Another Cooking Technique…Blanched Salad

Blanched Salad with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots

Blanched Salad with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots

Hello!  So I am back again with another technique for you, rather than a specific recipe.  As I work with Rachel, I realize that one of the keys to eating well is knowing a few good basic techniques that are simple, quick, and can use a variety of ingredients.  I sometimes opt out of cooking dinner and eat something not as healthy because the prospect of looking at recipes and finding ingredients is too much when I am tired. If you have some fresh vegetables in the fridge, a can or two of beans in the pantry, and some sort of cooked grain, you can easily make a meal.  The soup I showed the other day is an example of an easy dinner.  This blanched salad is another one. 

When you see the word salad you immediately think a raw salad that is based on some sort of lettuce. As it turns out, you can make a salad without lettuce at all! And it doesn't have to be raw. A good, leafy green salad is definitely delicious and is great when it is hot outside.  But raw vegetables can be hard to digest.  Quickly blanching some vegetables makes them easier to digest and offers the body a gentler kind of energy.  To blanch vegetables, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cut, chop or slice your vegetables.  Keep them all seperate because they will cook at different rates.  Put a handful of vegetables at a time into the boiling water, and then quickly scoop them out with a slotted spoon or spider.  Greens like collards and kale stay in about 15 or 20 seconds.   Carrots maybe 45 seconds.  Broccoli and cauliflower maybe 45 seconds or a minute.  It will all depend on how big they are cut.  You aren't trying to cook them all the way through, just "knock the raw off."  Ha!  Seriously, it is just a quick cook.  As you take them out of the water, lay them out on a large platter or sheet tray so they can cool.  Be sure the let the water return to a boil before adding the next round of vegetables.  Covering the pot speeds this up. 

Blanched salad with kale, carrots and currants

Blanched salad with kale, carrots and currants

To serve, you can layer them on a platter and drizzle with dressing, or toss them all in a bowl with a little dressing.  They turn out beautiful with vibrant colors! You can use any dressing, but use it sparingly.  Don't ruin nice fresh vegetables drenched in an oily, sugary dressing.  You can read about dressing here. It is simple to make your own.  If you google salad dressing you will come up with lots of options.  Just stear away from those with sour cream, heavy cream, sugar, packages of seasoning mix.  Honestly, you really can just drizzle the salad with a little olive oil and lemon juice.  Add a little salt  and you are set.  In terms of the vegetables you use, think of using a variety of colors and textures, based on how you want your salad to turn out.  If you use red cabbage, blanch it last as your water will turn blue/pink and color your other vegetables! I used what I had on hand….broccoli stems leftover from making Broccoli Crunch Salad, cauliflower and carrots.  In class we made kale, carrots and currants. (you don't blanch the fruits, just sprinkle in at the end.). The options are endless!  This is a "recipe" to keep in your back pocket for any time you need a nourishing salad but are tired, don't have much time, or just want something simple. I feel great when I eat this.  Light and energetic.  Try it, I bet you will too!