Thursday, December 29, 2011

Whole Foods Salad: Take One

Like a majority of others, I am completely obsessed with Whole Foods' salad bar. It doesn't matter what I put on my creation, it will always taste good. As long as they have some of my favorite items: marinated gigante beans (delicious!), toasted pumpkin seeds, and shredded raw veggies of some sort, I am a happy camper.

Unfortunately, I live almost an hour and a half from the nearest Whole Foods, so if I wind up going there it becomes quite an excursion. It always take a few hours, involves a giant shopping list, and of course, eating an amazing salad at the salad bar and drinking a kombucha from the tap.

After eating wicked amounts of sugar over the holidays, I have been mega-craving salads, beans, and other healthy foods. And since I'd much rather be feeling like my usual vibrant and healthy self than a sluggish mess of brain fog, I decided to go ahead and start afresh with my diet. Why wait until the New Year to start over if I can do it today and feel great now?

So, due to the fact that I yearn for some crisp, clean vegetables and whole grains and beans, I did my best to recreate my favorite Whole Foods salad:

Basically, it's a layered salad made up of the following:
2 c. mixed salad greens and baby spinach
1 c. chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 c. steamed squash (delicata this time around, 10 min. to steam)
1/2 c. butter beans, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 c. cooked quinoa or brown rice
A heaping 1/8 c. raw beets, shredded
1/8 c. raw zucchini, shredded
1/8 c. raw carrots, shredded
1/8 c. daikon, shredded
2 Tb. low-fat raspberry vinaigrette
2 Tb. chopped green onion
1 tsp. shelled hemp seeds

The major difference between my homemade salad and the Whole Foods one is that I usually add a little bit of baked tofu and use pumpkin seeds instead of hemp on the WF one. Also, at Whole Foods I use the Follow Your Heart Oil-Free Tamari-Miso dressing. It is amazing! I will buy some the next time I down there.

Also, you might be thinking, "raw beets?? raw zucchini?? daikon??". These raw shredded veggies are a great addition to your salad. You don't really notice the flavor because they're shredded up so fine but they add lots of nutrition. Daikon tastes like a sweeter, milder radish when raw, and I like it a lot, but you could also leave it out. I just shred a good amount at once that way I have plenty on hand for awhile.

As for delicata squash, some people really like it, but I wasn't very impressed. I don't really like the skin on it (which is edible), so if I ever cook it again, I'll leave off the skin. However, that seems like a lot of work and I really love butternut (what can I say?) so I'll probably stick to steamed butternut for my salads. Although, I do have a carnival squash I have yet to roast and I'd still like to try a kabocha sometime this winter, if I can find one. 

Overall, this is a mega tasty salad. I will eat it until I run out of raspberry vinaigrette, then I will switch things up a bit!

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