The Greenest Salad

The Greenest Salad Recipe


Anytime I travel for an extended period of time, let's say longer than a couple of weeks, I end up craving certain foods from home. The craving creeps up on me like a fungus - not bad at first, but in the end, formidable. This trip it was avocado, then leafy salads, eventually dovetailing into broccoli. The greenest of the green stuff. I stocked up on the lot when I arrived home, and the salad parade started shortly thereafter (hence today's recipe). But let me back up a bit. If you want to avoid the host of digestive pitfalls India serves up, you're told to religiously avoid raw vegetables and greens. And for the most part I did, except for once. I ate one salad in the weeks I was in India. It was arugula, it was grown in Jaipur, and there is a story behind it.

Those of you who have been readers for some time know there are few things I love (or assign more importance to) than serendipity. It is the root of many good experiences and relationships that have intersected my life. And this is one of those examples. Wayne and I walked into the Anokhi Cafe, in Jaipur, to grab a bite to eat, and as we sat down Melissa Millward came over to our table to introduce herself. Anokhi is a much-loved textile company, with shops throughout India, doing all sorts of good work related to traditional textile printing, communities, and craftspeople. And Melissa, she's the lovely ex-pat who heads up all things related to the cafe. Most days she is gone by the time we arrived, but we lucked out. She recognized me from the site(!), and it was our good fortune that we got to chatting, because she was kind enough to invite us out to the Anokhi Farm the following day - an experience that turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.

Green SaladGreen SaladGreen Salad

The property includes the company headquarters, an organic farm, a commercial kitchen (where much of the food is prepped for the cafe), and residences. This is a glimpse of an area set-up to test out new patterns and ideas - long tables lined with cotton, where fabric is hand-stamped. Each color gets its own pass (above / below). It's incredible. And as a side note, if you're interested in textiles and traditional printing techniques you can't miss the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing.

Green SaladGreen Salad

I suspect Anokhi Cafe is the only restaurant in Jaipur (all of Rajasthan?) using ingredients that are both organic & in-season. They have multiple greenhouses to protect certain crops from the intense elements, and this is where they grow a range of beautiful lettuces, tomatoes, and basil for the cafe. The nets you see are embedded deep into each bed to protect the crop from insects, and the height of the beds is for ergonomics - also, to optimize the number of beds you can arrange in the space (you need less space if farmers are standing straight up rather than bending forward).

Green SaladGreen Salad

The greens are gently harvested, washed in purified water, and served at the cafe in a range of beautiful salads. If you're in Jaipur needing a salad fix - Anokhi is the place, Melissa is your girl.

Green Salad

This is Babulal. He's one of the cooks who helps Melissa each day. He babies the lettuce which makes him her go-to salad guy.

Green SaladGreen Salad

Thank you Melissa, Pritham, and Rachel, for the wonderful impromptu lunch and visit. I hope to return the favor if you find yourself in San Francisco.

Today's recipe? This was the first salad I threw together upon arriving home - with good lettuce, avocado, AND broccoli. I shredded some baby romaine, blanched the broccoli, added some pistachios for crunch and tossed it all with a tarragon-balsamic vinaigrette, avocado, and some feta.

- More Broccoli Recipes -
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- More Salad Recipes -

The Greenest Salad

1 medium head / 6 oz romaine or baby romaine lettuce

1 medium head of broccoli / 8 oz / TK g or equivalent broccolini, florets and stalks cut into small bite-sized pieces

1 small avocado, sliced
1/3 cup toasted pistachios
a bit of crumbled feta
big splash of balsamic tarragon vinaigrette*

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, salt as you would pasta water, add the broccoli and simmer for just a minute or so until the broccoli is bright and just tender. Drain, run under cold water to stop cooking, pat dry with a clean cloth, and set aside.

Trim the base off the head of romaine, then slice it crosswise into 1/2-inch strips of lettuce. Wash well and dry gently but completely. Set aside someplace cold until ready to use.

