A Cleansing & Beautifying Fall Salad

All year round it is important to take care of our selves and eat nutrient dense foods in their whole form. When we eat seasonally, we are in sync with Mother Nature and utilizing the foods that our bodies need most during that time period. The local farmers market is the perfect place to embrace lots of fresh and colorful produce while supporting the environment and economy of your area. It also helps to keep small, often family owned businesses going rather than making big supermarket chains even more profitable. 

This season it’s all about cleansing beets and other grounding sweet root vegetables, delicious brussels sprouts (especially when cooked with a little high quality bacon – yum) and other cruciferous greens including kale, classic green beans, crisp apples, and naturally sweet cranberries, persimmons and pomegranates etc. With so much variety on offer, there is no shortage of ideas on what to make. While I like to enjoy slow cooked, grounding meals during the evening, I can’t seem to break the habit of having a big hearty salad for lunch. Therefore, I wanted to share with you my favorite fall / winter salad recipe using vegetables and fruits that are totally in their prime. 

Kale is a true super food, loaded with Vitamins A, C and K. It is a true beauty food with anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its ideal omega-3:omega-6 ratio, as well as potent antioxidants to combat free radicals in the body that can damage skin cells and lead to premature aging. Last but not least, this dark leafy green is a natural detoxifier, supporting liver health and purifying the blood with its high chlorophyll content. Did you know that herbs are also dark leafy greens? The cilantro and parsley in this salad help to detox the body from heavy metals and the mint aids the digestion process. 

To top off any great salad, I always love to use fruit for natural sweetness, nuts for added texture (providing a pleasant little crunch with every bite), and luscious olive oil or a good dose of healthy monounsaturated fats (Mediterranean style). Cool fact: the pomegranates in this super salad have three times as many antioxidants as red wine and green tea, and the bright orange persimmons support a strong immune system with high levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. I just know you are going to enjoy this perfectly balanced recipe as much as I do. If you need more protein to create satiety, I suggest using roast chicken or turkey.  

Photo by Lauren Edith Andersen - Clothes by Stella Carakasi - Styling by Lauren Andersen and Samantha Nobles-Block @radishandfig - Jewelry by Marisa Mason

Photo by Lauren Edith Andersen - Clothes by Stella Carakasi - Styling by Lauren Andersen and Samantha Nobles-Block @radishandfig - Jewelry by Marisa Mason

Recipe by The Bojon Gourmet

Yields 2 large or 4 smaller servings
Ingredients (all organic where possible)
•    1 ½ teaspoons cumin seed
•    3 tablespoons good olive oil
•    2 tablespoons lemon juice
•    1 tablespoon maple syrup
•    ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
•    1 bunch dino kale, stems removed, leaves chopped into 2" pieces (6 cups loosely packed)
•    1 cup loosely packed parsley and/or cilantro leaves
•    ½ cup loosely packed mint leaves
•    1 cup toasted walnuts, almonds or pecans
•    2 large fuyu persimmons (or apples)
•    ½ cup pomegranate arils
•    optional: crumbled goat cheese, feta or ricotta 

Instructions
1    Place the cumin in a small, dry skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool, then grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. In a bowl or measuring pitcher, whisk in the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and salt. Place the prepared kale leaves in a large bowl and toss with the dressing, using your hands to squeeze and squish the kale; this helps to make it tender and absorb the dressing. Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients, at least 5 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
2    Add the herbs, nuts, and fruit to the bowl and toss well to coat. Toss with crumbled cheese if using and serve immediately, or chill for up to several hours.

Notes
Feel free to use any combination of soft herbs that you like here, including dill, fennel fronds, tarragon, cilantro, basil, or celery leaves.