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Multi-Vitamin or Emerald City Salad?

Posted Nov 12 2013 11:05pm

If you are a Seattlite, then I am sure you have tried PCC’s famous Emerald City Salad. It is very popular in the area, and has built a reputation amongst foodies and health conscious people alike. With one word it is ADDICTIVE. The colors just exude health and vibrancy, and the flavors blend together in perfect harmony. Whenever I visit the PCC deli, I have to buy a serving. However, especially in the fall and winter months, when the flu and the common cold seem to thrive amongst the people of Seattle, I stock up on my homemade Emerald City Salad. For not only does it look beautiful and taste amazing, but it also is like a whole foods multi-vitamin. It is immune boosting, revitalizing, and energy giving “amazingness”. 

Traditionally, the Emerald City Salad, is not made with delicata squash, nor does it contain red onions, however, these are my favorite additions to the salad. The great thing is that the salad is very adaptable, allowing the home cook to make changes as they please. So feel free to use this recipe as is, or add your signature touch. Feta? Dried fruit? Nuts or seeds? Whatever. I just hope you make this salad, and love it as much as I do.  Here is just a little bit of information about the main ingredients in this wonderful salad.


Wild Rice: Surprisingly wild rice is not a rice at all, but rather a grass that thrives in the wetlands of North America. However, it is very similar when compared to the properties of brown rice, making it another great grain alternative for those seeking low-allergen, gluten-free options. With higher amounts of protein than either brown or white rice, wild rice at 3.3 g per ½ cup cooked is a great addition to a plant based diet (1). Furthermore, it happens to be lower in carbohydrates, with 25 less calories per ½ cup cooked than brown rice, giving it a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio than the other rice options (1). When cooked and then cooled, the starch found in rice forms a resistant starch, which is a beneficial dietary fiber known to increase satiety, and help stabilize blood sugar levels (1). Finally, wild rice is also a good source of phytonutrients called anthocyanins, a potent group of antioxidants that contribute to the dark color (1).

Chard: Although chard is related to spinach and beets, it is not as commonly thought of as a green leafy powerhouse. However, surprisingly nutrient dense, and calorically light, chard is a great way to increase vitamins and minerals into your diet. Chard contains excellent sources of nutrients that support our innate antioxidant system including vitamins A, C, and E and minerals manganese, and zinc, which help prevent oxidative stress in our bodies (2). A chronic imbalance of too much oxidation within the body can be a trigger for many disease states. As with beets, chard is also rich in betalains, phytonutrients that help support phase II detoxification, aiding in the excretion of accumulated toxins (2). Also, in addition to the wild rice, chard is a good source of fiber and plant protein, offering 3.5g of each respectively (2).


Emerald City Salad – Adapted from PCC’s Famous Salad
The Emerald City Salad has built a reputation in the Seattle region. It is so delicious that this salad alone will make a satisfying lunch. However, in the spirit of fall, I decided to make a few changes, adding some red onion and roasted delicata squash, in place of the red cabbage. It is easily adaptable to personal preferences.

Makes 6 servings
Ingredients:
1 cup wild rice
2 ¼ cups filtered water
1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
1 delicata squash
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
Juice of 2 lemons (should be about a ¼ cup)
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
6-8 leaves chard, cut into chiffonade strips
Hemp Seeds (for garnish)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Bring water to a boil, add the rice, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to boil. Once at a boil reduce heat to a simmer, keep covered, and cook until tender about 50-60 minutes. Once tender, drain any excess fluid and set aside to rest.
3. Meanwhile cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and then cut each half into half again. Slice each quarter into ¼ of an inch thick slices. Toss slices with 1 tablespoon oil, and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure not to overlap pieces. Roast until brown and crispy, about 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.
4. While the delicata is roasting, make the salad dressing by adding the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, minced garlic clove, remaining ½ teaspoon sea salt, and fresh ground pepper into a large bowl. Whisk together.
5. Toss in the fennel and red onion, and stir well to coat. Allow to marinate. Meanwhile, toss in the red bell pepper, the Italian parsley, and the chard on top without stirring.
6. Top the salad with rice and allow to rest 5 minutes, to slightly wilt the chard. Toss well. Add additional lemon juice if desired.
7. Fold under the roasted and cooled delicata squash.
8. Garnish with a sprinkle of hemp seeds and serve with fresh bread for a complete meal (I used my Power Bread).

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References:

1. Webb D. Rice’s Grainy Goodness-Gluten Free and Nutrient Dense, It’s Part of Any Healthful Diet. Today’s Dietitian. 2011;13(4):16
2. World’s Healthiest Foods. Swiss Chard. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16. Accessed 12 Nov 2013.
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