This is hands down my favorite spring/summer time salad. I'm calling it Salad with SASS…mixed salad greens topped with Strawberries, Avocado and Sunflower Seeds then dressed with a very easy, light and crisp, coconut vinaigrette. Salad with SASS is spectacular as a side to a grilled grass-fed steak or a bunless burger, even better with grilled chicken thighs added on top. If you do dairy, feta (or crumbled chèvre) cheese completes it nicely.
SASS Salad Superstars
Seriously, you can’t go wrong with strawberries, any berries really. They are low in sugar and fructose and loaded with phytonutrients, which is just a fancy word to say they are chock full of compounds that promote good health. Berries are berry good for you. Strawberries provide the body with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin C. Strawberries are on the EWG's Dirty Dozen List, which means they have a high amount of pesticide residue. Best to buy organic, I say. Recently spotted…organic strawberries at Costco! And, they were only a $1 more compared to the conventional. Score.
There is far too much to say about the this superstar in one paragraph. In fact, I've devoted an entire blog post extolling the virtues of avocados. Here's a fact that you'll not soon not forget. Or perhaps you'll remember the next time your eye starts twitching. We've all heard bananas being praised for their potassium content, right? Well guess what, avocados got bananas beat in the potassium department. Per ounce, bananas have 100 g of potassium, meanwhile, avocados have 144 g. In addition to potassium, which is essential for proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves (see twitchy eye example above) and digestive system, avocados are also rich in magnesium, an essential mineral that most Americans don’t get enough of. Unlike strawberries, which have pesky pesticides, our friend the avocado is one of the Clean 15.
I ditched croutons on my salad over a decade ago, but if you are new to living a low-carb lifestyle and missing the crunch, sunflower seeds come to the rescue nicely. In addition, they are little powerhouses that do a body good. Sunflower seeds are rich in both vitamin E and selenium. Vitamin E in the body acts as an antioxidant, protecting the cells from damage caused by free radicals. A 1/4 cup serving of sunflower seeds provides more than 40% of the recommended daily value. Selenium, a trace mineral, is necessary for several processes in the body, including the immune response and thyroid function. Who knew sunflower seeds could be more than just bird food!
I recently shared on the Healthy Living How To Facebook page a TEDx talk titled Minding your Mitochondria. In this talk, Dr. Terry Wahls shares how she cured her secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis with a diet rich in dark leafy greens. Wow! The video is amazing, be sure to take the time to watch it below. The diet which she recommends is a “hunter gatherer” diet, one in which processed foods are ditched in favor of things like fish, grass-fed meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lots of greens. For optimal health, Dr. Wahls encourages at least three cups of salad greens a day, “greens are rich in B vitamins, plus A, C, K and minerals. The B Vitamins will protect your brain cells and mitochondria. Vitamin A and C support your immune cells, Vitamin K keeps your blood vessels and bones healthy and minerals are co-factors for hundreds of different enzymes in your body. Plus having a plate of daily greens will dramatically lower your risk of having cataracts and macular degeneration.” Greens…they are on the dirty list, go organic, if you can.
- 3 c. Mixed Salad Greens
- 4 Medium Strawberries
- 1/2 Medium Avocado
- 2 Tbsp. Hulled Dry Roasted Sunflower Seeds (with salt)
- 1 Tbsp. Coconut Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5 Drops Liquid Stevia
- To a large salad bowl add salad greens.
- Top with diced strawberries, sliced and diced avocado and sunflower seeds.
- In small dish whisk vinegar, oil and stevia.
- Dress salad.
This makes one large salad for one person. Scale up or down accordingly. Don't forget to eat your protein...on the side.