This 'red' themed, antioxidant rich salad is loaded with nutrients and tons of flavor. Perfect for a quick lunch or tasty dinner side.
I’ve written about my love for salad before so I will spare you those details today. Instead, let’s talk about why you need to start loving salad. Especially this salad.
I call it the Red Salad. Which is kind of a play on your traditional Green Salad, only better.
Why better? For one, it’s a theme salad. And theme salads are always a bit more interesting to eat. For two, it’s delicious and satisfying, and that is also a plus in any salad. And finally, with minimal chopping and prep needed, it’s super easy to whip up for an amazing weekday lunch.
Possibly the best reason to go red is because the more pigmentation a fruit or vegetable has, the more nutrients it will contain. So let’s look at the ingredients.
Red leaf lettuce. This lettuce is buttery and soft with tons of flavor. Why go with red? As a general rule the more color the leaves have the more phytonutrient goodness you get. Red, purple, and reddish brown leaves are at the top of the list. Another health aspect of red leaf lettuce is that the leaves are loose. The less tightly packed the leaves, the more antioxidant capacity in those leaves. Conversely, the more tightly packed the leaves are (think cabbage, endive, iceberg) the less antioxidants they contain.
Radishes. Radishes are high in Vitamin C and add a spicy bite to any salad. I could not find a definitive answer as to why they are red. Radishes, like the red potato, are grown underground. One theory suggests that the red color may help the plant to cope with below ground pathogens.
Dried Cranberries. Cranberries counter the spicy bite of radish with a little sweetness. I love the sweet-tart aspects of cranberries but also like that they are super nutritious. The antioxidant anthocyanin is what gives cranberries their red pigment (as well as purple cabbage and poinsettias). Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C, fiber, and manganese.
Carrots. No, not red. But they look pretty. And we all know carrots pack a powerful carotenoid punch. You can’t go wrong with carrots for your health. And no, they are not full of sugar.
Beets. These lovely root veggies get their red color from betalain. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are the two best-studied betalains from beets and both provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
Red Grapes. Many people call these purple grapes. I call them red. And why are they red? Because the skins of red/purple grapes contain resveratrol and quercetin, both of which are anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidants. Red grapes contain a powerhouse of health benefits and I always add them to my salads!
Pumpkin Seeds. Okay. Not red. But I love them and this salad needed a little crunch! Pumpkin seeds are not without health benefits, either. They are mineral rich seeds, high in zinc, manganese, iron, copper and magnesium!
And the dressing? Well, it’s just a little something I whipped up. Lemony, creamy, and delightful, I know you will love it!
Now go get your red on!
Red Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 cups red leaf lettuce, chopped or torn
- 2 small cooked beets, chopped or sliced
- 1 handful shredded carrots
- 3 radishes, sliced
- 1/4 cup red grapes, sliced
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup Pumpkin seeds
- sprinkle Goat cheese, optional
- In a mason jar, combine olive oil and next 5 ingredients (through turmeric). Shake and drizzle over remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss lightly to combine. Enjoy!