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This Anything-Goes Green Goddess Salad is a Nutrition Goldmine

Salad need not be relegated to a dull side dish. This recipe hits all the flavor and texture sweet spots and proves that green is indeed the color of health.

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Salads should be as fundamental to a runner’s routine as, well, running. That is because there are few better ways to eat a greater concentration of important micronutrients and plant-derived phytochemicals for improved health and performance. This report in the journal Public Health Nutrition, for example, determined that salad eaters are more likely to eat a greater quantity of vegetables including nutritional heavyweights like dark, leafy greens and are more likely to meet dietary recommendations for serving amounts of this all-too-important food group.

But the key to eating more salads, and in turn upping your daily veg intake, is to make them a lot less boring and instead something you are eager to dig your fork into. A certain TikTok-famous green goddess salad certainly seems to fit the bill as a salad that you’d be antsy to try. But the salad is basically just a bunch of cabbage swimming in creamy herbs, and is far from a well-rounded dish (too little carbs, where’s the protein?) and won’t properly support the nutritional needs of bodies in motion.

That’s why we have decided to up the ante with a fresh and bright version of green goddess that brings together a greater range of nutrient-dense food groups that will help runners hit their stride. From snappy pickled peppers to smoky freekeh to peppery arugula to the most verdant dressing ever, this main dish–worthy salad is full of attention grabbers. It just might be the best recovery salad you can bring to the dining table.

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The Supercharged Green Goddess Salad

This composed salad hits high in plant-based protein courtesy of the trio of lentils, hummus, and freekeh, a Middle Eastern grain with a crave-inducing smoky flavor and levels of protein and fiber that put other whole grains to shame. But you can use other options such as quinoa or sorghum, both of which are gluten-free. You can also freestyle with other ingredients, such as
using labneh or Greek yogurt as a creamy base instead of hummus, swapping out arugula for baby spinach, or adding crunch with pistachios in place of sunflower seeds. To be honest, the star of the show here is the herby, creamy, vibrant dressing. You’ll be looking to slather it on everything. Several components of the salad (including the lentils, freekeh, and dressing) can be
made in advance for a quick assembly.

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 1 (8 ounce) container of store-bought hummus
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup roasted shelled sunflower seeds

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Dressing

  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

  1. Place green pepper slices in a large wide-mouth jar or bowl. Place sugar and salt in a separate bowl and add 2/3 cup boiled water; stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Stir in cider vinegar. Let cool for a few minutes and then add vinegar mixture to peppers. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to several days.
  2. Cook lentils in a large saucepan of simmering, salted water until they are tender but still retain their shape, about 25 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water, and drain well again.
  3. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add freekeh and a couple pinches of salt. Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer covered until grains are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain any excess water.
  4. To make the dressing, blend together olive oil, water, zucchini, lemon juice, parsley, scallions, jalapeño, garlic, tahini, honey, and salt until smooth.
  5. To serve, spread hummus on serving plates and scatter on lentils, arugula, freekeh, cucumber, avocado, and sunflower seeds. Drizzle on dressing and garnish with microgreens if using.

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