Happy Friday, everyone!
This week, I am so excited to feature a recipe from my friend Becca. Becca is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met when we were 15 and we are kind of like soul sisters… the type of friends who lose sight of one another every once in a while, but pick up wherever we left off when we reconnect. We had a wonderful reunion back in February and I’m glad we’re keeping in touch more these days. I absolutely love this girl, and I wish I could be in her kitchen at all times because the type of food she makes is just my style! Perhaps someday the stars will align and we will live in the same city…
Becca also started her very own food blog recently, so you should check her out at The Cozy Kitchen and spread the food blogging love — especially if you’re on a gluten free diet. She’s got you covered, and then some!
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, she has created a detoxifying salad for you… so if you’re planning on having a few drinks tomorrow, keep this recipe in mind as a pre- or post-celebration meal. You may want to use it to nurse your body back to health later.
“Green as the Emerald Isle” St. Patrick’s Day Liver-Friendly Salad
Hello fellow dontforgettheoliveoil fans! I’m Rebecca, author of The Cozy Kitchen, and purveyor of delicious, gluten free recipes, and quintessentially cozy food. I originally intended to share a gluten free recipe with you this week that would provide you with some insight as to how to alter a recipe to make it safe for friends with dietary restrictions. However, the St. Patrick’s day spirit got to me first, and I am sharing a naturally gluten free dish instead!
In anticipation of the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick, and in celebration of my dear, green-minded friend Lara, I present a recipe designed to aid in the health of a certain organ that tends to take quite the beating during the rounds of green beer and cocktails that are a traditional, and arguably necessary part of tomorrow’s festivities: the liver.
Please note that I’m not a nutritionist. I have done considerable liver health research, asked numerous doctors and a nutritionist for advice, and I include liver boosting recipes in my diet on a regular basis, but I am not a professional!
So, here is the scoop: there are a couple of lone ranger, “all-star” vegetables that not only cleanse your liver, but help its every day function — sea vegetables, chlorophyll-rich foods (think dark green leafy veggies), artichoke, and dandelion root are all major liver boosters. While you could always buy a liver supplement, as a general rule, if you can provide your body with nutrients through cuisine instead of pills, those nutrients tend to be easier to digest and absorb. Not to mention cheaper. And yummier. Here is a full list of foods your liver would love you for:
- Dulse Flakes
- Nori (and other sea vegetables)
- Lemon Juice
- Dandelion Root Tea
- Daikon Radish
- Chlorophyll-rich leafy greens: Arugula, Radicchio, Collards, Kale, Endive, Escarole, Mizuna, Sorrel, Spinach, Parsley, Watercress, Red or green mustard greens, Dandelion greens, Nettles
While you can consume dandelion greens in salads, they can be hard to find in stores and are not always safe to eat when picked from the local park. Thus, dandelion root tea, which is available in most groceries stores, health food stores, etc. is the easiest way to access the dandelion’s liver boosting power. Ironically, there is an Italian Canadian tradition of making dandelion wine…how romantic! The other foods on the liver boosting list are most easily consumed in a salad or a smoothie.
To make a liver boosting smoothie, take Lara’s clean green smoothie recipe and try and include at least two types of dark greens such as spinach and kale, and add in a third such as collard greens if you can. Dulse Flakes, lemon juice, and a finely chopped beet are easily disguised by the yummy sweetness of mango and banana, making it super easy to drink your way to a healthy liver!
Today, I’ll provide you with a delicious liver boosting salad idea that will be easy to alter to fit what’s available to you locally. This recipe is super easy, super yummy, and its deliciousness depends on balancing bitter flavours with sweet and salty flavours. Kale, mustard greens, arugula, endive, escarole, collards, and radicchio each have a bitter taste profile, so they work especially well with sweet-tasting vegetables and fruits.
You can use any combination of the greens I list above, but this is the combination that I found works really well. This recipe makes at least 4 side servings, or 2 large “entree” salads.
for the salad
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup of kale, chopped and marinated in lemon juice for a half hour
1/2 cup radicchio
1/4 cucumber chopped up
1 whole clementine, broken into sections
1 raw beet, grated
1 raw carrot, grated (optional)
1-3 artichokes (if you can get fresh or frozen artichokes and steam them, you could just eat them traditionally off the top of your salad after drizzling them with the dressing. If fresh artichokes aren’t available to you, use artichokes tinned in water as a last resort)
for the dressing
1 juiced clementine
1-2 tbsp vinegar of choice — I used a pomegranate vinegar and it was amaaaaazing!
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard or tahine (you need this to hold the dressing together, so use your own preference here)
1 small bunch parsley
1 tsp honey or maple syrup
ground dulse flakes to taste
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Wash all of your vegetables and pat them dry. Grate your carrots and beets, steam the artichokes, and peel your clementine.
2. Puree all of the dressing ingredients together in a blender, magic bullet, or with an immersion blender. Don’t be afraid to use more or to less of something — make this dressing with your own twist! Make sure you are happy with the dressing before you cover your lovely salad with it. You want it to be sweet, with subtle tart and salty notes.
3. The assembly is pretty easy. Place your greens in the bottom of a large bowl top it with the grated beet and carrot, the artichokes, and the clementine. Add the kale to the salad right before serving so it won’t make your other greens soggy. Once all of the ingredients have been combined, drizzle the salad with the dressing just before serving.
Note: I promise I have made this salad many times, and I change the ingredients a little each time. This photographed version was made at my parents’, without the artichoke and beet. Carrot pieces are hiding below the greens, and the big beige hunk on top of the clementine in the middle is grated ginger. I decided to make kale chips for my salad and then I ended up eating the salad before the kale chips were out of the oven… oops! It just looked too yummy! Once I am back at home in Guelph and can make a more complete version of this salad, I’ll be sure to send Lara some new pictures. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these ones!
Both Spot and I wish you happy liver health, and a VERY happy St. Patrick’s Day!