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Spring is the perfect time to focus on including more fresh raw vegetables in your diet. These high-enzyme foods naturally cleanse the liver, which can benefit from being activated after the heavier meals that we tend to gravitate towards during the cooler months.
As spring arrives our body is ready to let go of accumulated toxins. Fresh greens begin to sprout and nature provides exactly what is needed.
Even though I live in South-East Asia at the moment and we don’t have typical seasons, we’re currently located on a small island, and a lot of our vegetables are imported. So based on what was available at our local store I was inspired by the idea of spring to create this salad.
This recipe features raw veggies available during spring – arugula, fennel, radishes, and carrots. These are combined with quinoa, avocado, and pumpkin seeds to create a salad that is both fresh and light but also substantial enough to be a satisfying and complete meal.
Arugula is featured here and this is a perfect food for spring cleansing. This leafy green has the ability to counteract the toxic effects of heavy metals, particularly in the liver, and also assists with the removal of pesticides and herbicides from the body.
It’s a fairly high-protein salad with 14 grams per serving and also supplies a hundred percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A, which is primarily coming from the high carotenoid content of the arugula.
Radishes are a vegetable that I’ve generally been a little bit afraid of. They can have quite a pungency that could be an acquired taste. However, I’ve learned that the trick to enjoying them is to slice very finely and use them in small portions. It’s worth trying them prepared this way, even if you think you don’t like radishes.
To achieve this I like to use the ceramic mandoline, which creates beautiful paper-thin slices. I suggest you also use this to slice the fennel. Be careful though. It’s best to use protective gloves to keep your hands safe because the blade on this tool is extremely sharp.
Radishes are another food with liver-cleansing properties. They help with the elimination of bilirubin, a substance that can build up in the liver and is what causes jaundice when the liver is not functioning optimally. Radishes also assist with purifying and oxygenating the blood and inhibit red blood cell damage.
The dressing for this salad is a simple lemon juice and olive oil combination, which is classic for liver cleansing. (Anyone ever tried a liver-gallbladder flush?) It also includes parsley and lemon zest, which both assist with detoxification.
I recommend you seek out the best quality olive oil you can find because it really does make a difference in terms of both flavor and health benefits. A lot of so-called extra-virgin olive oil on the market today has been proven to be fraudulent and of inferior quality – even some popular brands that you may have come to trust. Authentic extra-virgin olive oil comes exclusively from the first pressing of olives and is bottled ideally within six hours of harvesting. It might be more expensive but it is definitely worth it.
The quinoa makes this salad a bit more filling but if you want to keep it raw just leave it out – or use sprouted quinoa – and it will still be delicious.
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 6 cups arugula
- 1 medium bulb of fennel sliced fine
- 1 carrot shredded
- 3 medium radish sliced thin
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool and fluff with a fork.
- Add dressing ingredients to a large salad bowl and whisk together until combined.
- Place quinoa, arugula, fennel, carrot, radish and pumpkin seeds into the bowl and toss well to mix everything together.
- Add avocado and mix gently.
- Divide between individual serving bowls and enjoy!