Monday, April 18, 2011

Southwest Citrus Salad

Hey all,

Now that the sun is starting to make its appearance in Bloomington, I am excited to super-salad my diet with a whole bunch of colorful goodies. I tried to experiment with some southwest ingredients and make it a little citrusy for the summer. Since there is a good balance of protein, fiber and fat, you can eat this salad as an entire meal or add it to some greens to give it that extra health boost.

Southwest Citrus Salad:

1 can organic beans (I used great northern)
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes (not pictured)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Juice of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flax oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
sweetener to taste (I did 1tsp maple syrup)
dash of salt and pepper

Allow the corn to defrost, and add beans, corn, chopped carrots, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cilantro in medium sized bowl. Combine dressing separately, adding more sweetener for desired taste, then dress salad. If short on time, enjoy right away, or keep it as a snack for later when the ingredients have more time to blend together.

I want to briefly discuss black beans as a staple superfood, even though I used great northern beans for this recipe pictured acove. Personally, I prefer the taste of black beans and I've found significant nutritional data for these beans compared to several others. Beans in general rank supreme in their cholesterol-lowering fiber content, as well as their ability to stabilize glucose levels to prevent insulin related health concerns such as diabetes. Black beans, in particular, are an excellent source of a trace mineral called molybdenum, important in detoxifying potentially harmful sulfites found in processed foods. Black beans are also extremely high in the B vitamin folate, tryptophan, manganese, protein, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. The high soluble and insoluble fiber content in beans makes them an excellent food to prevent constipation and improve overall digestive health. Because of the darker color of black beans, they rank highest in antioxidant levels, including anthocyanins, which are also present in cranberries and grapes.

I'm going to hold off on the superfood information of tomatoes and onions, as I'll be using them more frequently in recipes to come.

Cilantro is a super antibacterial, antiviral and anticancer herb that has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. I love using cilantro in my summer salads due to its cooling properties in the body which has been known to help support the spleen, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and lungs. Fun fact: one study revealed cilantro to be twice as effective as the antibiotic drug gentamicin at killing salmonella.

Apple Cider Vinegar
This type of vinegar (ACV) is a natural bacteria-killer that has been used medicinally for centuries. The main components of ACV include trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper and iron. Since this product is fermented, there are a variety of medicinal properties including viable enzymes and healthy bacteria to restore your digestive system. According to webMD, ACV has been proven to reduce glucose levels in diabetes patients, help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, kill and reverse cancer cell growth, and support healthy weight loss by providing a feeling of fullness. Traditionally, ACV has been used to treat skin conditions, reduce sinus infections, prevent muscle fatigue after exercise and strengthen the immune system.

To read more about the benefits of carrots, check out my Breakfast Power Muffins recipe!


Grotto, David. RD, LND. (2007) 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. New York: Bantam Books

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