It's time to kick off summer. It's time to put your hair in a ponytail, pull out the beach towels, and get out in the sun. It's time for watermelon slices, corn on the cob, and picnics. I think this also means it's time for picnic foods... easy dishes that you can share with friends and family and quick go-to meals that you can pack for yourself regardless of where you are headed. No matter what you are up to this summer, this salad fits the bill.
We start with a hearty bed of fresh greens and top it with corn, ripe tomatoes, black beans, bell peppers, and a spicy-sweet jalapeno avocado lime dressing. Flax seed crackers are completely optional, but they add a fun crunch and are perfect for easy and healthy snacks (goodbye tortilla chips!). What are you waiting for? Make this salad and get out there!
This salad is gluten-free and can be made completely raw by substituting the cooked black beans for sprouted beans or lentils. Feel free to top it with other goodies like fresh salsa, pico de gallo, or avocado slices.
6 cups fresh salad greens
1 bell pepper, diced
2 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup corn kernels (raw or cooked)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
Divide ingredients among four plates. Drizzle salad with dressing and serve with flax chips, if desired.
Jalapeno Avocado Lime Dressing:
Makes 1 1/4 cups
1 avocado, pitted and skinned
1 cup water
juice from 1/2 lime
1 garlic clove
1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 pinch salt
Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Adapted from Raw Food by Erica Palmcrantz
Makes 20 - 30 chips
1 1/2 cups flaxseed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup water
juice from 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
small pinch chile powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds to the water. Add more water if needed to achieve an oatmeal-like consistency.
Add the lime juice, cumin, paprika, chile powder and salt and thoroughly mix by hand.
Spread flax mixture flat onto a dehydrator tray lined with a Teflex/ParraFlex sheet. (It will take 3 - 4 trays total). Dehydrate at 115 degrees F for about 8 - 12 hours, until crispy. Crackers are done with they are crispy and easy to break apart into pieces. Store in a well-sealed container and they will last for several weeks, if not longer.
(Note: some readers have asked about the dehydrator I use. I have a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator that I bought three years ago and absolutely love. It's the perfect size for making several batches of raw goodies at once.)