Plant Based Diet: Summer Salads

Frauke Ryan knows a thing or two about summer salads and presents her Top 3 Favorite Recipes

This article is ringing in a new mini-series: food expert Frauke Ryan is an old acquaintance of Veronika and I. For the last few years, she’s been taking an intensive look at healthy eating, coincidently one of my favorite topics – especially when it has to do with medicinal aspects. In other words: a so-called “plant-based diet” helps your body put its own regeneration process into motion and also at the same time relieves it from processing “blocking” ingredients/substances (like wheat and sugar) which are difficult and provide no positive side effects for your system.

julia knolle

Salads are the best invention since the first herbivore came into being. I’ve already sustained myself for half of my life on a predominately plant-based diet, as salads of every stripe are vital to nutrition. And no longer do they have anything to do with those crude, average restaurant institutions like the Caesar salad or the Greek salad with feta cheese and olives. It’s far more about creating new, unusual combinations, raw with cooked, hearty with sweet, or warm with cold – and the best is when it’s all made with ingredients from my own garden just outside of Hamburg. These three creations belong to my absolute favorites because they are filling AND delicious.

The carrot salad came about from a vacation in Devon, England, where my husband and I visited an organic farm with a farm shop and bought everything that had already been harvested: fresh potatoes, celeriac, peas, corn, and arugula. It’s important to me to cook seasonally and regionally as much as possible. For the environment, but most of all for the taste. Strictly speaking, black rice, dried figs, and walnuts don’t belong to the “self-grown” category. At least not in Germany. But they offer important nutrients that wonderfully support our regional cuisine.

The following recipes are not written in stone and, above all, should encourage some experimentation. As is often the case for me: put together and prepared by instinct alone usually tastes the best. And without being shy about it, practice makes the master. The tangible elements like cups, hands, and spoons make preparing thing easier and – as I see it – also a lot of fun!

1. Red Beet Carrot Salad with Black Rice

This salad has already proven itself at a number of parties. Thanks to the black rice, it’s an optimal main course and even keeps my husband full for more than 210 minutes. Not fancy and totally easy to prepare, this salad wins with its add-ons and dressing. Sunflower seeds, roasted, raw, or activated – for whoever wants to know. Optional cress adds a nice spice that compliments the horseradish in the dressing.

 

Ingredients

(2 servings as a main course)

Salad

120g black rice

2-3 medium red beets

2-3 medium carrots

1 level handful sunflower seeds (activated or roasted)

1 level handful cress

Dressing

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon horseradish

1 pinch of sea salt

 

Directions

It doesn’t take long to prepare this salad. Only the rice requires a little lead time. To make this for a dinner, soak the black rice in the morning and then rinse it and cook it for about 40 minutes in the evening. (Tip: soak the rice with a little apple cider vinegar to reduce the phytic acid which will otherwise inhibit the absorption of vitamins and minerals.)
In the meantime, prepare the red beets and carrots. Wash and clean. Either grate the vegetables or, for a chicer look, use a spiral cutter – as you prefer. Combine the rice with the red beets and carrots in a bowl.
For the dressing, simply combine all the ingredients in a container and stir. Pour over the salad and toss.
Sprinkle the cress and sunflower seeds on top. Done!
This salad tastes even better when it’s allowed to sit for 1-2 hours and the horseradish dressing can be fully absorbed.

 2. Potato Salad with Celeriac, Corn, and Peas

Our Devon salad, the recipe developed under the palms of Torquay. The potatoes and the celeriac is roasted in the oven. The corn and peas are boiled and the arugula lends a really nice freshness to everything.

The special thing about this recipe is the mustard dressing. I like to experiment with mustard and recently discovered a local seaweed mustard manufacturer while on vacation in Denmark. A grainy mustard with a note of Baltic Sea algae. I season the potatoes and celeriac with cumin seeds alongside salt and oil. Together with the mustard, it gives the salad a very special, spicy aroma.

 

Ingredients

(2 servings as a main course)

Salad

2 handfuls young carrots

1 ear of corn

1 cup peas

1 small celeriac

Arugula, to taste

(canola oil, ghee, or coconut oil for baking, a little salt, pepper, and cumin seed for seasoning)

Dressing

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (pay special attention to the ingredients, non-organic balsamic vinegar often contains sugar and other “nasties”)

1 tablespoon mustard of your choice (preferably grainy and hot)

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of pepper

Directions

Wash and clean the potatoes and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle with oil and seasoning and mix. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes, until firm to the bite. Then peel the celeriac, cut into small flat pieces and spread them on the baking tray. Season as the potatoes. Place in the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
Next, remove the corn from the cob and simmer in boiling water for 20 minutes. If the peas are frozen, place them in boiling water and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. In the meantime, wash the arugula, de-stem, and pluck into medium-sized pieces.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small container and lightly stir with a spoon. Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and toss in the dressing. Can be served either warm or cold.

 3. Radicchio Salad with Walnuts, Figs, and Parmesan (optional)

This is my absolute favorite salad in the summer. It is super quick to prepare and a very special gustatory combination. The bitter radicchio, the lightly bitter walnuts, the sweet dried figs, and the salty parmesan cover every flavor direction. I recently refined the oil and vinegar dressing with a little drop of maple syrup and that’s lent the salad a subtle caramel note. Otherwise, the dressing needs no additional sweetness thanks to the figs.

 

Ingredients

(2 servings as a main course)

Salad

1 small radicchio

4 dried figs

1 small handful walnuts

1 small piece of parmesan (depending on preference)

Dressing

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (the healthiest vinegar! Contains potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and much more)

1 teaspoon mustard

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of pepper

Directions

Cut the radicchio into four pieces. Remove the stems from the dried figs and cut into small pieces. The walnuts can be broken into small pieces. Use a hand grater to grate the parmesan into small, approximately postage stamp-sized pieces. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small container and pour over the salad.
Done.

Photos: Julia Zierer
Translation: Melissa Frost

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.