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Fall Mediterranean Chopped Salad

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Raw, Vegan, Gluten/Grain-free

My favorite salads are the chopped variety and this one makes a great main meal. I love the fruits and vegetables that become available at this harvest time of year and added pomegranate kernels this time. The first time I experimented with this salad, I chopped a starfruit into it. You can replace the apple with jicama. For the greens, I added parsley to make it more "Mediterranean" but also used my favorite herb, cilantro. The ranch-style dressing is made with soaked cashews - to spice it up I added two of my favorite Middle Eastern spices: sumac and harissa, but you can also use cayenne and paprika. (try smoked paprika for an interesting flavor twist) The soaked sunflower seeds add some extra crunch and protein.

Lately I am creating more and more raw and raw fusion recipes based on the Mediterranean diet because after studying such a wide variety of different diets and eating philosophies via our bio-individuality module in our Natural Wellness Academy's Holistic Health and Life Coaching Certification, I am intrigued by the heart-healthy benefits of this lifestyle and am working on a new book with Mediterranean-inspired recipes.

Fall Mediterranean Chopped Salad

Serves 2-3

Chop these vegetables into bite-sized pieces:
1 zucchini (do not peel)
1 medium carrot
1 red pepper*
1 apple (I used a Fuji)
1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro
2-3 scallions

*I used a half of a red pepper and half of an orange one for more color

Add: 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, soaked for 4-6 hours. (You can use dry nuts or seeds but soaking makes them more bio-available)
1/2 cup pomegranate kernels or 1 chopped starfruit

Dressing:
3/4 cup cashews, soaked for 1 hour and drained
1 cup of filtered water
1 TB. apple cider vinegar
1 TB. fresh lemon juice
1 TB. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 1/2 tsp. ground sumac (can replace with 1 tsp. paprika)
1 tsp. harissa (middle eastern smoky spice blend) can replace with 1/2 tsp. cayenne
Sea salt to taste

Blend the dressing ingredients together until smooth. Adjust salt and other flavorings to your taste. Toss together with the salad ingredients and garnishes and serve immediately.

LindaJoy Rose, Ph.D. aka Dr. L J is the founder of the Natural Wellness Academy and creator of the Raw Fusion Living philosophy. She is the author of 8 books, a therapist and international trainer in subconscious dynamics, healthy living and hypnotherapy.