Typically, I'm an autumn lovin' gal. I adore root vegetables, cozy sweaters, toques and scarves. I'm a libra who can eat all the pumpkin pies, brown foods, soups and stews imaginable, but let's get real here for a minute, it's still summer. Come August my Instagram was already showing signs of pumpkin spice, and last week when we hit up Costco (after an Ikea trip, it was a big day for me) we were bombarded with Christmas decorations. I get it, I really do. And I'm sure if you're in a hot climate the idea of the eventual shift in seasons is a refuge from the relentless summer. But instead of jumping ahead and spending the next four months in preparation for one special day (didn't this children's cartoon teach us anything) can we just be here in the moment a little longer and enjoy the beauty and bounty of summer while zucchini, eggplants, and local hot peppers still fill the farmers markets?
Holding onto summer a little longer, I find that hearty and robust salads make a great way to transition to the heavier, often cooked foods, of fall. It's still too warm (and nice outside) to be cooped up inside cooking over a stove all day, so making dishes which balance a few cooked and raw ingredients is my favourite way to transition to autumn, and salads are the perfect vehicle.
While these may not be the most glamorous salads, they come together in no time, and leave plenty of extra dressing to store in the fridge for quick and easy lunches - something I struggle with. Left undressed, all of these can be packed in school lunches, or taken to the beach, or office. With the exception of a few super foods that you can leave out, all of these ingredients can be found at any grocery store which makes eating well affordable, even on a student budget.
...and in regards to pumpkin spice, I'm waiting until the Harvest Moon to get full on Autumn over here. But it'll happen I promise 😉
GREENS WITH SPIRULINA DRESSING
Serves 2. Print Recipe Here.
This salad is in part inspired by one of my favourite cafes in Victoria, Bliss, who used to serve up a similar 'surfer' inspired salad dressing of spirulina alongside tenderized kale,kelp, arugula, marinated shiitake mushrooms, and pickled ginger. The spirulina flavour isn't for everyone, so start with a little powder and taste as you go.
Handful Chopped toasted Hazelnuts
1 head Crispy Lettuce like a Romaine or Radicchio
Handful Blueberries, 1 Avocado, or 1 Sliced Pear for garnish
6 Tbsp. Olive Oil (or light oil of choice like sunflower or avocado)
3 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Spirulina
1 tsp. Liquid Sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup)
1 tsp. Wheat-free Tamari
1 tsp. finely Grated Ginger
- Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a mason jar or small bowl. Arrange lettuce on plates and top with fruit and hazelnuts. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.
CRUDITÉS WITH GREEN GODDESS DRESSING + SESAME SALT
Serves 2. Print Recipe Here.
The base of this salad is incredibly versatile. While I was originally looking for watermelon radishes, they were nowhere to be seen this time of year, so French radishes it was. In the spring, fresh snap peas can be used, green beans in the summer, and cauliflower or endive come autumn and winter. This dressing can also be used as a dip for carrots and other veggie sticks.
1 English Cucumber, chopped in irregular shapes
Handful Watermelon or French Radish, chopped in irregular shapes
Handful Sprouts, herbs, or edible flowers
4 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Water (you can add upwards of 1/2 to thin it to desired consistency)
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Maple Syrup or Agave
Pinch of Sea Salt and Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Cup Packed Parsley (or mixed herbs like cilantro and basil)
3 Green Onions
1/4 Cup Black Sesame Seeds (White ones work too)
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
- Begin by making the sesame salt. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle crush the sesame seeds until there is a good mix of whole and ground seeds. Add the salt and set this mixture aside (extra is great used to top other dishes with).
- Next, arrange the salad. Begin by slicing the cucumber and radishes into thick irregular chunks and arrange them on a platter. If you are using some herbs, sprouts, or edible flowers add them now too.
- For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and puree until smooth. Add more water at the end if you want it thinner.
- Drizzle the dressing over the veggies before serving and garnish with some of the sesame salt.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD WITH ADAPTOGENIC TAHINI MISO DRESSING
Recipe Serves 2. Print Recipe Here
Like the salads above, this base is rather forgiving. Try roasting up whatever veggies you have in the fridge (especially the ones on the verge of going off).
1 large or 2 medium Beets (400g)
3 large Carrots
Pinch of Sea Salt
1 Tbsp. Oil
3 Tbsp. Miso mixed with 1/4 cup water
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Tahini
1 tsp. Wheat free Tamari
1 Tbsp liquid sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or agave)
2 Cloves Garlic, Grated
Pinch Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Ashwagandha (or whatever adaptogen you like, or skip it all together)
1/3 cup Olive Oil or other light oil
- Begin by cooking the veggies. For the beets, trim the end and top and give them a quick peel. If they are large, slice them into 1/2 or 1/4. Place them in a pot of boiling water and boil until tender. I used one large beet sliced into four so it only took about 20 minutes, but this will all depend on their size. Once you can pierce them with a fork, set them aside to cool before slicing into cubes.
- While the beets are cooking chop the cauliflower and carrots into bite-sized chunks. Drizzle them with the oil and a generous pinch of salt and roast in a 205 C (400 F) oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing halfway through.
- Lastly, to make the dressing, whisk the miso and the water until a paste is formed. Add the tahini, tamari, sweetener, garlic, oil, ashwagandha, and pepper and continue whisking until smooth. Add a few more Tbsp. of water to thin the dressing if you desire. I like mine to be around a peanut-sauce consistency.
- To serve, arrange the roasted veggies on a platter and serve alongside a drizzle of the dressing. This salad is great both warm or room temperature.
HIPPIE NUTRITIONAL YEAST SALAD WITH SAVOURY TURMERIC GRANOLA
Serves 2. Print Recipe Here
This salad is based on my ultimate California hippie dream, despite the fact I've never really been to California. Regardless, this salad has got all the hippie essentials - granola, turmeric, spouts, nooch, avocado, and kale.
1 Bunch Kale
Handful of Sunflower Sprouts (or sprouts of choice)
1 Avocado, Sliced
SAVOURY TURMERIC GRANOLA
1/2 Cup Oats
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 tsp. Tamari
1/4 tsp. Turmeric
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp. Golden Raisins
Made using this pickled onion recipe with 1 Cup Shredded Purple Cabbage instead of onions
NUTRITIONAL YEAST DRESSING
3 Tbsp. Powdered Nutritional Yeast (if you have the flakes, use 4 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp. Water
2 Tbsp. Tamari
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Large Garlic Cloves, Grated
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- Begin by making the quick pickled cabbage. Follow the instructions here but use 1 cup finely shredded cabbage instead of the onion. Let sit until cool.
- While the cabbage is pickling, make the granola. In a heavy bottom frying pan (I used cast iron) on medium low, toast the oats and nuts, stirring often, until they begin to brown and become fragrant. Add the turmeric, pepper, oil, maple syrup, and tamari to the pan and stir well to combine. Cook until the mixture comes together and the liquid begins to evaporate and become sticky. Set aside to cool.
- Next, tear the washed kale leaves into bite sided pieces and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Massage the kale in a large bowl until it begins to soften. It should only take a minute.
- Lastly is to make the dressing, which is simply combining all the ingredients in a mason jar and shaking or stirring together with a small whisk in a bowl.
- Assemble the salad as you like with a big handful of kale topped with 1/2 avocado per person, a handful of sprouts, some granola, cabbage, and a drizzle of dressing.