Come Share Our Table – Raw Cruciferous Salad with Creamy Buttermilk Poppyseed Dressing

Brussel sprouts.

Wait! Don’t go 🙂 Please stick around and hear what I have to say. You won’t regret it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe poor brussel sprout. No other vegetable, in my opinion, gets a worse rap. Love ’em or leave ’em. They’ve never been one of my favorites. But I feel an obligation as a foodie to put up with them. They taste like cabbage with a Napoleonic complex. The only time I actually enjoyed them was in a buttery roasted garlic puree accompanied by some roasted salmon at Tom Douglas’ dahlia lounge in Seattle, WA. Something about that combination was serious magic.

Then one night over at a good friend’s house, I was introduced to a pre-made salad that is sold at Costcos around the U.S. called Sweet Kale Salad. It comes with a little baggie of sweetened cranberries and poppyseed dressing. It is delicious and addicting, and yes, it contains all the above smelly veggies. Eating them raw makes them taste very mild. It’s wildly crunchy and keeps you chewing so it’s very satisfying, and the sweetness of the poppy seed dressing is a marriage made in gastronomic heaven.

Costco has great prices, but I knew that if I made this salad for myself at home it would inevitably be less expensive and I could use organic ingredients where it made sense to. Oddly enough, a lot of cruciferous veggies aren’t on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list except for kale. My uneducated theory is that they emit a natural oil that wards off pests. Maybe it’s the same reason they have such a “special” aroma that is disagreeable with some of us when those oils are released during cooking. With all the food recalls lately around listeria it also doesn’t hurt to avoid factory-processed salad if I can help it, although it’s honestly hard to beat the convenience of a store bought salad mix.  To top it all off I decided to make a healthier version of poppy seed dressing. I love a food challenge!

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While researching the health benefits of eating these underdog veggies raw, I ran across a great article entitled Cancer Alert: Your Best Defense – Go Cruciferous by New York Times best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on reversing disease through nutrition, Dr. Fuhrman.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The evidence is now overwhelming that cruciferous vegetables play a major and unique role in the widely recognized protective effects of natural plant foods against cancer—and are the most important players in this arena. The biologically active compounds from raw and conservatively cooked green vegetables enhance the natural defenses of the human body against DNA damage and they even fuel the body’s ability to block growth and replication of cells that are already damaged. For those in the know, these foods are the most important nutritional factors to prevent common human cancers.

  • arugula
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • broccoli rabe
  • brocollina
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • collards
  • horseradish
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • mustard greens
  • radish
  • red cabbage
  • rutabaga
  • turnips
  • turnip greens
  • watercress

Wow, what a great start to upping the ante on the Costco Sweet Kale Salad. Based on Dr. Fuhrman’s article, I decided to add three other vegetables to my mix, cauliflower, watercress and arugula.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, I tackled a homemade poppyseed recipe. I looked around the Internet for some ideas and ran across these three that inspired me.

Chow’s Poppy Seed Dressing

Busy But Healthy’s Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

EatingWell’s Poppy Seed Dressing

Taking aspects from all three and replacing red onion with one of my favorite and lesser used ingredients, shallots, I came up with a tangy, sweet and creamy poppy seed dressing that got a thumbs up from my hubbie.

I topped my salad with just a tiny bit of sweetened cranberries, trying to avoid the high sugar count in them, fresh blueberries and raspberries, and sprouted pumpkin seeds. Here are some other topping ideas:

  • dried figs/apricots/cherries
  • sliced apples/pears/strawberries/grapes
  • pomegranate seeds (would turn it into a beautiful holiday salad)
  • toasted almonds/hazelnuts/pine nuts/walnuts/pecans/pistachios
  • sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, toasted sesame seeds
  • crumbled feta/blue cheese/ricotta salata, shaved parmesan, shredded smoked gouda

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We’ve enjoyed this salad many nights with simply broiled fish and brown rice. It’s so easy to make a huge batch and keep it in a large ziplock bag ready to go when you are. The health benefits are totally worth the veggie prep you need to do.

This salad also keeps well, even with dressing on it. Most salads wilt in despair in the fridge. This one remains crunchy, almost like a slaw.

Brussel sprout haters, won’t you give this one a try?

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Raw Cruciferous Salad with Creamy Buttermilk Poppy Seed Dressing

MAKES 1 GALLON ZIPLOCK BAG OF PREPARED SALAD

INGREDIENTS

*I try to use organic, eco-ganic or responsibly farmed ingredients as much as possible

  • 1/4 head of regular cabbage
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage
  • 1 bunch of brocolli
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower
  • 15 brussel sprouts
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 big handful of arugula
  • 1 bunch watercress

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the stem off the 1/4 head of cabbage. Turn it onto a flat side, and cut it into half. Slice the cabbage into thin strips. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the stem off the 1/4 head of red cabbage and repeat the prep for the regular cabbage above. Add to the  bowl.
  3. Cut off the broccoli crowns and separate them with a knife or with your fingers into smaller bite sized pieces. Using a paring knife, carefully cut away the tougher skin on the bottom “trunk” portion of the broccoli stem. Cut the stem into 1 inch pieces and thinly slice. Stacking three or four slices, julienne them into matchsticks. Add the broccoli crowns and stems to the bowl.
  4. Cut the stem off the 1/4 head of cauliflower and separate the florets with a knife or with your fingers into bite sized pieces.  Add to the bowl.
  5. Cut away the stem end of the brussel sprouts. Turn them on their side and make one thin slice off the side. Turn it onto its cut side, then proceed to thinly slice the rest of it. Add to the bowl.
  6. Remove the stem from the kale leaves by cutting them away with a knife or tearing the leaves off with your hands. Stacking several leaves together, slice them crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces. Add to the bowl.
  7. Toss all the veggies together with your hands, adding more of any of the ingredients to suit your taste. Place in a large gallon size ziplock bag or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. Cut away the roots from the watercress. Wash and spin dry the arugula and watercress, wrap loosely in paper towels, and place in a large ziplock bag or container until ready to use.
  9. To compose the salad, gently combine as much of the salad mix as you desire with a small handful of the arugula and watercress.  Mount it gently onto the center of your plate. Top with any of the following and drizzle with Creamy Buttermilk Poppyseed Dressing.
  • dried figs/apricots/cherries
  • sliced apples/pears/strawberries/grapes
  • pomegranate seeds (would turn it into a beautiful holiday salad)
  • toasted almonds/hazelnuts/pine nuts/walnuts/pecans/pistachios
  • sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, toasted sesame seeds
  • crumbled feta/blue cheese/ricotta salata, shaved parmesan, shredded smoked gouda

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Creamy Buttermilk Poppyseed Dressing

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Shake before serving.
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11 replies »

  1. Merci beaucoup Un pied ici, un pied la-bas. I was able to translate the name of your blog without looking it up! It’s been a while since I used my French:-) I hope you get a chance to try it and I look forward to visiting your blog very soon.

    Like

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