Just before serving, in a large bowl, combine the broccoli, lettuce, and pistachios with a generous slug of vinaigrette. Toss well, add the avocado, and gently toss once or twice more, Serve topped with the feta, and a pinch of salt if needed. You can use any remaining vinaigrette drizzle over all sorts of vegetables, frittatas, bread, savory tarts, and the like.

Serves 4.

*Balsamic tarragon vinaigrette: In a blender or food processor, combine 1 small peeled shallot, 1/4 cup tarragon, 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, and 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Pulse until smooth, taste, and adjust with more lemon juice, salt, (or a kiss of something sweet), if needed. Makes about one cup of dressing.


Prep time: 10 min

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Comments


Fascinating! And the green salad sounds perfect, I just made one myself (with green beans and spinach)!

November 3, 2012
 

Traveling, and the lack of familiar foods, and on top of that, many times having to avoid raw produce, always leaves me with the biggest cravings for things like kale and broccoli and Brussels's sprouts when I get home! Glad you got your greens going again!

November 3, 2012
 

Beautiful photos! I know the feeling of home food cravings. I get that for homemade smoothies and breakfasts.

November 3, 2012
 

Really gorgeous photos, and so interesting to hear about that greenhouse operation! Now you've got me craving a green salad at 8:30 on a Saturday night. Yours looks delicious.

November 3, 2012
 

I know that craving well! My love of travel outweighs my love of salads in the end, I guess, but it sure must have been nice to find a salad you felt good eating on your trip. And this one looks like it was a perfect welcome home.

November 3, 2012
 

Elizabeth

I recently spent a month in India on a work trip (11? cities--I can no longer count them all).


Fruit and a sprouts bar were always available in the morning at the hotel but all lunches and many dinners were spent on the road. By day ten, my vegetable cravings were severe; by the time we neared the end of our travels, our tour managers were regularly talking me off the vegetable ledge. "You don't understand," I'd say. "I'm from California!"


I managed one serving of cucumbers at a boarding school with its own organic garden and a spinach salad at a hotel that was serving it with the Sunday brunch offerings.


Sadly, I missed the Anokhu in Jaipur and we only stopped for the briefest moments at the one in Bangalore--the cafe certainly looked good. Next time I shall slip past my sentries and track this salad down.

At least I got some great pajamas. :)

November 3, 2012
 

claudia

If your salad craving hits in Jaipur--you MUST try Anoki. Organic baby greens in India! Will be there in a few days. You guys have amazing stamina, hunting down that photographer. I go to Jaipur every year, but I find the traffic so daunting, I usually only go to the old city on Sunday.

November 3, 2012
 

You have me craving green. Tomorrow, for sure.

November 3, 2012
 

rachel

amazing textile making :)

November 3, 2012
 

Oh yes, green salad is all I ever craved when travelling through Asia and India. I held out for months in India only to cave once we got to Thailand... and oh boy did I pay the price for the weeks following!
Anokhi cafe sounds amazing and if I ever make it back to India will be on my list of must-do's for sure xx

November 3, 2012
 

Ashish Naithani

Looks good
I will try this for sure, but we do not get avacado in northern part off Inda.
What can use in place of avacado ?

November 3, 2012
 

Anonymous

Hi Heidi, your trip sounds incredible - I loved the story about the street photographer last week and this week I am fascinated by the people printing the fabric by hand.........such precision with the lines - absolutely beautiful.

November 3, 2012
 

Exactly what I have been craving after the last few weeks on the road. Hubbie came home from our garden in Umbria with about 8 pounds of lettuce, so I'm all set.

November 3, 2012
 

It also happens to me when I travel abroad. I would die for a salad and this look beautiful. very good post! Marta

November 3, 2012
 

So much green, so much goodness. What a great find the cafe and the farm is - so nice to be able to feel like you can safely eat a salad!

