Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Taming the Green Monster

I know I am a strange person. That is not news to anyone who knows me.

Yesterday I was reminded again that the things I eat and the foods I crave are also not normal. I was doing an interview for DailyMile and we were discussing food and I mentioned craving salads and vegetables which produced a quizzical look. Later on that day, when I was talking to Scott my massage therapist at Psoas, he said "I never crave fruits and vegetables, just fatty food or sugar, etc". Never? Really?!

I thought about it for a while since honest to goodness I don't have sugar cravings, in fact I wouldn't really say I have cravings at all. Usually on my long runs I start thinking about the food I will refuel with and get particularly fixated on something but it's not a true craving and even if it were, well, I usually have earned it. On my 34.5 mile run this Sunday I got fixated on the idea of having roast chicken and salad for dinner and ultimately that is what we had. Rotisserie chicken from Limon and a big leaf salad. Really hit the spot.

After all the talk of food cravings or not, last night all I could think about was a big green salad. Not your restaurant style green salad which is usually just beautiful greens plus a delicious dressing. I am talking greens, green vegetables and even a herb-y dressing. Yes, I was craving it. I needed to tame that green monster.

And wow was it good. I actually ate WAY slower than I usually do so I could savor each and every bite. The only things that weren't green in this salad were the baked tofu and the sauerkraut. I felt like a superhero after eating this salad. I felt invigorated and satisfied. It is definitely one that I will be making again and again. Salad may not be rocket science, but that doesn't mean it can't be profound on occasion.

Greener than Green Salad


1 cup broccoli, lightly steamed (to make it less gas producing)

2 stalks of kale, cut into ribbons

4-6 cups of greens including arugula, spinach

2 tbsp fresh cilantro

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 cup sauerkraut

1 package baked tofu

1/2 avocado

1 cup rice vinegar

4 cloves garlic minced

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp fresh ginger

2-3 tbsp mixed fresh herbs

1/2 cup+ peanut oil


Mix vinegar, garlic, herbs, sesame oil, ginger in a blender. With the motor running, add in peanut oil until dressing emulsifies.

In a large bowl, put the cut kale into the bowl and add 2 tbsps dressing. With clean bare hands, massage the kale for 30 seconds until the leaves slightly soften. Add in greens, spinach, arugula, cilantro, and green onions. Toss to coat with dressing adding more to taste. Top with steamed broccoli, avocado, tofu and sauerkraut. Enjoy. This salad is definitely a meal, split it into two and have it as a side.

Speaking of weird cravings, last week I was seriously jonesing for chickpeas. I mean really, I couldn't get it out of my head. I decided for Wednesday dinner that I would call on my inner Greek and make some recipes from Vefa's Kitchen which I had gotten over the weekend. I made Vegetable and Garbanzo Bean Casserole as well as Chicken Souvlaki. Both were delicious and I am super keen to try more recipes from the cookbook. It is a good one, a classic and a compendium of Greek Food (it's been called the bible of traditional Greek Food). I won't share the recipes, but I will share a few photos of the delicious final product!


  1. Ok, that salad is right up my alley. I crave big green salads all the time. What I need to remind myself is that the time it takes to do all the chopping and washing is sooo worth the reward. Sometimes even if I am craving a big veggie dish I will grab some yogurt and almonds just because it is easier. Silly, I know. I think I will make your salad tonight Girlfriend!

    I have been experimenting with raw foods lately. Where did you learn that steamed broccoli is easier to digest? Also, I love tofu but have read a lot lately that soy (especially processed) is not good for you. What are your thoughts on that?

  2. I have eaten this salad everyday this week it is so delicious.

    As for the broccoli and all cruciferous vegetables, they are very gas producing and this is reduced by lightly steaming them. So I guess I should say, steaming it reduces this affect (the effect on me is akin to eating gluten, I get a big bloated belly after raw broccoli). There is a good deal of research out there that says that soy is not good for you in the amount people are taking it in. People drink soy milk, soy cheese, soy this, soy that. I don't eat an processed products, so I think a small amount of soy, prepared in the traditional manners is ok. I think it is making sure it is a small part of your diet. Moderation is key.

  3. Like you and Monica, I crave hearty green salads all the time too! There's just something so satisfying about crunchy greens and a great vinegar dressing with big chunks of goat cheese. The textures, maybe? The flavors, definitely! :)

  4. Hey Devon, if you are weird...then I am right there with ya! I crave hearty salads loaded with veggies too! I think when most people think of salad, they just think of the same old boring garden salad...but when you can introduce lots of different vegetables, starches, fruits, herbs, homemade dressings...the possibilities are fresh & endless. Whole, natural foods can totally be delicious and it's cool that you are posting these recipes for people to try...I know I will be! After reading some of them last night...today was one of those salad craving days and I had a "big bowl of nutrition" with mixed greens, mixed legumes, a ton of beets, cucumber, tomatoes and a yogurt based herbed ranch dressing...it really hit the spot! I bet a little gorgonzola or blue cheese sprinkled on top would have been the "icing on my kind of cake".
    Have you ever tried roasting your own red beets and putting them on a salad? I am on the hunt for a good recipe! : )


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