Every Thanksgiving my son-by-marriage, Jay, makes a great salad using mixed greens, pomegranate seeds, walnuts and feta cheese. Then, the other day I came across an article on cauliflower that I had saved from The Philadelphia Inquirer. The writer of the article wrote about using grated cauliflower, which I put on the previous avocado recipe the other day. Now I can make holiday salad recipes that are dairy free, for those who avoid dairy for health reasons or because they are vegans. (Seehttp://www.menupause.info/glossary/)
The three ingredients I want to highlight are: walnuts, and cauliflower, and pomegranates. (Read also about cauliflower under Golden Beet Soup featured a few days ago.)
Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, a heart protective fat that must be taken from our diets. The Omega 3s also help with cognitive function, have anti-inflammatory functions, may be helpful for those with rheumatoid arthritis, and for those with skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. The source of this information, www.whfoods.com, also notes that walnuts contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which supports the immune system and has anticancer properties.
Cauliflower, which I mentioned in Golden Beet Soup last week, also is considered an anticancer food. This cruciferous veggie contains compounds that increase the liver’s ability to neutralize potentially toxic substances. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, are known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer. Finally, recent research shows that crucifers provide significant cardiovascular benefits, as well. Source: www.whfoods.com
Pomegranates have been in the limelight for some time now, because of theitantioxidant (Seehttp://www.menupause.info/glossary/) qualities. They are low in calories and a good source of potassium.Pomegranate juice may also help to prevent prostate cancer and help to prevent plaque build up in arteries. Finally, pomegranate seeds appear to boost the immune system. (Source:www.about.com)
Even though you can buy the seeds already removed from the fruit itself, I prefer to peel my own. I came across a little booklet from POM, the company that has successfully promoted pomegranate juice. It explains how to remove the seeds underwater. The directions are verbatim:
1. Slice off both ends of the pomegranate so it will stand up steadily. Score the husk in quarters.
2. Submerge the fruit and break apart in a bowl of water to free the arils (seeds).They will sink to the bootm of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Discard the membrane.
3. Drain the liquid and put the arils to one side. Now you are ready to enjoy fresh arils with your favorite dishes and recipes.
Note: I did this before Thanksgiving and froze the arils, but upon thawing, they became soggy, so I do not recommend freezing them.
Holiday Salad with Pomegranate & Walnuts
This salad is made with feta cheese, not cauliflower, but if you grate enough of this veggie, it should look like this, unless you want to toss the cauliflower throughout the greens….your choice.
Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl for pom seeds, strainer or salad spinner, bowl for salad
Prep. Time: 15 minutes if pomegranate seeds are gathered earlier; otherwise, add 10 minutes to do the pomegranate
Cooking Time: None
Category: Gluten Free and Dairy Free if cauliflower is substituted for feta cheese
one head organic lettuce (Try Boston or red tipped curly leaf lettuce) or mixed greens
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or candied walnuts)
1 cup pomegranate seeds (called arils)
salt & pepper and your favorite dressing
1/2 c. or more of feta cheese or 1/2 c. or more of grated, organic cauliflower
1. Wash and spin dry lettuce or mixed greens. If using leaf lettuce, tear leaves into small pieces.
2. Add walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and salt & pepper.
3. Toss with your favorite dressing and top with feta cheese or grated cauliflower.
Serve immediately. Feel free to add other items of your choice.
Holiday “Snow” Salad
Utensils: Cutting board, knife, strainer or salad spinner, bowl for salad
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Category: Gluten Free & Vegan
One head organic lettuce or mixed greens
One or two pieces fennel bulb,sliced
8-12 Organic cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 – 1 cup grated, organic cauliflower
Sprouts (I used my own mixture of clover, alfalfa, & radish)
Salt & Pepper to taste and your favorite dressing
1. Wash and spin dry the greens or lettuce, tearing lettuce leaves into small pieces
2. Wash and slice tomatoes or leave whole if small enough. Slice fennel bulb.
3. Wash & grate cauliflower and set aside.
4. Toss salad greens, tomatoes, and fennel with salt & pepper and your favorite dressing.
5. Add sprouts and grated cauliflower and serve immediately. (Dressing tends to make sprouts soggy and take away the snow white look of the cauliflower.)