There’s a lot written about the pros and cons of a raw food diet, or a plant-based diet, none of which I’ve delved into at any great level as it isn’t our personal methodology. Like many folks, however, we have assumed a very common sense approach to eating, incorporating a variety of foods that are as “clean” and “natural” as possible, leaning more heavily to fruits and vegetables, and curbing refined sugars, starches and the like. In my own kitchen, there’s a lot of leafy greens, fresh fruits, vibrant vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, some fish, and a bit of chicken. Ultimately, moderation sets the tone on what gets made in our kitchen and what doesn’t.
Having said all of that, eating raw (and/or plant based) has a strong personal appeal that is unrelated to nutritional value, and that’s its crunch factor. There’s really nothing better than a great chopped salad with loads of crunchy goodness, and this colorful plating has that in spades. It’s a beautiful mix, highlighted by the ruby red dotting of Fuji apples from Stemilt. Offering a subtle, sweet crispy crunch, any of Stemilt’s firmer apple varieties will work wonders in this salad, but the super-sweet Fuji really stands out.
Red/purple cabbage and white cauliflower partner with nutritious apples in this medley of colors, lending their own ample crunch and flavor to the mix. Cauliflower is high in dietary fiber, folate and Vitamin C in addition to providing a good, healthy pop of phytochemical’s that are most prominent when this veggie is eaten raw. And, apart from presenting a rich and vivid hue, red cabbage has loads more Vitamin A and a tad more iron than its green counterpart… so why not go bright? A fresh chop of celery, and red and yellow peppers provide an added bit of color, crispness and balance. And sweet dried cranberries and lightly toasted walnuts give this salad a subtle, welcomed sweetness. While walnuts are certainly a high-calorie food, they are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids so, in moderation, are a nutritious, smart choice for a little extra crunch. Tossed in a light lemon-honey dressing, all of the components in this salad shine with their natural goodness and play together beautifully for a brilliant departure from your typical chop or slaw.