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Friday, April 23, 2010

Salad of Young Dandelion Greens with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

This spring, I'm supporting patients participating in a seasonal cleanse by offering detox-friendly recipes and menus. Every week for 4 weeks, I will post a hypoallergenic recipe. Together, the recipes will create a four-course menu that is simple and satisfying, nutritious and delicious.

Portabella Paté
Leek Pea Soup
Salad of Young Dandelion Greens with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Coconut Quinoa with Cherries

Spring Cleanse Menu:  Salad Course

This food is medicine.

Bitter-tasting, dark green leafy vegetables are tonics for the liver and dandelion leaves are no exception. They are good for detoxification because they stimulate the production and secretion of bile (one way the body removes waste) and their diuretic and mild laxative actions enhance elimination.

Young dandelion leaves are curly and tender, unlike older dandelion greens that tend to be more straight, tough and bitter. If you are harvesting your own, pick them from plants that have not yet flowered, have not been sprayed, and grow in areas away from traffic and other sources of pollution.

The tart and sweet flavors in the vinaigrette pair well with the bitter dandelion greens. Young dandelion greens are more mild than leaves collected mid-season. To reduce bitterness, soak them in plenty of cold water for several hours. Or mix in some other salad greens.

To make the Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette:

1 cup fresh raspberries or frozen raspberries, thawed with juices
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey (optional)
Sea salt
Ground peppercorn

If using fresh berries, set some aside to garnish the salad.

Mash the raspberries and any juices with the vinegar. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Or puree all ingredients in a mini food processor or blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

To make the salad:

Wash and roughly chop the dandelion greens. Or, if the leaves are small, leave them whole.

In a big bowl, toss them with enough vinaigrette to coat.

Garnish with fresh raspberries, if available.

Serve immediately.

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