Sometimes I resent that salads are looked at as a mere appetizer or the dinner choice of prissy weight watcher. Many tend to think of salads as bland and uninteresting. Not true! They can be unbelievably filling and satisfying while providing extraordinary nutrition. Awhile back I did a post on salads (see Salad-Making 101) that gave a basic foundation on how to make a great, healthy salad. I wanted to add to that, exploring some more options to make your salad exciting without the junk (croutons, ranch dressing, bacon bits).
This salad is made with a Curry Paté and topped with Creamy Tahini Dressing.
When it comes to vegetables, I usually use whatever I have on hand (see Salad-Making 101 for detailed tips). I like to vary my non-vegetable additions. One of my favorite things to make is a nut or seed paté. Patés are very popular for those following a raw food diet as they offer protein, healthy fat, and fiber from a raw source. I don’t follow a specific recipe to make patés. Instead I combine various nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices in the food processor and taste along the way. You only need about one cup of nuts/seeds to make a batch with upwards of four servings.
Template for Raw Patés
– 1 cup raw nuts or seeds. In this curry paté I used sunflower seeds, cashews, and sesame seeds. Try almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, or pumpkin seeds.
– Herbs or spices. I had no fresh herbs on hand, so I used 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder and a teaspoon of cumin. Any fresh herb will work, too.
– Fresh flavor. I used one clove of garlic (a little goes along way) for this batch. Also try a bit of raw red onion, bell peppers, or fresh squeezed lemon juice.
– A little sea salt.
– Drizzle water. I didn’t measure how much I used, but how creamy or chunky you want your paté is up to you.
In a food processor, grind all nuts and seeds to a relatively fine texture. Add remaining ingredients, saving water for last. Process until ingredients are fully chopped and mixed. Add more water if necessary.
Patés make salads more delicious and infinitely more satisfying. A batch using about a cup of nuts or seeds makes multiple servings. It should last about a week in the fridge, but is best consumed as soon as possible.
Homemade dressings are also a way to make your salad healthier and more interesting. Most store-bought dressings are full of sugar, preservatives, thickeners, and other unnecessary ingredients. An organic, cold-pressed oil and lemon juice make a divine dressing, but if you’re looking for something more exciting, consider making your own. I like to make a guilt-free creamy dressing like tahini. Tahini, which is ground sesame seeds, can be purchased roasted or raw. You can also blend sesame seeds with a small amount of water to make your own tahini dressing. Add lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt and you’ve made a creamy dressing, effortlessly. If tahini is too bitter for you, consider using other nuts or seeds to make a creamy dressing. Also experiment with fresh herbs to flavor your dressing.
A paté or dressing can completely change the taste and character of your salad, and that’s not even factoring in all the vegetable combinations! Salad possibilities are endless. Just remember to avoid the processed junky salad add-ons and get creative!
How do you like your salad?