Today’s recipe and I go way way back. We go back to my University days, to a time when I decided that I was going to start eating healthy, whatever “healthy” meant at the time. I remember that semester very well. It included my first solo trip to a farmer’s market, a peek inside a health food store (not for a student budget), my first nutrition book, and the introduction of many new and amazing foods to my diet. It was the first time I started being adventurous and choosing foods that I didn’t know how to prepare. To be honest, I don’t really remember what triggered the change, and I didn’t expect it to be anything significant, more of an experiment. I quickly became addicted to how great it felt to not eat crap, and it went up from there. There were inevitable hiccups of course, but it went up nevertheless.
I’ve come a long way since then, as my personal definition of “healthy” continues to be challenged and refined. Reflecting on the journey, it never involved cutting out foods that I liked, but rather discovering and adding better foods. The good stuff slowly started taking over, I hardly noticed. I’ve also identified many unhealthy things that I was eating just because they were available and in front of me, not necessarily because I was truly enjoying them. Just being aware of that made a world of a difference. Thinking back, my eating habits have totally changed over the years, but at no point was I on a “diet”. Diets with names are silly, as are food pyramids, and recommended daily intakes. I know many people with food restrictions, or that are simply trying to watch what they eat, that feel cursed for loving food so much. Wouldn’t it just be easier to be one of those people who seem to eat solely to survive? I thought that at one point, but it is actually our love for food that gives us the drive to experiment with it. It is our love for food that allows us to appreciate variety and have many delicious things to chose from when selecting what we wish to nourish our bodies with.
When I started adding healthy foods to my diet, I decided to eat more apples. Simple. This salad, I ate almost daily for a while, but then unfortunately forgot about it when I moved back home. The other day, I opened the fridge and all of its ingredients were perfectly lined up. I quickly remembered one of my favourite ways to eat apples, along with the wonderful journey to truly loving food and eating healthy.
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- honey to taste, optional
- 4 apples, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 4 oz firm and salty feta, cut into cubes
- chopped mint leaves for garnish
- In a blender, or using a blender stick (my choice), blend the raspberries, balsamic vinegar, and salt to smoothie consistency. Add a little water if the raspberries are not blending easily.
- Strain the raspberry mixture by gently stirring small batches with a spoon in a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
- Whisk in olive oil, and honey if using. I use a little honey (~1 tsp) when the raspberries or apples are sour, but it’s usually not necessary.
- Toss the chopped apples with the dressing. Serve with walnuts, feta, and mint on top.