Right now I’m almost in the middle of the second week doing Cleanse (you can read more about it here). I’m not a Whole Living subscriber and hardly have an idea who Martha Stewart is, but I’m an absolute fan of Sarah B. from the My New Roots, who was asked to come up with a recipes for the first week and I have a Sprouted Kitchen cookbook by Sara Forte, who was responsible for the second week. I took the whole thing as an experiment. My normal diet is pretty close to those described (the only big difference is – I’m totally addicted to the oat still cuts in the morning and it made my first days being pretty rough), but since I’m digging into nutrition and stuff right now, I was interested in seeing how elimination of different foods will affect my body. It was a time to make some observations. So far I think that it’s not a fast, but rather a feast. All the recipes for the first week and most of recipes for the second week are fabulous. Learning by doing. It’s been only about 10 days, but I learned more than in a year about better food combinations, preparations etc.
Anyways, the salad I made today is a beautiful combination of an inspiration from my new experience and a desire to implement some of recipes I read about lately.
The salad consists from four parts (each is delicious on its own).
Part one (the core): Lentils.
Lentils are my current obsession (I don’t give up quinoa, but these guys are something). Lentils are extremely good for you, they are very versatile as they work great in a salad, as a side, in a soup and you know what? – they are great just simmered with some salt. Last week I tried french lentils in a salad and red lentils in a stew (both dishes were absolutely mouthwatering). When I was doing grocery shopping for lentils, I also got some beluga lentils to try. They look as fancy as the black beluga caviar I assume they are named after. I was very excited to try them. Today was the day. I didn’t like the salad I was supposed to have today for lunch according to the cleanse plan and I knew that I can use any recipe from the previous week (but not from the next one), so I decided to make my salad based on lentils, which will provide me with protein and a ton of vitamins.
Part two: Bok Choy.
I don’t normally buy bok choy. I don’t mind it, just don’t buy it. But I had to get it for one of recipes and had half of the head left. So I thought that it had to be used asap. Bok choy always brings asian twist to any dish, especially when it is sautéed or stir fried with ginger, carrots and onion.
Part three: Asparagus.
I really love asparagus. I’ve been waiting for the season to come and, yay, it’s finally here! Asparagus now is so sweet and crispy so I just can’t get enough of it. I’ve recently come across this recipe and was excited to try it. Asparagus tastes great steamed and roasted, but when it is so fresh it tastes especially good raw.
Part four, the final: Massaged kale.
Everybody knows that Kale is nutritional treasury and that you “need” to love kale and if you don’t, then get out of our sandbox. I first tried kale 2 years ago, when we got it with our CSA. I had no idea what to do with it and I think the first bunch just went bad and the second one was sautéed, but didn’t turn out very good. Let’s face it, the taste of kale is not that great if you don’t know what to do with it. Last summer I tried kale chips and then made a few bags of it, recently I used kale in a white bean stew and it was delicious. So I had to get some kale for one of the recipes this week. I didn’t like the recipe that much and decided to make kale in a different way. After reading about massaging it here I really wanted to give it a try.
So here we are.
- 1/3 head of bok choy sliced
- 1 small carrot julienned
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 inch of fresh ginger minced
- 2 asparagus spears
- 1/3 cup beluga (french will work too) lentils (preferably soaked up to 8 hours)
- 1/3 bunch of kale
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1tsp raw honey
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- coarse salt
1. Start with making marinade for the asparagus. Mix 1 tbsp of olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and a dash of salt and stir well. Using a vegetable peeler shave asparagus creating a ribbon. Place asparagus in a bowl, cover with marinade and toss. Let sit while you are cooking the rest.
2. Rinse lentils, put them into a sauce pan, cover with water and add a dash of salt. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for about 10-20 minutes (Start tasting after 10 minutes. Mine were cooked in 15 after been soaked for 3-4 hours). Once cooked, drain.
3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on a large skillet. Add garlic, ginger and onion. Cook stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Add bok choy and carrots. Cook stirring for another 6 minutes. Carrot should soften a little, but bok choy shouldn’t turn into a mess. Take off the heat and cover.
4. Slice kale thinly. Put it into a bowl, add lemon juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil and massage for about 1-2 minutes. Kale will get darker and the taste will be more flavourful.
4. Assembling is completely up to you. I put bok choy on the bottem, covered it with kale, then added asparagus and topped with lentils. Dress with asparagus marinade. Toss a couple times and enjoy.
P.S. So I have half of the “cleanse” to go, but I have already started missing it. So far I can tell the difference in my body according to what I eat. I don’t miss dairy, I don’t miss my still cuts any more. I Know that vegetables with grains and fruits provide all I need (it is exactly my recent diet, but now I had a chance to deconstruct it and notice all the little affects). My resolution so far is: to start cooking different meals more often (like every 2 days) and don’t get stuck with my “quinoa + veggies” for lunch. Almost every meal from the Cleanse plan takes about 20-30 min to make (not so bad), you always have enough leftovers which will stay good for 2-4 days. The amount of money spent on the groceries is the same as we normally spend on groceries. Don’t have any disadvantages to add..Well, I do crave some dark chocolate and can’t wait to make my own.