Do you find that as the morning temps start to dip into the single digits, and the rugs, throws and slippers come back out into play, it’s tempting to move away from the usual salad and greens?
It’s natural to start to lean towards warm soups, broths, braises and roasts, which all play a beautiful role in our nurturing and good hi-five nutrition. We have big trays of veggies going into our oven a few times a week at the moment, with cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, fennel, pumpkin, beetroot and sweet potato all on rotation. Are you the same? However here’s how we can really support our health as well – keep on celebrating the salad greens!
The greens to look for in particular are the bitter ones. Eating bitter greens activates our taste buds in different ways to say sweet or salty foods, and simultaneously stimulates enzyme production and bile flow. Why is this important? Well, the better your food is digested, the more nutrients you’ll absorb from your food. It doesn’t matter how much wholesome goodness you eat: if you can’t absorb it, it won’t be of much benefit to you and then the whole slippery slope of lowered energy, less vibrancy, PMS, skin issues, brain fog etc. begins as the liver struggles to keep up to its detoxifying role.
Bitter greens like radicchio, dandelion greens, rocket, endive, kale, daikon and English spinach contain phytonutrients that nourish and support the liver as it balances hormones, manages cholesterol, filters our blood and assists with fat metabolization.
PLUS, because fibre also assists the liver’s key role in detoxification, it’s good to know that bitter greens have a high fibre content to boot. Pretty good stuff, right!
And the best part? Bitter greens lend themselves so well to delicious, good-looking salads. Here the rocket and radicchio play a starring role in the salad’s construction, while the bitter leaves contrast perfectly with the creaminess of the feta and the sweetness of the pear. Add an extra dose of vitamin C from plenty of fresh lemon juice to keep the winter colds at bay, and wa-la: a fab salad for the cooler months that will quickly become a family fave.
Rocket and Radicchio Salad with Pear and Hazelnuts
1/2 cup (75g) hazelnuts
4 handfuls rocket leaves
1 cup loosely packed radicchio leaves, roughly torn
2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 small pear, cored and thinly sliced into match-stick style pieces
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried blueberries
40 grams goat’s cheese feta
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the hazelnuts in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 5 minutes or until golden.
- Remove and cool ever so slightly, then place in a clean tea towel and rub to remove the majority of the husks (no need to be too fussy, rustic is good!). Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and place to the side.
- Meanwhile, gently combine the rocket and radicchio leaves with the parsley in a large bowl.
- To make the dressing, put the EVOO, most of the lemon juice (saving some for the pear) and salt and pepper to taste in a small lidded jar. Shake well.
- Pour half of the dressing over the salad leaves and toss until evenly coated. Mound onto a platter, arrange the pear on top, and squeeze over the remaining lemon juice to stop the pear turning brown.
- Scatter the hazelnuts, blueberries and crumbled goats feta over, and drizzle with the remaining dressing before serving.
Tip: Radicchio can be swapped with endive or left out if you wish as the rocket is strong enough to shine on its own. No hazelnuts? Walnuts also work perfectly well.