-Tara

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Hello + Welcome!

Salad, or a version of salad, was depicted first in Egyptian tombs around 4500 BC, and Egyptians were the first known peoples to cultivate lettuce. 

The Romans and Greeks believed eating lettuce would give you a good night’s sleep. If they were eating wild lettuce, also known as Lactuca virosa, this would have been a sedative and even potentially a slightly psychoactive side dish. 

Wild lettuce is the bitter and medicinal ancestor of the lettuce we grow and eat today. It oozes a milky white substance that is called lactucarium, which when dried, has properties that are said to be  similar to opium. In fact, sometimes wild lettuce is referred to as “opium lettuce”. 

The photo below is Wild Lettuce, and it is best to harvest when it is in flower, around July or August. We will dive deeper into wild lettuce when we get to the harvest time. It is known as a somewhat prolific “weed” in many places in the world. 

Salad went onto be fresh cut lettuce with salt, and the name Salad has its roots in the word “Sal”, which means salt. 

The salad I made to share with you today is a departure from the wild lettuce or herb and salt original, but it is filled with vegetables, crispy chickpeas & potatoes, and topped off with a creamy herby ranch-style dressing to make a full and satisfying meal or a very hearty side dish.

This recipe can be made with different variations of vegetables, depending on what you have in season or what is available. I am including a lot of veggie ideas, but it can be as simple or as layered as you’d like, with just a few veggies or a larger variety. This will serve 2-4 people as a side dish, or 1-2 people as a main meal. 

Ingredients: 

* 1 Cup Garbanzo Beans, cooked/canned

* 4-5 Small Potatoes, boiled whole until soft enough to put a fork in

* 4-5 Cups Salad Mix or Chopped Lettuce ( Can use Spinach, Mustards or Wild Greens too)

* 6-7 Asparagus Spears and/or a Handful of Fresh Greenbeans

* 6-7 Round Slices of Zucchini 

* 6-7 Rounds of Pickled, Raw or Steamed Beets

* 1 Small Cucumber Sliced in Rounds

* Shredded Radish to taste

* 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 

* 1/2 Teaspoon Adobo seasoning, Italian seasoning or any combination of herbs and spices that you like! It could also be thyme, oregano or rosemary. 

* 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Garlic, ground (garlic powder)

* 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt, more or less to taste 

* Edible Flowers : I used black locust flowers and calendula petals, but this is optional! 

* Ranch Dressing (below)

Preparation: 

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. 

2. Line a sheet pan in parchment paper. 

3. Place the small boiled potatoes (skins on!) on one half of the sheet pan. Cut them in half or into quarters so that they are around 2 tablespoons each. Use a glass or jar to smash them down flat. 

4. Place the chickpeas on the other side of the pan in an even layer. Smash them down with the cup or jar, leaving about half of them whole. 

5. Drizzle 2 1/2 Tbsp of the olive oil across the beans and each potato. Sprinkle the seasoning on both the potatoes and chickpeas. Add the salt, sprinkling evenly across to taste. 

6. Bake for 11 minutes at 425F, and pull them out. Add the asparagus or greens beans and the zucchini rounds to the center of the pan. Dress with olive oil and a light dusting of salt and garlic powder. 

7. Place the pan back in the oven for 10 more minutes at 425F. 

8. While it’s cooking, you can make the dressing.

9. When it is done, add lettuce or salad mix to a large bowl. Layer the fresh vegetables, roasted potatoes & chickpeas, and salad dressing on top!

Creamy Ranch Dressing (Dairy-Free)
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Raw Cashew pieces
  • 3/4 Cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Green Garlic Bulbs & Some of the Green Stem OR 1 clove garlic, or 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Dill OR 2-3 teaspoons dried dill

*Optional: 1-2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Balm

Preparations:

  1. Soak the raw cashew pieces in 3/4 Cup hot water for 5-10 minutes. I boil water and/or it over the cashews in a heat-safe bowl.
  2. Drain the cashews and blend everything on high except the dill. Once it is completely smooth, add the dill and blend quickly!

Enjoy!

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