I spent a few days in Boston last week at a conference - hence the lack of activity around here - and I came back home craving fresh and healthy meals, which always happens when I go away on trips. So this detox salad is what I'm eating this week!
I'm sure there are plenty of great vegetarian places to eat in Boston, but I didn't have any time to explore the city on my own, so my only meals consisted of the Starbucks in the lobby for breakfast, boxed lunches provided by the conference, and dinners at a restaurant nearby chosen by the group. That meant my options on the menu were somewhat limited to things like cheese pizza or pasta with tomato sauce, but I still had a good time which is what counts!
Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get back into my own kitchen and make a huge fresh salad to enjoy. The only vegetable remaining in my fridge was the rest of the parsnips from this recipe, so I searched through my bookmarks for other parsnip ideas and was reminded of this raw parsnip rice with pineapple from the taste space.
A raw salad full of fresh ingredients sounded like just the thing I wanted, so I headed out to the grocery store to pick up the rest of the components.
I ended up changing up Janet's recipe quite a bit to squeeze in even more fruits and veggies and turn the dish into more of a tropical inspired salad than her Thai version.
The base of the salad is a mixture of raw parsnips, carrot, and cauliflower all ground up to resemble the texture of couscous. Next, I added fresh pineapple, mango, red pepper and cucumber, plus some dried apricots, all finely diced to the same size.
Once you've got your fruits and veggies, the next component is to add more layers of flavour with lots of herbs - I used cilantro, mint, and green onion. And of course a great salad in my mind needs some kind of nuts, so I went with Janet's suggestion of adding chopped roasted cashews.
Finally, to bring everything together, I made a light and fruity dressing by pureeing more pineapple with some lime juice and ginger.
This turned out to be exactly what I was craving! The best way to describe this salad is that it's super refreshing, and how could it not be, with all of those raw ingredients? I loved the combination of sweet ripe tropical fruits with the crisp veggies, crunchy cashews, and fresh herbs.
My favourite salads are ones with lots of different ingredients so that every bite is interesting, and I thought all of the components in this salad were balanced out nicely so that one flavour didn't dominate.
This recipe also makes a big batch, and I'm happy to have a full container of it to eat for meals over the next few days until my cravings for comfort food come back!
Inspired by the taste space
2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 a small head of cauliflower, chopped
1/2 a large red pepper, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup finely diced cucumber
1 ripe mango, finely diced
1.5 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
5-6 tbsp chopped cashews (I used unsalted roasted cashews)
1/4 cup finely diced apricots
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
Juice of one lime
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp honey or agave nectar
1 tsp olive oil
Dash of herbamare or salt
Add the parsnips, carrot, and cauliflower to the large bowl of a food processor. Pulse until veggies are finely minced, but not pureed (the texture should resemble rice). Transfer to a large bowl. It should look like this:
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, stirring to mix thoroughly.
To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Pour dressing over salad and toss to mix.
Store salad in the fridge until ready to eat. Serve cold or at room temperature. Season each serving with additional lime juice and/or herbamare if desired.
Makes 4-5 large servings.