Spending time outdoors can be a great mood-booster. Try it sometime: take a barefoot walk around in the grass, lay on a blanket on the lawn, or cartwheel down a grassy hill. We know that spending time outdoors can have real health benefits, and being outside can give us perspective and remind us how big the world is outside of our busy and chaotic lives.
This salad reminds me of the things I love about the outdoors: lush shades of green, a variety of shapes and textures, and sharp flavors and smells. Use whatever greens you like. The arugula and Tuscan kale here add a bitter edge, so use milder spinach and lettuces if you want a more neutral flavor. The creamy avocado dressing is the star, so don’t be afraid to let it shine.
Leafy greens – particularly dark leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, arugula, and kale – are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to fill our bodies with great nutrients. The darker/richer the color, the more nutrition they have to offer. They’ve got fiber to help fill your stomach and keep you feeling full longer, vitamin C to help ward off illness and create healthy collagen, and beta-carotene to support healthy eyes and protect your skin from environmental damage. They also contain high amounts of folate, a B-vitamin important during pregnancy for promoting healthy spinal development of growing babies. Some leafies like kale and bok choy are good sources of calcium.
Green on green salad
Inspired by Sprouted Kitchen
Note: The appeal of this salad is the multiple layers of nutritious green vegetables. I used the greens I had on hand, but by all means, substitute the ingredients below for whatever leafy beauties sound good to you. Trader Joe’s sells several ready-to-eat mixes of various greens if you’re looking for a shortcut.
2 cups broccoli, divided into small florets
8 cups leafy greens of choice (I used spinach, Tuscan kale, arugula, and black seeded simpson lettuce)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 scallions, sliced
Shaved parmesan cheese
Creamy lemon-avocado dressing (makes about 1/4 cup):
1/2 of a ripe avocado
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon honey
2-3 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Scatter the broccoli florets on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 5-7 minutes, until the edges start to get brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small food processor and whirl together. Add additional water to thin to desired consistency. Taste and adjust flavors to taste.
- Combine the roasted broccoli, salad greens, and 1/4 cup parsley in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad greens and toss together. Sprinkle with the scallions, 1 tablespoon reserved parsley, and shaved parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.