Perfect Spinach Salad with “Creamy” Dressing

Vegan – Soy Free – Gluten Free – Paleo

Serves 8 as a side, 4 as a main

I would like to officially motion that making a tasty plant-based salad is an art. Maybe I am fussy but I die a little inside when I arrive somewhere and find that the only option I have is some iceberg salad with a few quartered tomatoes on top. And sometimes I find myself blankly staring at a pile of vegetables and I draw blanks too so it is completely understandable. Who would have thought something so seemingly simple could be so hard to perfect? This is why I have set myself a goal this summer – I am determined to master the art of scrumptious and simple salads! Considering it was 34C today I got to try this one out at a good old family BBQ… and it’s a goodie!

The dressing is a particular win for me! It literally took 5 minutes to make and could be stored ready for any other occasion. Once a massive fan of the Caesar Salad I still sometimes find myself craving a creamy dressing. This is the perfect alternative as the Dijon Mustard makes it feel rich without all the nasty side-effects that come with heavy dairy-based dressings.

Also wanted to shine the spotlight on my newest favorite things!!! At the Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta the other day I bought some reusable produce bags from one of my fave company’s: Onya Bags. They are light, washable and come in a whole range of funky colours (in packs of 5 or 8) and you can buy them here. So if you can… make sure you wrap your baby spinach in these sustainable solutions rather than useless plastic produce bags.

Ingredients

Salad

  • Baby Spinach (enough to fill your platter… as this is the base you can judge how much you use)
  • Green Olives – I used about 20. (chilli and garlic went really well!)
  • 2 x Avocados, sliced
  • 1 x Cucumber, sliced
  • Sundried Tomatoes, cut into strips (as many as you want)
  • 50g x Pine Nuts, (I used more because I love ’em)

Creamy Dressing

This dressing will keep for up to a month if you leave out the herbs! I left out the herbs until just before I served with the salad.

  • 3 Tablespoon x Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon x White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon x Dijon Mustard
  • Some fresh herbs finely chopped (I used a small handful of basil)

Method

Arrange all your salady bits on a platter in a pretty way

Roast or dry fry your pine nuts. Set aside to cool slightly… those little buggers can get hot!

Mix all your dressing ingredients together and shake well. Pour over salad just before serving.

Aaaand… nom nom nom.

DIY Avocado Hair Mask

While it may seem (and feel) a little odd to be mushing avocado into your lovely locks, it is actually a tried and tested beauty trick! Avocado’s are a very oily fruit and this oil actually forms a protective barrier on your hair which promotes elasticity… basically it makes your hair soft, flexible and hydrated. This nourishment also means that your hair is less susceptible to breakages and becoming dry – great for the other blondies out there!

I think the best part about it though is that you avoid using nasty chemicals that are found in your standard products, it’s cruelty free and reduces wasteful packaging. Also, a very common ingredient in your average hair products is Palm Oil which is incredibly damaging environmentally (read about that here).  So get ready to have a laugh and give this super simple beauty DIY a go!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 3 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 drops of lavender or rosemary essential oil
  • A good sense of humour

Method

1. Mash avocado. Then add lavender and olive oil and mash again.

2. Apply to hair, focusing on the ends. If hair is still a little dry then put a put of olive oil on hands and run through.

Ewww… there is salad in my hair!

3. Leave on for 10 minutes. (Good time to do a face mask as well. Go on, do the full pamper thing… you deserve it!)

4. Then I just washed and combed (while in the shower) and left it to dry. My hair really felt conditioned and healthy. I think you’ll agree that the results were amazing…

Of course I am only kidding about the last picture but I definitely did feel the benefits of the treatment. It was so nice applying a mask to my hair and knowing that it was made of organic, natural ingredients rather than synthetics, parabens and artificial fragrances.

Are there any natural beauty secrets that you use? Would love to hear in the comments.