and refreshing dressing, hemp seeds are blended with lemon juice and fresh mint leaves. Hempseeds are a fantastic source of healthy fats containing a perfect balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They are also rich in protein and provide a wide range of key nutrients including vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.
In fact, this recipe contains about 24 percent of your daily needs for calcium and 53 percent of the requirement for iron, along with a full complement of essential fatty acids that well exceeds the daily recommended intake. It also provides a generous 23 grams of protein in each serving.
The dressing is creamy and delicious, yet contains no added oils, which is important when your goal is to cleanse the liver and reduce the burden on your gallbladder. While healthy fats are important it is best to obtain them from whole foods, rather than processed oils, which are lacking in the complete spectrum of micronutrients necessary for their optimal utilization.
I love the addition of fresh mint leaves to the salad dressing, which adds a bright fragrance and gentle stimulation to the palate. It pairs beautifully with the strawberries for a refreshing salad to welcome the beginning of spring!
- 1/2 cup hempseeds
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 medjool date
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups butter lettuce
- 2 cups mixed baby greens
- 1 cup strawberries sliced
- 1 carrot slivered
- 1 cup cucumber sliced
- 6 blackberries
- 1 tablespoon goji berries
- 1 tablespoon hempseeds
- First, make the dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- To prepare salad tear lettuce into rough pieces and place in a salad bowl with mixed baby greens.
- Shave carrot into slivers using a vegetable peeler and place on top.
- Peel cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, then slice into half-moons and arrange on top of the greens.
- Then arrange blackberries on top and sprinkle the salad with goji berries and hempseeds.
- To serve place half of the salad dressing in the bowl and toss well to combine.
- Enjoy immediately.
I hope you enjoy this salad.