Farmer's Market Find: Purple Basil Summer Salad

Admittedly, I don’t always go to the Farmer’s Market as much as I’d like to.  I tend to stick closer to home and visit my local grocery stores.  But, when I visit the Farmer’s Market, I always wonder why I don’t go as often.  When I lived in Georgia, I remember lamenting about how much I missed Los Angeles’ farmer’s markets. And the beach.  Now, that I’m back, I’ve been to both but now with great frequency. So, I made the commitment and in an instant, I was drawn to the sense of community I always feel when I visit.  I gushed over the stalls of fresh produce and talked to the growers.  Now, that it is summer, the latest and greatest summer produce is at its tastiest and prettiest.  Enter my Farmer’s Market Find: Purple Basil

Purple Basil has a stronger flavor than its green counterpart and looks awesome in recipes.  I grabbed it and immediately thought salad. And a Purple Salad at that.  I added Red Leaf Lettuce, Purple Potatoes, Easter Egg radishes, Roasted Beets, and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes.  This is a salad full of antioxidants specifically for its purple foods.  Purple foods contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which give fruit and vegetables their deep red, purple or blue hues.  For this salad, feel free to experiment and add in other purple, blue hued food such as grapes, blueberries, eggplant, and so on.


Purple Basil Summer Salad//serves 2

1 bunch red leaf lettuce
2 red beets
1 lb purple fingerling potatoes
1 cup fresh fava beans, (from 1-pound pods)
1 lb purple string beans, stem end trimmed
1 lb dragon string beans, stem end trimmed (optional)
1 bunch of Easter Egg radishes, rinsed and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom cherry – another farmer’s market find)
1 bunch purple basil
1 cup feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400’.  Coat beets lightly with oil, season with salt and pepper and wrap beets in aluminum foil. Coat purple fingerling potatoes in oil, salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in oven until cooked through, 20-25 minutes. Once they are ready, remove from oven and allow to cool. 

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil.  Add the fresh shelled fava beans and cook for two minutes to blanch them.  Once done, drain the beans and set aside to cool.  Once cool, you can remove the skin by squeezing the bean with your thumbnail to push the bean out. 

For the salad assembly, remove the skins from the beets and slice into wedges. Cut the purple fingerling potatoes in half.  Rinse the salad and add the beets, purple potatoes, radishes, the purple and dragon string beans, cherry tomatoes, fava beans and purple basil.  Sprinkle feta cheese on top along with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Note: Fava Beans come wrapped in a thick outer skin.  They are green, thick long version of green beans but contain beautiful fresh beans that look a bit like a lima bean. 

To release the beans, break open each pod by tearing off the end and pulling the string like seam.  Once opened, there will be about 4-5 beans.  Cook in boiling water for a minute or two, blanch in cold water, and squeeze out the bean from its waxy coating.  

My Summer Power Kale Salad w/ Creamy Avocado-Lime Hemp Seed Dressing

My Summer Power Kale Salad w/ Avocado Lime Hemp Seed Dressing!

Summer is here and I’m overjoyed.  Why?  Because it’s that time of the year where I get to enjoy THE best fruit and vegetables this season offers.  Juicy fruits such as apricots, plums, figs, yellow and white peaches (white peaches are so awesome), and so on.  I made this Summer Power Kale Salad as I wanted something refreshing.  The weather here in LA has been a bit tempestuous.  This past Saturday I enjoyed beach time with my little ones and it was 72 but the water felt like 60’s.  It was an awesome time as usual, but then Sunday rolled around, and the heat showed up as if it had a score to settle.  It was HOT!!!   So, I sought to make something refreshing with juicy summer fruits added. 

This salad is definitely a good for you salad that’s loaded with massaged kale, chickpeas, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, blueberries, nectarines and good for your tummy raw cultured vegetables by Healing Movement.  This is not a sponsored post, but I just love Healing Movement’s products.  Their raw cultured vegetables come in different varieties such as the Green Blend (green cabbage, daikon, cucumber), Red Blend (red cabbage, carrots, celery, sweet potato), Orange Blend (broccoli, carrots, cucumber - this is the one I used for the salad) and Spicy Blend (green cabbage, daikon, cucumber, cayenne).  I am all about tummy health and this is one of the products I use regularly to help with my digestion.  Probiotics rule!!

I topped this baby off with a Creamy Avocado-Lime Hemp Seed Dressing, which was so tasty.  I'm definitely using this dressing for my burgers and veggie fries during the week.  Can't wait! Feel free to experiment and add other toppings such as walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cheese, you name it.  The key to a great salad is to load it up with fiber rich ingredients such as dark green leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.  Just make sure you add a healthy dressing loaded with good fats.  Let me tell you that this is a quick salad that you can throw together in less than 20 minutes. Eat this with some whole grain bread and you are set.

