Mar 19, 2013
Emerald Micro Salad + Vegan Ranch Dressing
What is a “micro salad?” Simply, it’s any salad that is chopped very finely, into “micro-sized” pieces. Not to be confused with “mirco greens,” the newest rage in the culinary world, which are greens that are barely seedlings, less than 2 weeks old, purportedly containing up to 40% more nutrients than their older counterparts. More on that in another post. I have to do more research on the subject!
Why would anyone bother to finely chop a salad? Surprisingly there are many reasons:
- It reduces the size of your salad. I eat a LOT of lettuce and other greens. With a micro salad, it all fits nicely into one bowl 🙂
- It’s easy! Instead of chopping and chopping all those veggies, just toss them all into the food processor. Fast and convenient.
- Some of the chewing is done for you. Chewing is part of digestion and aids in your ability to maximize nutrient absorption.
- It increases the anti-cancer benefits. This is an important one. Within the cell walls of cruciferous vegetables is an enzyme called myrosinase. When the plant cell walls are broken by blending, chopping, or chewing, the myrosinase converts glucosinolates to isothiocyanates (ITCs) — compounds with potent anti-cancer effects. If the cell wall of the vegetable is not broken, the myrosinase is not released (see below for a list of common cruciferous vegetables).
When making a micro salad, I always incorporate some cruciferous vegetables along with some fresh herbs and a fruit. Hard fruits such as apples or pears can be pulsed in the food processor. Soft fruits like berries should be added in afterwards, otherwise they’ll turn to mush!
The combination of flavors in a micro salad is mind boggling. They all blend together seamlessly. And the choices are seemingly infinite. This particular salad is beautifully GREEN and also a little sweet from the apple. You’ll love it!
- 1 head green leaf lettuce
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 sweet, red apple
- 2 large collard leaves
- about ½ cup fresh parsley
- handful of fresh basil
- Cut the veggies and apple into largish pieces and pulse in a food processor using the “S” blade until finely chopped. The pieces should be pretty small but not so small that it’s just a pile of green mush. I use intermittent pulsing and sometimes open the top of the processor to move things around if some of the pieces in the bottom are getting too small. Depending on the size of your processor you may need to do it in batches. Experiment with different greens, herbs and fruits!
~ for the dressing
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1½ cups water
- ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TBS chopped fresh dill
- 1 tsp dried summer savory
- Place cashews into a blender with the water and blend until smooth. NOTE: If you don’t have a high powered blender, soak the cashews for about 3 hours first, then drain and rinse prior to blending.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend just a bit until mixed.
Makes about 2 cups. Enjoy!