Even though I have recently read all about how plants are trying to kill us in The Plant Paradox, the truth is I can’t imagine life without salads. I especially adore a good green salad.
Back when I was a younger salad fan,
during my middle-school and high school days, my mom, sister and I frequently found ourselves hanging out in the kitchen of our Boulder, Colorado, home together in the early evening making a giant salad for dinner. A main dish salad is the ultimate way to use up whatever in the fridge needs to go, so these salads were rarely ever the same. Generally though, they shared some combination of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, sliced raw mushrooms, raw broccoli, possibly bacon, grated sharp Cracker Barrel cheese and always highly seasoned croutons, which if necessary we would make ourselves in the oven: butter-soaked, crispy, garlicy beauties. Ranch dressing was our favorite which, with thanks to the magical packets of Hidden Valley powder, were transformed with only mayo, buttermilk, a whisk and a bit of elbow grease into zippy creamy goodness to pour over our already loaded greens. Invariably, at some point one of us would observe aloud that our “light” salad dinner had managed to approach the calorie content of a Big Mac. But still, we congratulated ourselves on having salad for dinner. Good times.
My ideal salads have evolved with the times, and now that I’m dabbling with the Plant Paradox way of eating, salads appear as often as ever in my weekly meal plan. Leafy greens are A-OK in Dr Gundry’s program.
Modifications are being made though. I’m incorporating a lot of blasted okra into everything these days, including salads, because it is just so delicious. Thailand produces an abundance of okra, and for the first time ever, prepared in this way so that the slime factor is removed, I’m finding it to be as tasty as blasted broccoli or cauliflower. In fact, I hereby encourage you to set aside any prejudices you have, at least once, and give this preparation method of okra a try.
I’m also taking care to peel and deseed tomatoes, if I choose to use them, as the skin and seeds are where most of the lectins reside. So that’s new.
Sheep and goat’s milk cheese if I’m getting cheesy, take priority over alternatives (hence the feta below, which resembles cotija, which in any case I have no clue where I would source in Bangkok).
The salad dressing bears some resemblance to good ole Ranch, but is altered with jalapeno powder and cilantro. I base this around a healthy (homemade) mayo. Sheep or goat’s milk yogurt could also be your starting point, though at the moment I have no idea where I’d find these in Bangkok. (I suspect though, like a number of food items I have puzzled over in the past, they are waiting to be found somewhere in this world-class city.)
This salad gives me hope that Plant Paradoxing might be compatible with even more of my favorite foods.
This salad serves 2 as a main dish, or perhaps 4 as a side.
- 1/2 cup okra ends chopped off and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 2 tsp avocado or coconut oil
- 5 cups Romaine lettuce chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (de-seeded and skins removed) optional
- 1 avocado diced
- 1/4 c cilantro
- 1/2 c black beans, pressure cooked optional
- 1/2 c quality grilled or poached chicken, beef, shrimp or salmon optional
- 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
- 2/3 c sheep's or goat's milk yogurt or homemade mayo
- 1/2 c cilantro roughly chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped roughly
- 1/4 c c white wine vinegar
- 1 t dried dill
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1 t onion powder
- 1/2 t jalapeno powder
- 1/2 t salt and black pepper, or to taste
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Chop the okra into 1/2 inch discs, toss with a little avocado or coconut oil and bake until perfectly crisp, about 15 minutes. Try not to eat them before they make it onto the salad, or make extra to munch on.
Assemble the salad ingredients into a chopped salad formation. You know, with all the chopped things in nice lines or any design scheme you like on top of a the lettuce lettuce.
Make the Mexican Ranch dressing by putting the yogurt or mayo, cilantro, green onions, vinegar, dill, garlic powder, jalapeno powder, onion powder and salt and black pepper in a blender and mixing. Taste and make any adjustments you like. Extra dressing keeps for about a week in the fridge.