When the entirely bearable lightness of being is ignited by Spring fire, lightening up our menus just comes naturally, no? After a seemingly endless Winter, seriously, who wants another heavy plate?
Entwining with the seasons means surrendering to the rush each brings. Kind of like love. You just know when it's right. Yielding to it is effortless. So, allowing yourself the plunge into light, bright, crisp plates of fresh abundance is much like taking a new lover, somehow and exciting all over again, a series of "firsts" even when they aren't.
I'm a big fan of both romantic escapades and eating light - though they may seem strange in the same sentence, actually they are beautiful bedfellows. Light, digestible, whole plant food assimilates into the body easily, allowing the nutrients to absorb. This energizes you, feeds your beauty, and makes you feel alive - what could be sexier? Eating well and caring for yourself begets confidence, and that, chouchous, is a potent aphrodisiac.
So, let's lighten our tables, yes? I offer you three of my favorite Springtime salads, beyond simple and full of flavor. Make a bit extra so you have something beautifying to nibble on at a moment's notice. You may, after all, find yourself with an unexpected guest.
Salade de Puissance
1 cup quinoa or bulgur, cooked
3 carrots, grated or julienned
2 beetroot, peeled and grated or thinly chopped
3 large, plump dried figs
1/4 cup raw, sliced almonds
1 cup flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
First, cook the quinoa. You can use red, golden, or black quinoa, but I always prefer black, as it contains Jing - the life force energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM.) The rule of thumb is one part quinoa to 2 parts water.
Combine the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon, vinegar, salt, and oil. Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables, sprinkle in the almonds, drizzle the dressing, toss well to mingle, and the pepper when you serve it.
I prefer quinoa to most any grain, because of it's ease of digestion, lightness, and high protein content. Actually, it isn't even a grain - it's a seed. You can substitute bulgur here for a more authentically Arabic dish, if you prefer.
Salade du Argrumes
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 build fennel, thinly sliced
1 small orange
1 small grapefruit
2 cups fresh baby arugula
1/2 cup orange juice, fresh or bottled
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Pinch Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In the same manner, cook the quinoa (or substitute what you like), and combine it with the citrus fruit, arugula, and fennel in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange and lemon juice with the oil and salt, then pour over the quinoa mixture. Toss well, add fresh pepper, and enjoy.
1 cucumber (skin on), chopped
1 courgette (zucchini), peeled and chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4-1/2 C hemp seeds
1/2 C flat parsley, chopped
Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Toss all the veggetables in a large bowl. Juice the lemon into the mix - I like to squeeze it through my hand, catching the pits, but still feeling the juice run down my fingers...
Add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and hemp seeds. Toss well, and enjoy.