November 4, 2012
 

Anytime I travel, I am divided between the will to experience and taste the local fare, the special dishes, anything that would make me learn more about that culture; and my craving for big salads and freshness. As the local dishes, the very traditional ones, are rarely light. Perhaps healthy, but in a heavily nourishing way --not sure it that's true everywhere, but this is been my experience so far. So well, I tell myself that I have to try as much as I can, except that I come home bloated and craving leafy greens, juices and raw food for weeks. This salad is extremely close to one I made just back from Salone del Gusto in Italy, where I ate so much cheese and bread with oil and cannoli and and and...It was made with rocket, avocado, sprouted mung beans, pepitas, cilantro, and something else that I don't remember as it was green in a sea of green stuff. Hit the spot.

November 4, 2012
 

Gil

This is why I love green salad.

Yes, I really do love green salads! They're perfectly versatile - you start with the nearest, freshest greens and add anything you have and like on top.

November 4, 2012
 

the infinite range of salad possibilities never ceases to amaze me -- and this is no exception. i must make 100 different salads each year, every year, but the excellent, interesting combinations just keep coming.

broccoli, avocado, pistachio, feta: yes. i can taste it already. and soon shall.

separately, thanks so much for sharing this story, heidi, and most especially, the photos. i inherited a gorgeous set of textile wood blocks from my mom, and have always wondered exactly how they were used. to see the precision and concentration with which the man in the photos is lining up those stripes--stripes! by hand! imagine!!--is remarkable, and gives me a whole new appreciation for the craft.

best,
molly

November 4, 2012
 

all of my favorites in one salad - yum! sounds like the perfect welcome home meal. beautiful photos!

November 4, 2012
 

I love broccoli as much as my Anokhi caftans! Needless to say I loved your story and wonderful photos. I was unaware of the cafe, now it is on my list! Thank you!

November 4, 2012
 

Mary

I read years ago about Anokhi in a Selvedge publication and wanted so much to go there after reading about it. The colours, the patterns, the people, the ethos - wah! So envious of you! And glad you got to there of course. Love this salad too. Gonna try re-create it this week! Like your thoughts on serendipity.

November 4, 2012
 

I don't think I've ever wanted to make a salad more. I love broccoli and avocado together. :)

November 4, 2012
 

Heidi - what a most fantastic highlight to your trip. I went to India a few years ago for a friends wedding in Delhi and then we traveled around on an itinerary that doesn't sound too dissimilar to yours. It was one of the best trips I've ever taken thanks to similar little one-off, unplanned highlights. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your photos, I'm still trying to figure out how to best organize and enjoy mine. Ps this salad looks wonderful. We've been out of power and water here in downtown New York and a variety of green salads are high on my comeback list this week :-)

November 4, 2012
 

You always have such cool stories! I am ALWAYS wanting a big green salad, and this sounds lovely.

November 4, 2012
 

A simple, nutrient rich and utterly gorgeous salad. Tarragon is my favourite herb in vinaigrettes. I used to buy a tarragon vinegar by Maille but have not been able to find it on the market lately... will have to find another source.

November 4, 2012
 

Juan

Great story behind the salad! Travel to India every month from Spain, love shopping Anokhi textiles but now will search for the cafe if I make it to Jaipur. Thanks!!

November 4, 2012
 

This looks delicious. I was a little worried for you at first since, in my experience in the peace corps, raw greens can lead to a much more unpleasant story. This was a nice surprise.

Sad, because I love salads! I am just scared to eat them here.

November 4, 2012
 

Juan

Great story behind the salad! Travel to India every month from Spain, love shopping Anokhi textiles but now will search for the cafe if I make it to Jaipur. Thanks!!

November 4, 2012
 

wow! you had such an incredible experience in Jaipur! Sounds amazing!

November 4, 2012
 

I agree, I really crave the greens after travelling. Something so simple as this is a great welcome back to home.

November 4, 2012
 

Salads are my best friend. I also begin craving something fresh and green when raw produce is off limits. How wonderful to have found Anokhi and a salad you could eat. Beautiful photos, Heidi, and a great story behind them.

November 4, 2012
 

How wonderful - I love to learn how things are made.

