If food were clothing, would it be easier to get people to buy better quality? If organic fruits and vegetables were granite counter tops and raw milk organic cheese was hardwood flooring, would people suddenly find them affordable? And if preparing our food became a standard by which we measured our success, would we find the time to buy the best ingredients, grown in the best manner, and even make time to cook it ourselves? Clothes have had a long history as a measure of status. So have cars and house furnishings. So why doesn’t food and by extension, the ability to look after ourselves give us status the way driving a BMW does? Isn’t the ability to keep ourselves healthy our number one responsibility, as all other pleasures are possible when we are at our physical best?
Or it is just a matter of marketing and description? If we put as much thought into describing our food as we do our clothes, than would we stop looking for the perfect little black dress and instead, start searching for the perfect little black salad? Perhaps food pundits should start describing food the way fashion pundits describe clothes:
Having a little black salad that flatters your body is a worry-free way to eat — and get noticed. Here, we have a classic, chic and season-less Little Black Salad that encompasses a simple elegance like no other dish. It can go with you to work or to play with an effortless addition of some simple ingredients. It will make you feel beautiful and, with an ample fibre content, give you a sleeker look. Accessorized with some yellow corn niblets and chopped green onions to give it a bright, fresh look and complete the salad.
So why black? They say the darker the food, the better it is for you (*not true) and the better you will look. Loaded with phytonutrients called anthocyanins, that research shows are helpful for preventing many health conditions, this salad covers all food groups, making it the perfect addition to your daily diet and never goes out of style. A little goes a long way and eating this salad will make you feel and look amazing.
*This isn’t actually true as since phytonutrients are part of the plant’s immune system and nature gives all plants equal opportunity to survive. This means that powerful phytonutrients must be high in a plant, no matter what the colour. A red tomato may not be as high in anthocyanins as a black tomato but it is higher in lycopene, a member of the very beneficial carotenoid phytonutrient family. This gives it the red colour instead the black. There are many different families of phytonutrients. Most plants are a combination of more than one type, but there is no proof that one family is better than another.
Perfect Little Black Salad
All ingredients should preferably be organic
1 cup cooked black wild rice (1/2 cup dry)
1 cup cooked black quinoa (1/4 cup dry)
1/2 cup cooked black turtle beans (1/4 cup dry)
2 tbsp black sesame seeds, lightly toasted and ground
1 cup black kale, chopped
6 dried black mission figs, chopped into 1/2 inch small pieces
8 black cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons of finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn niblets, steamed
1/2 tsp butter or coconut oil***
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar**
1/4 tsp molasses**
1 tsp black chia, ground
1 small clove garlic, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste (put a bit in the dressing and the rest to taste when tasting the whole salad)
To lightly roast the sesame seeds, place them on a tray in the oven for 10 minutes at 325 degrees F. Let cool and grind in a clean coffee grinder. Set aside. Steam the corn niblets until soft and place in bowl with the butter. Add the quinoa, wild rice, turtle beans, figs, kale, ground sesame seeds, tomatoes, green onions and corn. Mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the other ingredients. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad and serve. This will keep for several days in the fridge.
** Molasses is the obvious “black” choice for a sweetener as is aged balsamic vinegar (must be real balsamic vinegar) but honey and apple cider vinegar would work as well if these are not to your taste preference. It won’t be as “black” but these also have great health benefits.
***To make sure every food group was covered, I had to find a way to add some saturated fat. I did make the dressing with a combination of coconut oil and olive oil but it was not to my taste. So I prefer adding some butter to the corn because what is corn without butter?
To cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa, and place in 1/2 cup hot water with a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil. Place a lid on the pot and lower the heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the water is all absorbed. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
To cook the wild rice: Rinse the wild rice, and place in one and half cups hot water with a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil. Place a lid on the pot and lower the heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes until the rice is the texture you desire. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
To cook the turtle beans: Soak the beans for 8 hours. Rinse and place in one to two cups hot water. Bring to a boil. Place a lid on the pot and lower the heat to simmer and cook for 2 hours minutes until the beans are the texture you desire and no more foam is coming off the beans. Add a pinch of sea salt just before it is cooked (do not add at the beginning as it impedes the absorption of water into the bean) Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside. Note: If you can find salt free black beans, already cooked, this step can be skipped. Just be sure to rinse well.