This recipe is an example of the kind of dietary diversity that is important for any healthy diet. Add, subtract, or substitute ingredients freely in this highly adaptable salad, and as long as you include members of the Allium, Brassica, Capsicum, and Citrus (thus, “ABCs”) families, the results should both delight and richly nourish you. Note that these ingredients work synergistically to create a dish that’s healthier than the ingredients eaten separately. Black pepper magnifies turmeric’s powerful properties, the mustard and radishes boost broccoli’s benefits, and the nuts, seeds, and olive oil aid the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.
For maximum retention of nutrients and digestive enzymes, aim for keeping most ingredients raw; just be sure to chop them into fairly small pieces for palatability. But if you can’t stomach raw broccoli, onions, or garlic, steam them lightly (2 or 3 minutes) before adding to the salad.
Within each family, the elements are fungible: substitute shallots for garlic, or Bermuda onions for red onions; opt for cauliflower if you’re out of broccoli; add whichever peppers you have on hand and find appealing; and use any combination of fresh lemon, lime, and orange juice for the dressing. Don’t scrimp on the herbs and spices, either; they provide powerful antioxidants that boost the health factor significantly.
- 1 large head broccoli, trimmed, cut into smaller-than-bite-size pieces (stems sliced)
- 12 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut into smaller-than-bite-size pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 large red onion, diced
- ½ cup golden raisins (or substitute dark raisins for some or all)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, broken into pieces
- ½ cup unsalted sunflower seeds or pepitas (raw or toasted)
- Juice & grated zest of 1 lemon (or lime or orange)
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs pomegranate molasses
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp powdered sumac
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning (marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, and savory)
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 3-6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 heaping Tbs yellow, brown, or Dijon mustard
Combine vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in a large bowl. Place dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake to combine thoroughly. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine. Note that the acidic dressing acts to break down fibers in the raw vegetables in a manner not unlike cooking them, so some people might prefer this salad after it has sat for several hours in the fridge.