Friday, August 7, 2009

Raw Cauliflower Salad w/sweet corn, tomatoes and black beans....and making your own raw salads


The staple of my diet is salads.....well, really the main staple is vegetables, and what is a salad mostly composed of? Vegetables. I often say that I eat more vegetables than most vegetarians! And my favorite salads, especially in Spring, Summer and early Fall because of the variety and abundance of the freshest vegetables available, are raw vegetable salads. Why? I don't really know, because raw or cooked there are plenty of tasty salads, but if I had to come up with a reason, it's because there is nothing closer to the heartbeat of Mother Nature than a veggie that's in it's most natural state....freshly picked and raw. I love eating what I call "fresh, live"foods....how can you not feel fresh, and full of life when you eat them? It's like breathing.....

There are many vegetables that most people never think to prepare raw. Beets, asparagus, chard, kale / collards, string beans, and cauliflower. But I find, these veggies do better with a dressing that kind of acts like a "marinade" to soften them because of their fibrous nature.....in other words, lots of acid (vinegar, lemon, etc.). Another benefit to using these fibrous veggies is that they'll stand up a few days in the fridge, only getting better in most cases as they sit and soak up the dressings.

One good technique for raw veggie salads is to slice or shred them very thin, and in this salad I used a Japanese mandoline to shred my cauliflower. I also did not want to make this salad "sweet" in any kind of "fruity" or "sugary" way, so for some sweetness, to contrast the vinegar in the dressing, I chose tomatoes and sweet corn....I didn't think sweet fruit, or a dressing with sugar or honey would taste good with raw cauliflower! I also didn't want anything "onion-ey". You have to get familiar with what different veggies taste like, and look like, if you want to start making up your own salads. For this salad I thought about the color contrast of the cauliflower with black beans, red tomatoes, yellow corn and green parsley. Another way to start is by reading recipes to see how others have combined flavors and tastes together.



Raw Cauliflower Salad w/sweet corn, tomatoes and black beans

1 head cauliflower, shredded
2 ears of sweet yellow corn
1 basket cherry toamaotes
1-2 c. cooked black beans
italian parsley, finely chopped



Dressing

2-4 tbl. extra virgin oilive oil
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
season highly with salt and pepper

Toss all of the salad ingredients. No need to make the dressing in a seprate bowl, just pour right on top of salad and.....here's the important part.....taste it to see what needs adjusting.....my measurements are approximate! Is it seasoned enough with salt? Does it need more acid? (more lemon, more lime)



I used an orange cauliflower in the bottom picture because that's what I found at the market and, of course, I cooked my own black beans in the pressure cooker, but you can used canned...just remember to rinse them off......I also cooked my corn in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes and then sliced the kernals off of the cob. If you want to make your own "wraps" I think this would be great in a warm flour tortilla with a little Queso Fresca cheese.....and of course feel free to add any kind of animal protein, like chicken, turkey, bacon, or beef.....or how about some grilled salmon?



Raw cauliflower also makes an awesome "pantry salad", but I'll wait until winter, in the mean time it's fresh, fresh, fresh for me!

Cauliflower Antipasta Salad

cauliflower
black kalmata olives
sun dried tomatoes
pepprocini
diced salami
cooked dried pasta, like "bow tie"

Dressing

olive oil
red wine vinegar
a little lemon
a little juice from the pepprocini
a pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

4 comments:

fawn said...

I love beans in salads! Looks yummy! Can't wait to see you in September!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Fawn,

You love beans....period! lol

I can't wait to see what you've been up to in the kitchen.....you inspire my cooking for the whole year between our visits!

I still use alot of chipolte, and pork! And my salads have reached a whole new level since the barbeque parties we had at your house last year....which reminds me....did you guys ever get a new grill?

(I still don't make my own mayonaise though, lol)

La Saun Taylor, RKC, AFAA-CPT said...

I love black beans!! This dish looks great, adding some chicken, turkey, or salmon is a must for me. Happy Belated Birthday Tracy! Can't wait to see you in Philly in October.

Tracy Reifkind said...

La Saun!

I have some bad news......

Mark and I won't be going to Philly, instead Mark's teaching at the Sept Cert! Bummer!

Oh well, I guess you'll have to come to the San Jose Cert next year and stay with us!