This salad returns us to our roots by encouraging scavenging (also called wildcrafting) as a way to reintroduce wild superfoods into the living process.
Though a farmer's market is an excellent place to source freshly picked vegetables, those garden-variety plants hardly resemble their wild forbears.
Neither do we.
And that's kind of the point.
During the 10 millennia that we've been agricultural, we've intentionally created food plants that are sweeter, larger and easier to grow. In the process, these plants have become mostly food.
They used to be powerful medicine.
The somewhat bitter, acrid or astringent flavour of many wild foods indicates a high level of phytonutrients. Alberto Villoldo, medical anthropologist, refers to these version 1.0 plants as information-dense foods.
He writes that food plants, especially plants in their wild state, are "master regulators of gene expression in humans", and explains that microRNAs, strands of their genetic material, travel through the body, switching on the genes that create health and turning off the genes that create disease.
Like friendly genetic custodians, moving through the corridors of our bloodstream, ensuring everything is orderly and wholesome.
The Superfood Scavenger Salad
This salad offers 3 of the most nutrient-dense foods from our agricultural tradition: spinach, broccoli and avocado, and allies these with whatever might be growing wild near you.
The scavenged element of your superfood salad will vary depending on the season and your region. You might find superfood plants in your yard. If you live in a highly urban environment, you might have to go afield to gather these elements.
But getting out of the city and as close to the wilds as you can is a healing practice unto itself. And learning about the edible plants that grow in your territory is an important survival skill.
In the Pacific Northwest, in the verdant month of June, it's not hard to locate information-dense food plants. For my Superfood Scavenger Salad I gathered dandelion greens, rose petals and salmon berries near my house.
The rose petals are domestic, but I could have ranged a bit farther to gather dog rose petals, which are wholly wild.
When investigating edible plants it is important to distinguish between those that are truly nourishing, and those that may have been used historically for survival purposes in times of famine. The latter might be quite useful in keeping people alive, but may not confer the benefits that superfood plants do, and might have undesirable side-effects.
Superfood plants can include indigenous species (like the salmon berries I picked), as well as 'invasive exotics' (like dandelions), or garden plants (like the rose that lives next to my house).
Possibilities near you might include edible berries, flowers, ferns, seeds, roots, seaweed or mushrooms, as well as wild greens like sorrel, nettle tops (steam them before eating~!) and chickweed.
Obviously, don't poison yourself.
Refer to a reliable guidebook or website. In an emergency, ask the plants themselves.
Superfood Scavenger Salad
- 1/2 lb (1 bunch) spinach leaves
- 1 avocado
- 1 head broccoli
- 2 cups superfood plants
- Superfood Salad Dressing (see below)
First, gather your superfoods. Wash and prepare them for salad, as required.
Prepare your salad dressing (see recipe below).
If large, tear the spinach leaves into bite-sized pieces.
Slice the avocado.
Peel the broccoli stem if tough, and cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, add the dressing and toss.
Let the microRNA custodians get started!
Mason Jar Salad Dressingprint
- 1½ cups Olive Oil
- 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ cup Coconut Aminos
- 1 tablespoon Himalayan Salt
- 1 heaping tablespoon dried Basil
- 1 heaping tablespoon Sea Vegetable Flakes
Put all ingredients in a 1 litre (1 quart) mason jar.
Put the lid on the jar & shake.
Store in the refrigerator.
The olive oil will solidify when cold. Just be sure to remove the dressing when you start assembling your salad to give it time to warm up & then give it a good shake before you pour it on. If you need to hasten the olive oil you can set the jar in a bowl of warm water.