After the indulgence of the Birthday weekend and the whirlwind of the Nom Yourself Contest, I’m wanting culinary simplicity, freshness and greens. However in the spirit of Vegan MoFo and to keep up my commitment, I ditched the quick-and-easy ready-made salad mix to create a big, bright, colourful and cheerful blog-worthy salad. May this Rainbow Broccoli Salad with Avocado Orange Dressing bring you smiles and miles of happiness!
This salad is not merely a rainbow of colours, but also of textures and tastes. Crunchy carrots and toothsome florets; sweet corn kernels and peppery peppers; reds, orange, yellow and greens. Rainbows are not an everyday occurrence, but we can always make [and eat] our own!
For the dressing, I was inspired by the sweet zesty flavours of an Orange Cilantro Slaw. However I wanted to incorporate a creamy element amidst all the crunchiness, avocados being the most obvious choice. The Avocado Orange Dressing is then further spiced with ginger, cider and pepper flakes for the flavour punch. The result? A midly sweet, tangy and buttery dressing that nicely percolates through the salad. This dressing would certainly work well as a sauce for zucchini noodles or other pasta too.
Finally, as a double dose of greeness, I made my first glass of wheatgrass juice! On a whim, I bought a packet of wheatgrass from the supermarket a couple of days ago, despite not knowing how to use it. After turning to Google, here’s what I gathered:
- Wheatgrass (or Wheat Grass) refers to the the young grass of the common wheat plant Triticum aestivum. It is usually cultivated in a greenhouse or grown at home in trays for the purpose of juicing and drinking.
- Wheatgrass can be grown and harvested after 7-10 days.
- It is recommended that specially designed wheatgrass juicers be used to juice wheatgrass. Compared to regular juicers, wheatgrass juicers act like a press to extract the juice at a very slow speed (80-120 RPM vs 1000 RPM). Extracting the juice at a high speed would oxidize and damage the enzymes. Moreover normal juicers or blenders may risk clogging from the high fiber content of grass.
- Wheatgrass is ranked as a superfood. It is a complete protein (contains 17 amino acids); packed with minerals (contains 92 of the 102 known minerals found in soil including calcium, iron and zinc); rich in enzymes (30 enzymes including digestive enzymes – amylases, proteases and lipases); and chlorophyll (70%).
- The many health benefits of wheatgrass: as an energizer, cleanser and builder – primarily attributed to chlorophyll.
- Wheatgrass is also available as supplments in the form of tablets and powder. (Not sure how it compares in terms of nutrition to the juice though).
Without a wheatgrass juicer, I did the next best thing – blended the grass using an immersion blender (specifically 1/2 cup cut wheatgrass with 1 3/4 cups water) then strained it to remove the pulp. Surprisingly it was all very easy because the pulp clumped together just under the blades and can be readily removed – and be saved for use as a facial mask if desired. To take green to the extreme, I added in spirulina and matcha powder. This produced a mildy grassy and vegetal juice, but in a enjoyably refreshing manner. It’s definitely going to be a regular on the green smoothie roster! Note that both my sister and mum couldn’t stomach the “grassiness” of it, so you may want to add more water or blend it other fruits or fruit juices to dilute the taste. So here is a double dose of greens: a salad and a juice. Have your eyes turned green yet?
- 1 head medium broccoli, cut into florets (about 2½ cups)
- ¼ head small red cabbage, shredded and chopped (about ¾ cup)
- ½ medium red bell pepper, diced (about ¾ cup)
- ½ large carrot, peeled and diced (about ¾ cup)
- ⅔ cup sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1 orange, peeled and seeded
- 1 inch ginger root, grated
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vingear
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Bunch of Italian parsley (optional)
- ¼ cup water
- Cut the broccoli into small florets and steam until tender but still bright-green, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately transfer the broccoli to an ice bath to stop the cooking and then drain well.
- In a large bowl, combine the broccoli florets with the remaining salad ingredients – bell pepper, carrots and corn.
- To make dressing, place all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Best if dressing is made several hours in advance and refrigerated.
- About 15 minutes before serving toss salad with dressing. Toss and enjoy!
- ½ cup wheatgrass, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1¾ cup ice-cold water
- ¼ teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon matcha powder (optional)
- Place wheatgrass and water into blender and blend on high.
- Pour juice into cups through a sieve to remove pulp.