During the warm summer months I crave lighter, cooler foods and this salad really hits the spot for me… especially on some recent days when our air conditioner wasn’t working.
Summer is the season of berries and I love fresh berries, so I like to use them regularly while they are in season and on sale. They’re bright and beautiful, and they burst with sweet goodness. They’re perfect to savor on a hot summer’s day… so why not vitalize a healthy meal with their colors and flavors?
To make this salad into a more satisfying meal I add smoked tempeh — the same tempeh recipe I use in my Spinach with Smokey Tempeh and Pears recipe. The smokey flavor works really well with the sweet strawberries and the cucumber adds a crisp, cooling quality to the salad.
I like the way blueberries and cucumbers go together, and my husband loves blueberries on or in almost everything. In addition, recent research conducted by Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center indicated blueberries help prevent type 2 diabetes and help minimize inflammation in obese individuals.
Not only is this salad eye-catching but it provides a broad range of antioxidants with all of the greens and berries. Plus the vitamin C in the berries helps you absorb the iron in the greens. For more on why that’s important read my article on Low Ferritin.
This can either be made into a meal for 2 or it can be made into a side salad for 4. I like to use a spring mix, spinach or a mix of the two, but you can use your favorite greens.
- Bunch of Spring Mix/Spinach or your favorite greens
- 3/4 cup fresh strawberries sliced or quartered
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup cucumbers sliced and halved
- Smoked tempeh, click here for recipe
Divide the salad greens into 2 or 4 bowls (2 large salad bowls for a main meal or 4 smaller bowls for a side salad).
Top the greens with the remaining ingredients divided evenly between the bowls.
A basic balsamic vinaigrette, raspberry vinaigrette or honey mustard dressing works well with this salad. It’s also pretty good without dressing, but a dressing with healthy fats will help your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.
This is especially important for recently diagnosed gluten intolerance patients. Gluten does its earliest and worst damage to the upper part of your small intestine, which is the part responsible for digesting fat-soluble vitamins and minerals (which includes Vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as calcium, iron and zinc).
So even if you like the salad without dressing, adding a drizzle of olive oil or flax oil with a touch of lemon or orange zest can help your body maximize the benefits of this nutrient-packed salad.