I love great salads, but unfortunately in most restaurants or cafés they are barely edible. They are either very boring and tasteless, consisting of a typical iceberg lettuce with some sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, diced tomatoes and a meaningless dressing. Or you get a salad that tastes better, but is not vegan and not healthy anymore, because salad is just the garnish, while meat, cheese and an unhealthy dressing are the basis.
I love genuine, healthy salads that take you on taste adventures. Where the lettuce alone is so tasteful that you can taste the freshness of the soil. Combined with vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, or pulses you get a healthy, fresh salad bowl and you feel like newborn afterwards, ready to spread your energy.
It’s a perfect vegan main dish, where you get everything you need and it is so versatile in taste, but it still fits together perfectly. Making a healthy tasty salad requires you to focus on the quality of your ingredients much more than with other dishes. I always search for ingredients from small organic farms, which really care and love their lettuce and vegetables. The more conventional and bigger the farm the less flavour you get.
Here in the Algarve it is really difficult to get organic or non-organic tasteful salads. Especially difficult to find something else than butterhead, romaine or iceberg lettuce. I like butterhead and romaine salads, but I really love lamb’s salad, rocket salad, miner’s lettuce or chicory. Perhaps it is something very German, but also the small farmers here mostly grow butterhead salads.
Every small city and village here in the Algarve hosts a market for local farmers. On Saturdays, however they host small family run farmers, that only offer a small range of vegetables and fruits. There I found one farmer, who sometimes has lamb’s salad (and other not typical portuguese veggies like beetroot).
Every place on earth has it’s pros and cons. Definitely awesome here: so many delicious portuguese grown tomatoes, sweet potatoes, almonds, and avocados. And of course a great fruit diversity, especially in love with portugues figs, peaches and persimmon. I love the avocados here. It’s not the usual variety I am used to buy in Germany. I haven’t found out yet which variety it is, but they taste really amazing, a bit oilier, but so tasteful.
SERVES: 2-3 big servings
1 tsp olive oil
3 medium sized sweet potatoes
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, mashed
50g alfalfa & rocket sprouts*
100g lamb’s salad
2 big violet carrots
125g red grapes, halved and pitted
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp condimento bianco
1 tsp raw cane sugar
salt & pepper
NOTE: *you can sub by any other mediterranean tasting sprout **I used dry chickpeas and cooked them myself, but of course you can use canned ones – 250g refers to the cooked weight
Preheat oven to 240ºC (upper and lower heat). Wash your sweet potatoes thoroughly, if needed also with a vegetable brush, but you shouldn’t peel them.
Cut them into 1.5 cm dices, spread them on a baking tray and mix with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and the mashed garlic clove. Bake for 30 minutes. Let them cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray afterwards.
Cut the walnuts into rough pieces and toast them with 1 teaspoon of olive oil for around 5 minutes in a pan on lowest heat until golden brown. Set them aside.
Wash carrots and cut them into very fine slices. Wash the salad and the sprouts.
For the dressing combine all ingredients with a fork in a small bowl.
Assemble all ingredients in a large bowl, pour the dressing over it, and mix it up before enjoying.
Healthy for people & planet – please go always organic!