Dole Salad Summit – Part 3 of 3 – Salad 101, Inside the Plant and my Inspired Salad Recipe.
The point of this “Dole Salad” journey was to inspire bloggers. And then allow the bloggers like moi to inspire their readers like you. So I’m starting this post with an inspired recipe. I’m giddy over my Summer “Fruit” Salad complete with Sunny Citrus Dressing. Salad-lovers, and salad-curious folks read-on – get inspired and learn a little too..
Need to Catch Up? My Salad Summit Wrap-Up Posts:
Part One – Part Two – Part Three (reading) – Recipe: Arugula – full photo album
Salads, Salads Everywhere! I hope you have noticed the sudden influx of salads on my blog. Potato salads, slaws, green salads and now this Summer “Fruit” Salad – which is really a green salad masquerading as a bowl of sweet, juicy, ripe summertime-ish fruit.
I really should be posting a lot more big, beautiful salad recipes – simply because that’s what I eat. I have at least one giant salad a day – and not because “I have to” – because I crave them!
I heard one blogger at the Dole Salad Summit say that they sometimes ate salad at their meals because they have to. Ahh! Really? Salads are my fave! Truly. There are so many ways to make salad cravable – for kids and adults alike. And you’ll feel so great after eating a salad – I call it the healthy eating high. It’s addictive.
And you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to become a salad-holic like me. My husband (a former salad shunner) now craves my salads too. #success
The takeaway lesson from my Dole Salad adventure was: inspiration, knowledge, respect for my food ans the people who bring it to me and when it comes to salad eating: cravable creativity. There are so many different salad flavors, textures, varieties and combinations – and the nutrients are quite diverse as well.
I hope from this series of posts you are inspired to : EAT. MORE. SALADS.
So instead of talking about salad, I want you to make one. An inspired salad. Here’s mine. (And also below you can read about Salad 101 and my visit inside the Dole Salad Plant.)
Sunny Summer “Fruit” Salad with Sunny Citrus Dressing
Makes one big bowl – serves four salad lovers
Leafy Green Base:
5 cups baby romaine
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 avocado, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh chopped pineapple
1 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped radicchio
2-3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp capers (optional)
Sunny Citrus Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh squeezed OJ
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
Prep Fruit Mixture – Mix Dressing – Toss dressing with Fruit Mixture – pour fruit mixture over top salad base – serve!
And now, in closing…
Salad 101. If you are a fan of healthy eating and being conscientious about what goes into your body – you’ll love this next part.
Dole called it Salad 101. Now silly me, I was convinced that I belonged in Salad 102 – somehow I must have missed the placement exam. But I soon found that there was much to learn (and taste) in regards to salads. I love refresher facts about food and nutrition quips.
Salad Tasting, Dole Style..
Inside the Dole Salad Plant. Plants fascinate me. With wide eyes, I could’ve stood on that glass-enclosed catwalk all day – staring at the barrels of crisp salad veggies moving along conveyor belts, being dunked into water baths and sprayed with chilled water jets – and finally spun in giant “salad spinner” steel barrels and ending up in a nifty machine that shoots the fresh, triple-washed salad into breathable bags. Freshness locked in – and off to my salad bowl they go…
Oh how I wish I could take a stroll through every food factory I buy products from. Seeing Dole’s incredible technology – sorry guys no pictures allowed – really assured me that when I buy a bag of Dole salad – I am buying fresh, fast, nutritious quality. It makes me want to only buy Dole until I can get a peek inside all those other factories too! Wouldn’t it be great if ever factory was open to its public – its audience – the consumers.
Before the plant tour we went to Dole Fresh Vegetable headquarters and talked shop – aka talked salads. My favorite topic. We also did a few salad tastings. I had a fresh arugula, avocado, mango, macadamia nut salad that was superb.
Meeting a wide variety of the Dole employees was a treat. You can judge a company by its people. And any company with passionate, well-informed people is one I can stand behind.
The last portion of our day was Salad 101. We tasted 28 different salad veggies. From spicy arugula to tender butter lettuce. It was fascinating to taste the pure flavors of these veggies back to back – with no other salad ingredients or toppings cluttering the flavor profile.
Here are a few facts about salad – from the Dole Salad 101 Guide Book.
Dole presented us with 28 different salad veggies. From ones I have heard of – like iceberg, romaine – to new varieties like Tango and Mizuna. Then each one of us tasted these varieties back to back with no added salad dressings – raw and in their pure taste profile state. So much fun! It was amazing to be reminded of the different tastes and texture of different salad varieties. Here are a few of my favorite varieties we tasted – and some nutrition facts..
Butter lettuce – excellent source of vitamins A and K – and folate. Small round heads of lettuce. Soft and succulent with “buttery” textured leaves.
Green and Red Cabbage – dense, waxy heads – crunchy texture. The red cabbage has twice the vitamin C as green cabbage! Both red and green cabbage are good sources of glucosinolates, that help promote heart health.
Escarole – a member of the endive/chicory family. It has broad, crispy, slightly curved pale green leaves. Escarole is high in folate. I love the mild, bitter, complex flavor of raw escarole – but you can also add it to cooked dishes like soups.
Frisee – ah yes, the “frizzy” looking lettuce. Although it used to be thought of as a purely ‘accent’ ingredient to salads – a new trend is to use frisee as the main ingredient. Crunchy and zesty – frisee will add some zing to your salad. It is packed with nutrients. Folic acid, vitamins A, C and K and manganese. It has approx 1/3 the RDA of both vitamins A and C per serving!
Iceberg Lettuce – crunchy and crisp – this lettuce is not a “powerhouse” of nutrients – but is a good source of vitamin K.
Radicchio – those purple round heads of biter-tasting leaves are rich in phosphorus, calcium and vitamins B and C. Add some complexity to your salad by tossing in some radicchio.
Romaine – one of my classic faves. The latest trend is to grill your romaine then chop it up into a salad. So good! Romaine is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, beta-carotene and vitamins A, B and C.
Snow Peas – I always forget that snow peas are delicious eaten raw! And they are a great source of vitamin C and iron.
Arugula – possibly the most “trendy” lettuce variety is spicy arugula. It is also called “Roquette” to some. It has a peppery mustard flavor and it’s nutty flavor matures into a slight bitterness as the leaves mature. Arugula contains glucosinolates which are believed to have a possible protective role against certain types of cancers.
Tango – a baby tender leaf lettuce with ruffled edges. Adds a soft texture to salad mixes. You will probably find this in a spring mix variety.
Mache – I adore mache, also called Lamb Lettuce. Sweet, buttery, nutty and tender – you’ll swoon over this gently leaf. Mache is rich in B vitamins and vitamin C.
Mizuna – what a fun name, right? Mizuna is a mustard green with small feathered leaves. It has a slightly peppery, mild mustard flavor. Excellent source of vitamins A and C.
Spinach – we all love these tender sweet and salty leaves of spinach. Spinach is indeed a nutrient powerhouse: rich in vitamins A, C B6, folate, iron, calcium and magnesium.
I hope you are inspired to : EAT. MORE. SALADS.
Be sure to catch up on my Dole Wrap-Up posts here:
Meet the other Food Bloggers in Attendance at the Dole Salad Summit!..
Full Disclosure: Dole took care of my transportation, accommodations and meals for this 3-day trip.