When summer rolls around, I crave fresh fruits and veggies. The more colours, the better. But why do we want to eat so many colourful foods? Well, they contain lots of phytonutrients! “Phyto” is the Greek word for plant – so, plant nutrients! Plant-based foods contain tons of natural chemicals – not to be confused with minerals and essential vitamins that keep your body running on a daily basis. Phytonutrients can help to prevent disease by protecting you from threatening pathogens such as germs, bugs and fungi.
Amongst their many kick-ass roles, each colour has their own benefits too! For example, yellow and orange are fantastic for eye and joint health. Blue and purple help you to live a longer life. Green is detoxifying and red works wonders for your heart health. Now, go out there and eat a rainbow, my friends.
Salads are a great way to get those fresh colours into your lovely bod. So, here’s an easy, healthy, vegan, gluten-free aaaaaand delicious recipe chock-full of some of those sexy phytonutrients, clean protein and healthy fats!
2 cups lettuce or greens of choice, chopped
2 carrots, grated or spiralized
1 large beet, grated or spiralized
1 cup red, yellow, or orange peppers (or mixed), chopped
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
In a large bowl, add greens, carrots, beets and peppers and toss until mixed. Top with avocado and pumpkin seeds.
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
squeeze of lemon
sea salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 tsp water to smooth it out
Mix all ingredients together and stir until smooth. Drizzle desired amount over salad. Dressing can be kept in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 1 week. As it will solidify in the fridge, just add water and stir before using.
Serve immediately. Makes 2 hefty meals or 4 awesome sides.
Photos by Catherine Sugrue