I think you know that I’m infatuated with the raw food concept. And while that may sound like an odd concept, on some level we all like raw. Summer is the ‘raw’ Mecca as home gardens and farmer’s markets bust with succulent fruits waiting to burst with sweet juices, fragrant with a lovely floral scent. But let’s be honest, I am not just talking about eating fruits raw, and while I don’t believe I am a full fledged contingent of the growing raw-food advocates group I am enjoying dabbling in it. Do I believe that raw food has more nutrients? Perhaps it is healthier to eat raw. After all eating produce raw allows you to consume it void of processing. Living food is undeniably full of active enzymes and nutrients.
No need to ditch your stove, as a cook I just can’t take that hard of a stance because I do get excited about the thought of what happens when the blackberries hit the skillet, and say, some cinnamon. In minutes, it transforms into something richer and equally luscious and delicious. But I digress.
Cooking has its pros and cons. While it concentrates and activates some antioxidants, enabling the body to more easily absorb them it can also remove/destroy some nutrients like vitamin C and B. When heating veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, healing antioxidants are diminished. But then take my Nonnie’s pasta sauce – tomatoes get added oomph – much like cooked carrots (my declared food adversary from age 3), which take on stronger beta-carotene properties than raw carrots.
The bottom line- or rather RAW DEAL – both raw and cooked produce offer distinct benefits. So cover all of your bases and enjoy all of your food possibilities…and this fantastic beet salad. The flavors really are a treat. The sweet apple and the beets are shredded together with fennel and kohlrabi giving it a slightly sharp yet nutty taste. When dressed with a vinaigrette made of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and citrus this salad takes on a lovely balance of flavors. Nutty and every so slightly chewy sesame seeds and crunchy Marcona almonds make this dish full of robust flavors and textures.
Shredded Beet & Toasted Sesame Salad
1/2 cup fennel bulb, rough chopped
1 orange, peeled and sliced into rounds
4 TBS sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 cup Marcona almonds
4 TBS balsamic vinegar
4 TBS grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed
3 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Peel the beets with a carrot peeler, slice into quarters and set aside. Slice the apple into wedges, set aside. Using a knife, remove the thick skin of the kohlrabi. Slice the kohlrabi into pieces.
Using a food processor, shred the veggies and apples. Combine in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, in a separate bowl, whisk together vinegar, grapefruit juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the salad and fold in the sesame seeds. Lay orange slices on top, sprinkle Marcona almonds and a few extra sesame seeds on top.