The farmers markets are back in full swing around our home province of BC, and with them comes an abundance of fresh local produce.
One of the things we love to get at this time of year is fresh salad greens! If you’re looking for a way to make your lunch or dinner salad a little more special, we would like to suggest – well – going a bit nuts with it!
Nuts are highly nutritious as well as delicious. They are full of nutrients, loaded with antioxidants and are considered a “good” fat. They are high in protein and good source of dietary fibre. Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease. That’s a lot of goodness in a little package! You can see why we’re nuts about nuts!
Here are some of the good things in the following nuts:
- Almonds: protein, calcium, vitamin E
- Brazil nuts: great source of selenium and fibre
- Cashews: iron and antioxidants
- Hazelnuts: fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin E
- Pecans: fibre, manganese
- Walnuts: plant-based omega-3 fatty acids
Nutty Salad Topping
Here is a super quick and easy way to make a delicious salad topping using just a few ingredients: Rancho Vignola nuts and seeds, a bit of coconut oil, a couple of cloves of garlic and your favourite spices.
Choose some combination of RV nuts and seeds – I’m using a half a cup of walnuts (chopped) and one cup of sunflower seeds here.
First, heat one tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan, then add a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and sauté at medium heat so as not to burn them. Now add the chopped nuts and the whole seeds, stir to coat with the oil and garlic. Then go ahead and add your favourite spices; I used a 1/2-teaspoon of cumin, 1/4-teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper in this batch. Let everything toast together by heating the pan over medium heat for up to five minutes. Keep an eye on it! You want the nuts and seeds to just begin to take on a golden colour, but not to burn. Once they are just golden, they will have acquired an extra bit of crunchiness that makes it such a nice salad topper on fresh crisp greens. Toasting them also gives them a wonderful depth of flavour.
Now sprinkle them on your salad, top with your favourite dressing and enjoy!
Easy, nutritious and delicious!
Note: Once you have made this the first time and discovered how simple and yummy it is, you may want to experiment with lots of different nut, seed and spice combinations. Oregano is lovely mixed with spicy paprika and a bit of a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Pumpkin seeds are a favourite to use too, as are pecans.
This topping is not just for fresh spring salad greens – it can be enjoyed on grated cabbage or kale and carrot salad in the fall and is equally delicious on winter soups! Try it out and let us know if you love it. And if you come up with a favourite nut, seed and spice combo, please share your ideas with us!
~ Heather M.