It has been a busy summer – I invited my parents over from India, Anup has been quite occupied with one of his business ventures, and I started blogging! I didn’t realize how much work goes into creating a blog, especially if you are full of self doubt, like I am! I try out a recipe, cook it once, take a bunch of pictures and invariably decide to cook it again differently. Once a post is ready, there is the social media. Oh how it has turned me into a social zombie. Social media is a stream of activities that seem to never end or lead to anything in particular. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – how these tools have taken over my life.
There is so much noise around us that it is easy to get bogged down. We are all chasing the goal of being the most efficient and productive. But sometimes, with constant connectivity, there is more activity and hardly any productivity. I keep jumping from one thing to the next. In fact, Anup has given me a new nickname this summer – popcorn! So, I had to take a conscious decision to slow down, and try to reconnect with myself. Yesterday I did something I had been postponing for over a month – I started doing Yoga. I did yoga before in India, but it has been years since, and I was a bit apprehensive about how it was going to go. But I finally took the plunge, and oh how it helped!
I felt mentally cleansed and light after my yoga class. So when it was lunch time, I decided to put together a light and refreshing salad. The problem with salads being served at restaurants is the dressing. In fact, at most restaurants, salads have more calories and saturated fats compared to other entrees with meats or fish! If you have fresh produce and vegetables to put in your salad, you should try not to mask their natural flavors with a lot of dressing. I prepared a light Vinaigrette with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Put this mix in a tight bottle and shake it well to mix them all together nicely. This is all I used as my salad dressing and it came out great!
I have a very simple method of making a salad. The first step is to check what produce I have that is fresh, and crisp. For this salad, I have used some fresh arugula, basil and mint. Arugula has a natural spiciness to it and combining it with basil and mint gives an element of surprise in each bite. Some good fats also help in making the salad filling and hearty, especially if the salad is your whole meal! Avocado and goat cheese are my favorite fats for salads. These are good fats, with lots of omega 3s, as opposed to the saturated fats you will find in store bought salad dressings. They add a nice creaminess to the salad without over powering the natural flavors of the greens. You can also use some toasted walnuts or almonds to add some texture and crunch. I used some pomegranate seeds.
One more element I needed was some citrus to cut through the richness of the fats. Some fresh mandarin oranges did the trick for me. Mandarin oranges, cut sideways look like beautiful flowers and add a little playfulness. Drizzle your vinaigrette on top and your salad is ready!
So there you have it. A healthy, refreshing, light salad that you can put together in less than 10 minutes. It will fill you up, and it tastes great too!
Hope all of you get to take some time off to reconnect with yourselves and with your loved ones!
Orange, Avocado & Arugula Salad
1 Avocado peeled & thinly sliced
2 Mandarin oranges peeled & cut sideways
Handful of arugula, basil & mint leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
Put arugula, basil and mint leaves in a big bowl with avocado and mandarin oranges.
Put lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, honey, salt and pepper in a tight lid bottle and shake it well to mix them all together. Drizzle it over your salad, mix it well. Garnish with goat cheese and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!