November 4, 2012
 

I have most of these ingredients on hand so I think I know what I'm having for dinner tonight! And I'm so glad to know that there are companies like Anokhi in India. Thanks, Heidi!

November 4, 2012
 

This salad looks wonderful. Love the idea of the tarragon balsamic vinaigrette.

November 4, 2012
 

Lettuce, broccoli, and avocado: a marriage made in heaven.
I also like the touch of pistachio in this salad: the greenest of the green!

November 4, 2012
 

Gorgeous photos and a refreshing recipe Heidi, enjoy your travels and that fascinating part of the world! We use a lot of nuts in Turkish cooking and the souteast part of Turkey, a city called Gaziantep produces some of the finest pistachios, such a treat :) walnuts, pistachios, work so well in salads, desserts - and we eat a handful of them with kids everyday : ) thanks for sharing your adventure with us: ) best, Ozlem

November 4, 2012
 

This was lovely. Thank you!

November 4, 2012
 

Beautiful photos and irresistible recipe! I'm inviting people over tonight to enjoy this salad together during the hour returned to us as daylight savings ends!

November 4, 2012
 

DK Padhi

Given your enthusiasm for good, basic food, I hope you get to explore more of India in the future. Various areas have their own unique recipes. It is also great to hear about this farm in India. There is so much pressure on Indian farmers to use GMO seeds and then all the chemicals that are required with those.

Do you like Saag Paneer? Here is a recipe for such. http://wisemusings.com/content/greens-and-farmer-cheese-saag-paneer-palak-paneer Enjoy :-)

November 4, 2012
 

Can you recommend another dressing for one who is not a tarragon fan?

November 4, 2012
 

Anonymous

The vinaigrette is sooo delicious but mine is super thick and the color of exposed avocado. (Brown). Any thoughts?
Maybe a white balsamic next time for me.

November 4, 2012
 

this salad is just gorgeous.

November 4, 2012
 

what a beautiful article!

November 4, 2012
 

christi

I made this salad tonight - it was divine and my kids even loved it. I added pomegranate seeds (but that was my only very slight variation). We all loved how the flavors worked together. Yum!

November 4, 2012
 

welcome back heidi, it's been lovely to catch glimpses of your time in india on instagram! i think i know that craving you get on your travels - i often crave green vegetables too. and although i never really miss them while traveling, every time i come home from a trip abroad, nothing makes me feel i'm REALLY home than a bowl of japanese rice (or onigiri) and a warm cup of green tea... well, i'm REALLY japanese, you see! :)

i'm also blown away by how they hand-stamp these beautiful stripes on the fabric... incredible!

November 5, 2012
 

carol

true serendipity at its best...what a beautiful story, and unexpected highlight, and a delish salad to indulge in...as always, i love your story behind the photo, and the photos always... truly beautiful, thanks for sharing!

November 5, 2012
 

Shaheeda

I love this recipe, everything in it works for me, I will be making this one soon

November 5, 2012
 

Can't say I crave salads usually...but I am blown away by the handprinting technique and care!

November 5, 2012
 

Unnnnnnbelievable. I'm almost mad at how pretty this is.

Almost.

November 5, 2012
 

Marnie

This looks like a perfect salad for our Thanksgiving table this year. Maybe I can even get my 5 year-old broccoli-loving son to try it (he's not a salad fan...yet)

November 5, 2012
 

I'll have to bookmark this for the return of my next trip. I'm the exact same way when I get home from a trip filled with wonderful food, all I really want is a simply dressed green salad!

xxoo,

RMW

November 5, 2012
 

Thank you for posting this and sharing the photos of the block printing. I grew up around these textiles, with my father transforming them into handsewn creations such as pillow cases, yukatas, anything our customers wanted...I knew you would share images of handmade textiles from your trip. Thank you so much for that, the link, and the salad. Would any of these textiles be available on quitekeeto? Best, Jeri

November 5, 2012
 

Sounds like such an amazing experience. It is incredible how they hand stamp, so fascinating!

