My friend Irina has new, exciting ideas regarding health and lifestyle almost every time I see her. She has a degree in Ayurveda and is always on the lookout for natural healing tricks. Last summer, she spent some time at a vedic retreat in Russia, where part of the treatment consisted of applying certain types of wood and tree bark to different areas of the body. The vedic doctor evaluated the patients’ blood work and prescribed the appropriate combination of wood and bark types, different for each patient. Skilled artisans then made bracelets and anklets according to the prescription, which were to be worn according to a schedule. Some people’s bracelets were tiny and elegant while others were enormous in size. Irina brought the beautiful bracelets home with her and wears them periodically. The stories that she told about the effect the bark application had on different patients were absolutely fascinating.
Needless to say, I always look forward to Irina’s newest stories and discoveries. Her latest was this simple salad, where she combines vegetables and fruits – whatever is in season and on hand at that particular time. She finely chops any green leafy vegetables such as Romain, spinach, salad mix, adds shredded apple and carrot, finely chopped cucumber and tomato, and continues with any other vegetables and fruits that she is in the mood for. Ripe pear, strawberries and kiwi are particularly great here. Fresh herbs, radishes, salad turnips, mango, starfruit, blueberries are also a wonderful addition. You can even add lightly blanched vegetables like peas or chopped green beans, or even baked eggplant if you wish. The key to success here is to shred or chop everything finely and have enough sweet, juicy fruits to eliminate the need for any dressing. Irina says that this salad boosts metabolism and provides a healthy appetite.
Having all the fresh produce from our veggie patch and green market made it very easy to have this salad on hand every day of the week. I even ate it for breakfast a couple of times. For those of you getting ready to finally say goodbye to the long winter, this salad can be a great welcome for Spring.
There is no strict recipe to this salad – I’m giving you a general guideline, but feel free to adjust it according to your taste and what is available. A mandolin with different attachments that can shred produce into small cubes and thin sticks is very useful for making the salad.
1 head of Romain lettuce (or other green leafy vegetables) – chopped finely
1 large apple, such as Fuji or Gala – cored and shredded on the large-holed side of a box grater
1-2 carrots – peeled and finely shredded
1-2 small cucumbers – peeled, optionally seeded and finely chopped
1-2 tomatoes – finely chopped
1 pear – cored, finely chopped
2 ripe kiwi – peeled and chopped
handful of strawberries – finely chopped
handful of radishes – finely chopped
1 ripe mango – peeled, pitted and finely chopped
raw: parsley, dill, basil, mint, radicchio, celery, salad turnips, rutabaga, celery root, blueberries, starfruit; blanched: peas, green beans, edamame
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently. Serve immediately. The salad can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.