This salad came together when I had a refrigerator drawer full of basil. I hate to see veggies go to waste, and herbs in particular, often fall victim to the trash (or compost) bin. I’m a huge fan of adding herbs to salads – not just for dressings or as a garnish, but as a key component to the salad! It really makes a simple salad special…for me, anyway. I try to use fresh herbs throughout my cooking to add out-of-this-world flavor easily and without the added chemicals/preservatives/HFCS so many condiments contain. People also often ask me about sodium amounts in my cooking. I definitely use salt (Himalayan sea salt) in my cooking, but use it sparingly and tend to use fresh herbs to enhance flavor instead.
Fresh herbs don’t only pack a punch full of flavor. They also offer a ton of health and nutritional benefits! Many herbs are a great source of essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, K and C. Most importantly, however, they also contain polyphenols, plant compounds with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Polyphenols have been shown to help prevent many of the degenerative diseases prevalent in our society such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
Cilantro, which is one of those polarizing herbs that people either love or hate, have been shown to be effective in chelating heavy metals naturally. In our modern environment, it’s impossible to escape heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. They are in the air, in our food system and our water supply. Heavy metals are detrimental to the body because they block methylation, the process by which our bodies turn B-vitamins into S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and glutathione. SAM and glutathione help our bodies with cell protection, energy creation and mood stabilization (yup, super essential!). They also play a role in liver detoxification! Eat a lot of fish? Add cilantro to your food to help counteract your mercury consumption!
Fresh herbs are an easy way to boost health and enhance flavor – a win, win in my book. Avoid waste by storing them like a bouquet of flowers in the refrigerator. Store your fresh herbs in a mason jar of water and decorate your fridge with beautiful greenery…plus, a jazzed up fridge makes me super happy! How about you?
Roasted Beet Basil Salad
- 1 bunch beets or a mix of golden and red beets
- ½ cup walnuts
- 5 oz. container spring mix salad greens
- your favorite sprouts
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp basil chopped
- ¼ tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Scrub beets well. Trim leaves off, leaving a 1/2 –inch stem. In a baking dish, put beets and ¼ cup of water. Cover with tin foil. Roast for 50-75 minutes, depending on the size of your beets. When finished cooking, the beets should be tender and you should be able to pierce with a fork easily. The beet skins should peel off easily using just a fork and butter knife. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Toast walnuts by spreading them in a single layer across a baking sheet. Bake walnuts in the oven with beets for 8 minutes, shaking baking sheet halfway through cooking time.
In a small dish or mason jar, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, basil and sea salt to make dressing. Whisk or shake jar to combine well.
In a large bowl, add spring mix salad greens, roasted beets, and toasted walnuts. Top with dressing and your favorite sprouts.