Monday, April 23, 2012

Citrus Fennel Salad

How was your weekend?  Ours was pretty good considering we were cooped up from the weather.  Rain, rain and more rain.  Other than a trip to Whole Foods we stayed inside all day on Saturday.  The kids pulled out every toy in the house and had some pretty elaborate make believe sessions.  Luckily we all took a nice long nap during the afternoon storms.  Dark clouds and rain on our tin roof make for some prime napping conditions.
When we woke up it was time for a snack and some dinner prep.  I planned to make a delicious fennel citrus salad with grilled pork tenderloin.  The salad was unaffected but the pork was definitely not getting cooked outside while it was pouring so we roasted it instead.  But today I wanted to focus on the salad. It is delicious on it's own and makes a great meal.

So did you know fennel is pretty good for you?  It is high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Fennel also contains a special nutrient in its oil called anethole.  Anethole has been shown to reduce inflammation and the risk of cancer.  Inflammation in the body is caused by anything that stresses your body systems out.  Consuming processed food, lots of carbs or sugar on a daily basis causes chronic inflammation that can lead to heart disease and cancer.  You can check out this excellent article by a heart surgeon discussing heart disease and chronic inflammation caused by processed foods. 
How amazing is that?  Although I have seen foods heal my kids over that last year I am still amazed by all of the ways food was designed to heal our bodies.  The oils in fennel are easily broken down so for maximum benefits you should eat it raw- like in this salad! For more information on the benefits of adding fennel to your diet check out this site.

Fennel Citrus Salad

2 medium fennel bulbs
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups hearts of palms, chopped
3/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
6-8 cups of arugula and spinach greens (or greens of your choice)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp orange zest
Juice from half a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Go ahead and zest that orange.  I know it is a pain in the butt but I promise it is worth it!

Whisk all ingredients for dressing together.

Thinly slice white parts of fennel bulb.
Combine fennel, onion and dressing in a medium bowl.

Remove skin and white parts from orange.

Slice into 1/2 inch pieces removing white from the center of the orange.

Gently mix in orange and hearts of palm. Or not so gently....

Either way you will end up with this delicious bowl of goodness.

We picked some arugula from our earth bucket outside.  Unfortunately these guys were snacking on it.

Place greens on plate and top with fennel orange mixture.
Spoon out extra dressing if desired.

 This is an excellent meal to eat if you've eaten a few too many "inflammatory" meals or if you are fighting off a cold.  The combination of fennel, hearts of palm and oranges will give you a ton of Vitamin C.  Getting vitamin C from foods is the best way to ensure absorption since our bodies recognize and use natural sources the best!

Kids are great because they are intuitive eaters.  As long as they are not carb and sugar addicted they will naturally gravitate towards the foods they need to feel their best. She knows!

And so does he!  Someone's got a little inflammation...

Happy Eating!  I'll be posting the recipe for the roast pork that goes great with this salad tomorrow.

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