Good food for your body, mind and soul.

My Summer Power Kale Salad w/ Avocado-Lime Hemp Seed Dressing//serves 4

1 bunch kale (large), rinsed with stems removed, and shredded
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup oil (I used coconut oil)
Kosher salt and pepper
2 medium sized nectarines, rinsed and cut into wedges
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cup Healing Movements raw cultured vegetables (optional)

Creamy Avocado-Lime Hemp Seed Dressing (makes 2 cups)

1 large avocado
Juice of one lime
½ cup hulled hemp seeds
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup water, plus more to achieve desired consistency
salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing, place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

To prepare the salad, in a large bowl, add shredded kale, lemon juice and the coconut oil.  Massage the kale until all the leaves start to soften and wilt. The greens should look dark and shiny.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl. Toss and serve with the Creamy Avocado-Lime Hemp Seed Dressing.





Roasted Beet Salad w/ Farro, Arugula, Hazelnuts and Smoky Orange Vinaigrette

Roasted Beet Salad with Farro, Arugula, Hazelnuts and Smoky Orange Vinaigrette! So refreshing, earthy and good for you.

I am such a fan of beets.  However, it took me years to say this.  Growing up they were part of my weekly dinner rotation either given to me by my mother and/or grandmother.  I remember the taste as overly sweet and vinegary.  I would watch the two of them gleefully devour them with a “dance as if no one is watching” enjoyment.  I on the other hand, would look down at my plate and calculate how I would eat my beets and how much time it would take.  I came up with three options: 1. “take it to the head” and just be done with it 2. mix it with the other food (mask it), or 3. bargain (“can I eat like just 1 or 2 of them?”).  All options I’ve had to use at one point or another, sometimes combined, due their permanency at the dinner table. 



Fast forward into my young adult years with enlightened taste buds, and they’re everything to me.  What I learned is that my mother and grandmother were on to something.  Yes, beets are 100% good for you.  They’re loaded with immune-boosting Vitamin C, fiber and the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce birth defects.  What I also learned, is how to prepare them and bring out their subtle sweet flavor.  I usually roast them with caraway seeds, a bit of olive oil, and salt and pepper.  I juice them, which is heaven for me and the best way I like to enjoy beets, or I pickle them with spices and put them on my burger (recipe here) or in my salad. 

This Roasted Beet salad is quite simple to make requiring farro, beets, arugula and hazelnuts.  I roasted the beets for about an hour until they were fork tender, prepared the farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10-minute Farro), and began plating the salad overlapping the beets into a pattern with the arugula, farro and hazelnuts. 

The Orange Vinaigrette gets it smokiness from smoked paprika.  I thought about adding Smoked Sea Salt but I already seasoned the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.  Here is the Smoked Sea Salt that I use.  Let me know if it adds an extra pop of smoke to the vinaigrette if you buy it.  Also, feel free to use any combination of beets for this salad.  There are a variety of beets such as white beets (a.k.a albino beets), Chioggia, which have a red and white spiral inside and of course the yellow beets used in this recipe. Go nuts!

Roasted Beet Salad w/ Farro, Arugula, Hazelnuts and Smoky Orange Vinaigrette//serves 4

1 bunch beets (Red, Yellow, White or Chioggia, which ever you choose)
½ cup chopped, roasted, hazelnuts, skins on
3 cups arugula
2 cups dried farro, or use 2-bags Trader Joe’s 10-minute Farro

smoky-orange vinaigrette//makes ¾ cup
Loosely adapted from Bobby Flay (recipe here)
¼ cup rice vinegar
Juice of two large oranges (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ red onion
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400’.  Wrap beets in foil and roast in the oven under tender; 1 to 1 ½ hours.  Unwrap the beets and set aside to cool.

Cook farro according to package directions.  While farro is cooking, prepare vinaigrette. In a food processor or blender, combine the rice vinegar, orange juice, water, honey, paprika, parsley and red onion.  Slowly pour in the oil with the machine running.  Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange cooked farro on platter or bowl.  Peel skins off the beets and slice in half.  Cut beets into ¼ inch thick rounds and arrange beets alternating colors onto platter or bowl.  Sprinkle arugula and hazelnuts on top.  Add dressing.  Serve immediately.

Note: Roast various color beets in separate aluminum foil packets to prevent staining.  The last thing you want is to see that your pretty yellow beets have red beetroot stains all over them, or those pretty Chioggia beets.