November 5, 2012
 

That photo of the hand stamped, striped fabric in progress stopped me in my tracks. Amazing. Your salad sounds wonderful. I can't eat avocado but I'd bet it's good without it.

November 5, 2012
 

Thanks for sharing, India is one of my dream trips and I always fear realizing it since I can't go more than a week without a salad. It gave me hope, and certainly inspired me for tonight's green menu.

November 5, 2012
 

Just back from India as well, and by day five in India, all I was dreaming of was a salad like this. We had curry breakfast lunch and dinner. When I got home, I made something similar, but tonight, you recipe is on my menu...

November 5, 2012
 

benjamin

i'm having a nervous breakdown because of the election tomorrow -- your green goodness has calmed me down. at least for a moment! :) thanks!

November 5, 2012
 

Vondella

I just made this gorgeous salad for my family and it was outstanding. I didn't have pistachios so substituted cashews, and it was divine. This may now be my favorite salad. Thank you!

November 5, 2012
 

SP

It is the *one* thing I, too, crave, whenever I return to the US from India--fresh green salad. :) Love this recipe, simple & so green, indeed. Thanks, Heidi! By the way, love that beautiful stone (?) bowl, where is it from?

HS: Thanks SP - it was a flea market find!

November 5, 2012
 

Beautiful photos and story Heidi. Thank you for sharing this.

November 6, 2012
 

SF

I'm surprised that most farmers in India farm conventionally and out of season. Do you have any resources to learn more about this?

HS: Hi SF, It was more the idea that finding restaurants that serve organic AND in-season seemed rare. And although I only spent a sliver of time in Rajasthan, I did visit a number of farms and villages - the common practice seemed to be to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides (and there were layers of issues around this). Driving, it was clear that many of the waterways were devastatingly polluted. Anokhi was an example of people treating the land well, and doing their best to come up with innovative solutions to some of the issues in this realm- even if it is on a small scale. I supposed the hope is that projects like Anokhi's farm will inspire others as well - for the benefit of the men and women and children working the crops, and the communities consuming the fresh produce daily - which is clearly a beautiful part of the fabric of daily life there.

November 6, 2012
 

murray

Just got back from a wonderful trip to Berlin + Copenhagen and can sooo relate to just needing a big ol' salad. Thanks for the recipe.

November 6, 2012
 

How great to hear you were in India for a few weeks. I'm currently in India visiting family for two months in Bombay. The weather is pretty hot even by the Bombay coast, I can only imagine how it must be over in Jaipur!

The salad looks great. I've saved it for one of my refreshing "welcome home" meals. I know what you mean about craving something light and fresh after getting home from a trip. Can't wait to try it.

November 7, 2012
 

Leena Taneja Rao

Lovely to read your write-ups - and the comments as well.
Actually, there is a lot of organic farming practised in India, and there are many organizations actively assisting farmers in protecting indigenous plant varieties, and fighting against international conglomerates like Monsanto (who aggressively promote GM seeds). State governments such as those of the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand subsidise organic farming.
You can find many local, organically grown food products at grocery stores in cities across the country. You just need to have the right guides or research, or, perhaps, just stumble upon the right places.
All the very best to those of you who visit India. I hope your experience is pleasant.

HS: Thanks for your insight Leena - all great to hear!

November 7, 2012
 

Canetha

I am so excited to read that you had an opportunity to visit Anokhi on your recent travels to India! My husband and I had lunch at that same Anokhi cafe in Jaipur about 4 years ago, and we were thrilled to happen into such a beautiful place to eat fresh, luscious foods. We visited an Anokhi store in Delhi as well, but Jaipur was, by far, our favorite, and their textiles have a special place in our home today. Your gorgeous green salad will certainly have a place on our Thanksgiving table this year. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes and experiences - they are lovely gifts.

