Happy New Year! If you're anything like me, you've had your fill of holiday fun and are ready to hit the reset button in the kitchen. But sometimes this good intention to reset comes from a sense of guilt and obligation, and we believe a diet is the only way to "fix" our body and recent indulgences. A reset isn't necessarily harmful, but.....Read more
This is a spin off of an afternoon snack we had at the eco lodge in Bali. There could not have been a more satisfying snack than a simple bowl of papaya drizzled with lime juice, raw cacao, and cashew cream. Papaya and cacao trees were growing in and around the eco lodge and eating from the immediate land around us was a very visceral experience. Even though papaya and cacao trees grow nowhere near us at home in Switzerland, this is such an enjoyable summertime snack or breakfast that I will be making it several more times this summer.
The cashew cream makes more than you will use for the salad, unless of course you double or triple the papaya. But leftover cashew cream stays very well in the fridge for several days and can be used to slather on waffles, quick sweet breads such as banana bread, or to top poached pears, grilled peaches or nectarines, or roasted cherries.
Papaya Salad with Lime Cashew Cream and Raw Cacao
Serves 2-4 (depending on size of papaya)
1 small papaya
Handful raw cacao beans (or cacao nibs)
Juice 1/2 lime
Lime Cashew Cream (recipe below)
Peel papaya, scrape out seeds, and cut into bite size pieces.
Transfer to a bowl and squeeze lime juice over.
Scatter around raw cacao beans or nibs and dollop a large spoonful of cashew cream on top.
Lime Cashew Cream
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
6-12 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
Zest 1 lime
Juice 1/2 lime
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod (~2 inch strip)
1/4 tsp. salt
Rinse and drain cashews. Add to a mini food processor (or to the tall cup attachment for the immersion blender)* along with the remaining ingredients.
Blend until you get a smooth cream. Add as much water to reach your desired thinness of cream.
*A blender may work but it will depend on the width of your base. I have a wider base and would have needed to add another 1/2 cup of cashews for it to blend properly.
Switzerland is pricey, and to go along with it, some people's idea of customer service is not always what is provided or expected here. But there is a silver lining, and it comes by way of Thai massages. This ancient art of healing is guided by Buddhist principles that emphasize a 'compassionate intent of the healer', where value is placed on the therapist's awareness, concentration, and compassion for the customer. This level of service among Thai massage therapists has been consistent wherever I've been, regardless of the local culture of customer service. It's also a great value considering the benefits from a massage that blends triggering pressure points, deep tissue massaging, and stretching, all which help relieve tension and flush the body of toxins. Though I don't get a massage often, for me it's an important element of a holistic lifestyle, and one from which I really notice a difference in my body and state of mind.
On the nutritional front, this chard salad is a great complement to the detoxification and cleansing process jump started by a massage. It's a wonderful cleansing salad anytime, but I especially enjoy making it when I get a massage or after I come home from a trip and feel a need to reset my body's equilibrium. The chard, fennel, and papaya all have detoxifying properties, not to mention it's simply a feel-good salad that is well-rounded and satiating.
Sometimes I feel sorry for Swiss chard when it comes to massaged salads. Kale gets all of the attention in this department, but Swiss chard is just as worthy of getting a little massage and flaunting its deep green goodness. In fact, when enjoyed raw it arguable has a smoother texture and more pleasing chew than kale, but its beauty is not just skin deep. This underrated green also provides antioxidant, blood sugar control, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying support, not to mention the very good supply of calcium and Vitamin K for bone health.
Massaged Chard Salad with Papaya
Serves 2 as a main (4 as a side)
- 1 large bunch (~ 1 lb/.5 kilo) Swiss chard
- Pinch of salt
- Squeeze of lemon
- 1 Avocado, cut in small bite size pieces
- 1 Fennel, halved and thinly sliced with a mandolin or by hand
- 1/2 apple, halved and thinly sliced or cut into match sticks
- 1 small papaya (little larger than an avocado), halved and thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. pine nuts (or sunflower seeds), toasted
- Tahini dressing (recipe below)
- Prepare the chard: Strip leaves from the stem, rinse under water, and dry. Stack leaves (may have to make 2 stacks) and roll up like a cigar, then thinly slice down to make chard ribbons. Alternatively you can tear the chard in small pieces.
- Add chard, salt, and lemon juice to a large salad bowl. Massage the leaves for 30 seconds; you don't want the chard to break down too much. Add fennel, apple, and avocado to the bowl, and pour over dressing. Toss gently, then add papaya and pine nuts and give it one more gentle stir to incorporate. If desired, add a bit more lemon juice and another drizzle of olive oil to finish.
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tsp. tahini paste
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.