Tag Archives: salad

What’s on your plate Special Edition: Salads.

Life in terms of food in the Philippines wasn’t so bad, and it could certainly have been worse.  Where we lived, we had good access to a decent array of fruits and vegetables, and we eventually found a couple of places we could buy tofu (as it’s a common foodstuff, but not found in the supermarket) and learned how to make mungo beans.  But there were a few things we had to go without.  For C, I think the hardest of these was (what we consider good) bread, but he finally bit the bullet and started baking his own, which was awesome for both of us.

Some foods we couldn’t compensate for, though most of these were no big loss:  apples, oranges and grapes were on offer but out of the question.  The apples were tasteless and powdery, the oranges were juiceless and neither sour nor sweet, and I never got around to sampling the grapes…but I wasn’t bothered – we had mangos and rambutan and lanzones and jackfruit and like 4 kinds of bananas (though I’ve heard there were once hundreds of varieties in Mindanao, but due to monoculture there are only a few now – and there are far worse consequences, but I digress).

Something we absolutely never bought, though – except for that first time out of sheer naivety – was lettuce.  The lettuce was awful.  It was hard and bitter and dry…the climate just isn’t conducive to growing the stuff.  So upon arriving in France, I was ecstatic about salad.  The French love salad.  Most families serve it with every dinner and sometimes lunch, too.  The only problem is that for them, salade is the word they use for “lettuce”.  Which is to say that they eat lettuce with their meals, with dressing of course.  But rarely anything else, unless the salad is the main dish, which is typically only for eating out.  Not having lettuce in the Philippines had forced us to learn to love a whole bunch of other raw vegetables, and lettuce and sauce just didn’t cut it for me anymore.

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Killer B Anti-PMS Vegan Super Salad

People constantly ask, as soon as they’ve learned I’m vegan, “But where do you get your nutrients?” as if fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes were devoid of nutritional value.  The truth is, as the years have gone by, being a vegan has become so easy, and although I did indeed struggle at first to eat properly, that had a lot more to do with bad eating habits and less to do with my ethical decisions about what I put in my mouth. Nowadays I find that I almost never worry about getting the right vitamins or enough calcium, iron, omega-3’s and protein.  I just have to eat the right things.

Still, I must admit that I struggle to get enough vitamin B.  I always have.  And, in spite of the myth many omnivores have spread prolifically that B vitamins are not accessible in plants, that is nowhere near the case.  B vitamins are quite easy to find in the vegetable kingdom, particularly in raw, dark green veggies.  And that is my problem.  Give me broccoli steamed, stir-fried, or boiled and I’ll eat it up greedily.  But raw has always been a bit tough for me. And, as most of the ladies reading this will know, a lack of B vitamins can lead to a number of annoyances, among them PMS-ier PMS.  In particular, it’s B1, or thiamine, and B2, or riboflavin, that we lack most in the days leading up to and during menstruation.

This month as that dear visitor started peering in my window and knocking at my door, I thought it was high time I put some of the stuff I’ve learned about food to the test and see if I could stave it off. To that end, please find herewith a delicious recipe I invented last night, and that everybody – man or woman, vegan or omnivore – would do well to eat once in a while, because it is good for you, but also because it is downright yummy.  Fiddle with the ingredient amounts to meet your needs and tastes – the amounts I’ve given are a bit of a shot in the dark because last night I prepared for one.  And bear in mind that every single ingredient (with the exception of the olive oil, lemon juice and pepper) is brimming over with B1, B2, or both!

Killer B Anti-PMS Vegan Super Salad (serves 4)

Ingredients

For the Salad:

6-8 green asparagus spears, chopped finely

1.5 cups peeled and finely chopped broccoli

2 zucchinis, shredded

2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped (much more so than the broccoli and asparagus)

4 tbsp almond slivers

For the dressing:

6-8 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 tbsp nutritional yeast

Pepper to taste

Directions

Here’s the easy part:  put all the salad ingredients into a salad bowl.  Whisk the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl and pour it over the top of the salad.  For a bit more flavor (not that you’ll need it), you can throw in some fresh cilantro or basil.  Toss well and serve!

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