Culture Up Your Salads

You might consider salads to be the ultimate health food. They are full of nutrients if made properly, but they can certainly be beefed up with various cultured foods to add more enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and nutrient density.

In fact, salads are a great way to “hide” cultured foods if you have family members who are still skeptical of the dynamic and often tangy flavors of cultured foods. Salad dressings made of cultured dairy or kombucha can be used in place of store-bought. Fermented vegetables that are shredded or in small pieces can be tossed into a bowl of greens or other chopped vegetables and go unnoticed. Cured meats and raw cheeses can be included as part of the protein component of your salad. Sourdough croutons can add crunch and flavor and turn your salad into a meal.

So let’s build a cultured salad, shall we?

Bed of Greens

Obviously you’ll want to start with a bed of vegetables, especially greens. Any lettuce, spinach, baby green, or cabbage can be used. If you are building a large salad then chopping the greens into bite-sized pieces makes eating them all the more easier.

Dressing

People often think of dressing as the “bad” part of the salad, when in fact if traditional fats are used they can be a healthy component that helps you to absorb various vitamins and minerals from the vegetables.

You can also easily substitute your favorite cultured dairy for mayonnaise or store-bought buttermilk or use kombucha for a vinaigrette. Here are a few recipes to get you started:


Cheese

One cultured addition to salads that many people already enjoy is cheese. Use a raw cheese for optimum enzymes and nutrients. Try...


Fermented Vegetables

A great way to add culture to your salads is with the addition of bite-sized lacto-fermented vegetables. These can actually be hidden pretty well within a salad for those who aren’t familiar with them, but cultured vegetable lovers and haters alike will enjoy their tangy, bubbly flavor.


Cured Meats

Many people don’t realize that a lot of what we know of today as cured meats were traditionally made using a fermentation process. Meats like dry salamis and bacon are traditionally made through a curing process that involves lactic acid bacteria.  Look for artisanal versions of these popular meats for a cultured meat product.

Sourdough Croutons

If you’d like a flavorful, crunchy component to your salad then consider making croutons from day-old sourdough bread.

Cut your sourdough bread into small cubes and toss with olive oil or melted butter, sea salt, and parsley and garlic powder. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for around 8 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

Composed Salads

Now that you have an idea of the various cultured ingredients you can include in your salad, let’s talk about a few ideas to pull them all together.

You can use any combination of cultured ingredients, salad vegetables, and dressings as a side or main dish salad. But, if you’re staring at a garden bed of lettuce that needs to be eaten then try these main dish cultured salads for a nutrient-dense supper (*notes that a recipe is listed above):

Taco Salad - Combine greens, cooked and seasoned grass-fed beef, cultured salsa, cultured cream, cultured guacamole, raw cheddar cheese, beans, rice, or any of the above.

Cobb Salad - Combine greens, crumbled bacon, raw cheddar cheese, kefir ranch dressing*, cooked cubed chicken, and lacto-fermented cherry tomatoes*.

Greek Salad - Combine greens, grilled meat, feta, naturally cured olives, zucchini kraut, and an oil & vinegar dressing with oregano.

So the next time you throw a salad together consider beefing up the nutrition with healthy and delicious cultured dressings, toppings, and additions.

 

         
   
Salad with Cultured and Fermented Ingredients


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