November 7, 2012
 

Rachel

i absolutely cannot believe that this post is about anokhi! after high school i traveled abroad for eight months, and 6 weeks of my journey were spent in jaipur. i lived with a family off of tonk road and had the time of my life. by that point i had been away from the states for four months and was craving a little US comfort - enter anokhi! their chocolate peanut butter cake is to die for, and having hummus and fresh vegetables after four months without was divine. i also bought a beautiful dress at anokhi and several of the most exquisite cards i've ever found. i almost commented on your "jaipur suggestions" post to suggest anokhi, but i'm sometimes shy about blog comments. needless to say, this post made my day!

p.s. i also found out about your blog towards the end of my eight month journey.

November 7, 2012
 

Rachel

also, in response to SF -

i worked for 4 weeks in Jaipur with an organic farm called GauShala (cow sanctuary). they sheltered abandoned cows and used cow dung to create biogas for fuel as well as many ayurvedic medicines (including diabetes pills! don't ask...). at the end of biogas production they used the manure slurry as fertilizer for their organic produce. my boss was a wonderful old man whose motto was "grow organic; eat organic; save the earth!" i believe he said it about twenty times a day.

however, after the green revolution came to india in the 1960s and 70s, many indian farmers switched to conventional farming methods because of their "high-tech" status. these farmers became dependent on chemical inputs that increased crop yield initially but ultimately led to the decimation of a lot of farmland.

sadly, the "green revolution" is still spreading to many parts of the developing world.

but there are those that push back! like my beloved GauShala and the featured anokhi.

November 7, 2012
 

Nancy

We had this with dinner last night. My kids LOVED it, especially my 13-year-old, who today proclaimed that for her birthday in February, she wants this for her birthday dinner! Delicious and SO healthy....love it.

November 7, 2012
 

Gorgeous photos! I'm in the mood for warm salads lately, and I bet this one would do the trick just fine if I tossed the broccoli in while still hot. Perfect! Thanks for another amazing recipe.

November 7, 2012
 

Lin

We have made this salad for dinner every night this week - excellent! Thanks for the recipe.

November 8, 2012
 

Joelle

I love Anokhi! Isn't it the best? I had to buy an extra suitcase to bring back all the table linens I bought there. Thanks for sharing about your visit!

November 8, 2012
 

Melissa

I know how you felt. We were on vacation in Italy recently and eating literally the best food of our lives, but my husband and I were both dreaming of kale. As soon as we got home I went out the store and bought and made a big salad (one of your recipes!).

This one looks amazing. I'm totally making it tonight.

November 9, 2012
 

Tobie

I was in Jaipur with my cousins. One cousin ate a beautiful salad from a street vendor. She unfortunately got so sick that she did not get to see the Anokhi shop (just the museum) The other cousin & I ate at the cafe at the shop. I'd love to go back and do more shopping!

November 9, 2012
 

Christina

My dressing turned out thick and brown as well. I made it in a mini processor. Should I have used a blender?

November 10, 2012
 

What an absolutely gorgeous salad, and the story behind it, and meeting Melissia is wonderful. It's amazing how big the world is, but also, how at times, it can be small too. Meeting Melissa was obviously meant to be.

November 11, 2012
 

Carolyn

I made this salad last night for my husband and a friend with arugula, broccoli and pistachios. The dressing made it absolutely perfect, even sans avocado. My dressing was thick and brown too (mustard and balsamic will do that) and it coating everything perfectly. Thanks, Heidi! Whenever I make any of your recipes, everyone just loves them.

November 11, 2012
 

Looks tasty and so healthy.

November 12, 2012
 

Shanna

I have been a regular reader for about four years now, and today, serendipity led me to this recipe. I live in Chennai, India, and just yesterday went to the Anokhi Eco Cafe here, where I enjoyed one of Chennai's most peaceful refuges. And I also bought some of their lovely textiles! I couldn't believe the irony of your post. I guess fate has led me to this salad!

HS: :)

November 14, 2012
 

Oh my, this looks amazing. Now I know what I'm doing w/ the broccolini in my fridge tonight.

November 14, 2012