Happy New Year, Everyone! (I can still say that, right?) It’s nice to be back from a holiday semi-break, and to have a bright and shiny blog post for you. Today, I’m talking about Ashley Melillo’s newest book, Blissful Basil, which is also the name of her beautiful blog. Plus, we get the benefit of trying out and sharing her recipe for Buckwheat Green Apple Cranberry Avocado Salad!
What peaked my interest in this book was not only the beautiful “plant-powered” recipes and their accompanying photos, but how Ashley also talks about her mental health. Something I don’t mention on here, almost at all, is how I have Anxiety Disorder. In the scheme of things, I’ve only had tangible issues with anxiety for a short amount of time (about two and a half years); but wow, has it changed my life.
There are times when my brain goes on a frenzy, like a runaway train where the conductor is yelling everything that could possibly go wrong at any given moment. And if it’s really bad, I’ll get that feeling a few times a day for weeks. All that to say, I love how Ashley talks about her battle with anxiety and how eating better and living a more healthful life has helped her immensely. In this book, she gives you tips on what to eat, how to stock your pantry, and interspersed between the recipes and photos are personal anecdotes.
Reading Blissful Basil reminded me that while anxiety sucks, I can do my best to help myself, at the very least. It doesn’t hurt that Ashley’s photography is stunning, and the dishes are vibrant and enticing. If you’re looking to be inspired by whole-foods recipes, this book is a great one!
Now, back to the Buckwheat Green Apple Cranberry Avocado Salad! The description nails it when it talks about the good balance of sweet and savory, all complimented by creamy avocado. This salad is hearty, but also very refreshing. Perfect for the new year!
1 year: Winter Bisque with Crispy Sage // 2 years: Healthy Recipes for the New Year // 3 years: Mushroom Lentil Squash Casserole // 4 years: Adventures in Thailand // 5 years: Banana Almond Butter Oatmeal
Buckwheat Green Apple Cranberry Avocado Salad
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 2 cups water
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple cored and cut into matchsticks
- 2 cups baby arugula watercress, or other peppery green, leaves and tender stems only
- 1/3-1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raw pepitas
Simple Lemon Vinaigrette
- 3-5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice divided
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced (optional)
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 medium avocado halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
For the buckwheat salad
- Add the buckwheat groats to a fine-mesh strainer and thoroughly rinse with cold water. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed buckwheat and water. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Strain and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear.
- Transfer the cooked buckwheat to a large nonreactive (i.e. nonmetallic) serving bowl along with the apple, greens, cranberries, and pepitas.
For the simple lemon vinaigrette
- In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, garlic, sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. If desired, add the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the salad to brighten the flavors, and liberally season with sea salt and black pepper.
- Divide among plates and top with sliced avocado.
Other great recipes from Blissful Basil besides the Buckwheat Green Apple Cranberry Avocado Salad:
- Energizing Carrot Cake Smoothie p.76
- Creamy Parmesan Brussels Sprout Chips with Lemon Aoili p.105
- Caramelized Banana Ice Cream Sundae p.287
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