The cool thing about studying nutrition is that it’s so applicable to daily life and helps me think about balancing the food I eat. For example the fact that eating fats along with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K helps you absorb them better! So having fat in salad dressing is actually doing more than making things taste good, it’s improving the nutritional benefit of those veggies too.
Another dressing thing: If you’re having spinach in a salad, it’s also a great idea to use citrus fruit juice in the dressing. Citrus fruits contain Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) which converts non-haem iron (that just means the iron is in a certain form) from the spinach into a form which is more easily absorbed. This is a particularly helpful tip for vegetarians and vegans who miss out on the more easily absorbed form of iron (haem iron) found in red meat.
Basically – salad dressing is COOL, tasty and really good for you. Also yes I am nerding out on facts. Hellooooo impending summer exams.
An instinctual salad hunger has been awoken in me now that it’s finally warm and the evenings are getting lighter. I just want to eat all the pretty, colourful vegetables (with dressing of course!). In particular I’ve been wanting to try a raw sweet potato salad since I saw Laura post a recipe for one a few weeks ago. Once I saw a cooked, spiralised sweet potato dish in Alessandra’s new cookbook* and it gave me the kick I needed to get salad-ing! Instead of spiralising the sweet potato I just cut it into matchsticks and I didn’t saute the sweet potato as the original recipe instructed. It was the perfect light lunch and also made a GREAT veggie burger add-in for dinner that night. Don’t be afraid of the raw sweet potato – it’s pretty neutral in flavour and slightly crunchy.
Raw Sweet Potato Satay Salad
- 1 red onion or shallot , thinly sliced
- 1 clove of garlic , roughly chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- thumb-sized piece of ginger , grated
- 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) light tahini
- 1 tbsp raw sugar/coconut sugar/maple syrup
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce , tamari or coconut aminos (make sure it's GF if needed)
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 medium sweet potato (or ~1 1/2 small ones), peeled
- 1 courgette (zucchini), peeled into ribbons
- 1 large carrot , peeled into ribbons
- 1 red chicory (radicchio), finely shredded (or you can use 1/4 head of red cabbage)
- handful of mangetout/sugar snap peas , sliced
- 1 spring onion , finely sliced
- 1/2 a large bunch of coriander , finely chopped (stems & leaves)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds (toast them in a dry frying pan over a high heat)
Place the sliced onion and garlic into a bowl with the lime juice. Let it sit for a few minutes.
Add in the rest of the dressing ingredients and stir well to combine. Set aside while you prep the salad.
Take the peeled sweet potato and slice it into 'planks' about 2mm thick. Stack a few planks up and cut them into matchsticks. Repeat with the rest of the planks until you've got a LOAD of sweet potato matchsticks. (If you have a spiraliser you can also just use that to turn the sweet potato into noodles).
Place the sweet potato matchsticks, courgette ribbons, carrot ribbons, shredded chicory, sliced mangetout, spring onion & most of the coriander into a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss the salad together with your hands, slightly massaging it into everything.
Top the salad with the rest of the coriander and the toasted sesame seeds (and extra spring onion if you want).
Adapted from 'The Foodie Teen' by Alessandra Peters
- If you have a spiraliser you can spiralise the sweet potato, courgette and carrot instead