Green Goddess Bowl

Greens Glorious Greens…

The term, ‘eat your greens’ probably brings back vivid memories of your parents trying to force-feed you soggy, sad-looking broccoli and microwaved peas before you could excuse yourself from the table.

It’s not really until we are old enough to choose the foods we eat ourselves that we begin to appreciate anything with the natural pigment of green (and no, green gummy bears are not included here). In fact, the more we learn about food and nutrition and the more we align ourselves with a ‘farm to plate’ mentality, the more we truly begin to love and consume these foods by choice.

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Adopting a plant-based diet may mean raising your hand to answer the familiar and dreaded question, ‘where do you get your protein from?’ Luckily, if you are in fact a lover of anything green, your answer will be quick to your tongue: ‘well, plants for starters’. The humble greens, so scrutinised by children and so misunderstood by teens, do in fact have a lot going for them.  High in protein (hello, gorillas!), brimming with cleansing chlorophyll, bursting with living enzymes and off-the-charts in antioxidants, adding a healthy dose of green to your daily plate will indeed benefit you and your health in myriad ways. Greens are incredibly alkalising, which can help protect your body against disease and illness. They also boast high amounts of easily digestible nutrients, fat-burning compounds, vitamins and minerals, proteins, protective phytochemicals and healthy bacteria helping you to build healthier muscles and tissues and aid your digestive system. These particular vegetables act as mini-transfusions for the blood, health tonics for the brain and immune system and natural cleansers of the kidneys.

When you mention the word vegetarian, vegan or raw to many people, immediately their mind will fill with a visual image of someone chomping on a carrot, Bugs Bunny style, or gnawing on a whole iceberg lettuce. Well, that’s not exactly what raw vegan food is all about! A raw vegan diet is diverse, creative, nourishing and delicious. Of course, like any way of eating, it’s also about balance and about listening to your body and finding what works for you. A one hundred percent raw vegan diet may not be the fuel that makes your particular body thrive, but including more living and plant-based foods into your diet will still contribute positively to your overall physical and mental health. A plant-based diet is not about deprivation, in fact, quite the opposite is true; it is about celebrating the sheer abundance found in nature. There are plant-based substitutions for pretty much everything on the market and a whole new food realm to experience beyond quinoa, carrots and kale.

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Eating a plant-based diet will encourage you tune into the seasons and shift your focus towards a local and seasonal approach to eating. Visiting farmers’ markets, shopping at your local health food store and supporting organic and fair-trade where possible will not only benefit your own health, but also the health of your community, the wider planet and its varied species of inhabitants. It may be unrealistic to ask the world to turn vegan overnight, yet even introducing two or three meat-free days into your week can have dramatic effects on both your physical health and the natural environment.

So, go green! Embrace the diversity of nature, be creative with food and don’t be scared to try new things. Alas, I may be preaching to the converted here, but try inspiring someone close to you: leading by example is by far the best way to create positive change.

 

THE GREEN GODDESS BOWL

SERVES 2

Creating nourishing, colourful bowls of food like this is my favourite way to eat and share food with others. They are incredibly versatile, so feel free to add in any of your favourite vegetables that you may scoop up at the weekly market. This is perfect topped with the green pea hummus dip or the Green Goddess dressing. I love the sesame seeds and goji berries as a contrast in this bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large (or 2 small) zucchini
  • 1 small head of broccoli – around 8 florets
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 12 Brussels sprouts
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 3-4 large stalks of kale
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of goji berries

Wash the zucchini and chop off the top and bottom. Spiralise the zucchini with a spiralizer. If you don’t have a spiraliser, simply use a regular vegetable peeler and peel into long thin strips, much like you would peel a carrot.

Steam the asparagus, Brussels sprouts and squash until tender – check after 5 minutes and then watch closely. Remove the vegetables from the heat as soon as they reach your desired taste. I like to keep them quite crunchy and vibrant.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop the leaves finely. Place the chopped kale in a small bowl and add ½ a teaspoon of lemon juice, olive oil and a dash of salt. With your hand, massage the kale with the lemon, oil and salt until it begins to soften and wilt – this makes it more digestible as well as tastier!

When you’re ready, assemble the vegetables in your bowl – the zucchini noodles, broccoli, sprouts, squash, asparagus and kale.

Spoon on a good tablespoon of your green pea hummus and a drizzle of Green Goddess dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and goji berries.

Feel free to add a little extra lemon and salt to your liking.

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GREEN GODDESS DRESSING

Having a good salad dressing on hand makes for easy and delicious lunches and dinners. This dressing is bursting with vibrant ingredients and is the perfect addition to the Green Bowl, or to jazz up any mid-week salad! It will keep 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mixed fresh herbs (basil, parsley, coriander, mint or your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of tamari
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • ¼ of a ripe avocado
  • 1 cup of filtered water

Simply place all of the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a squeezy bottle for easy use, or a glass jar, and store in the fridge until ready to use.

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