Dressings are a great conduit to intaking herbal medicines. First off, you don’t even taste some of the more off-tasting herbs; Secondly, fat and vinegar are excellent bases to absorbing medicinal compounds. Healthy fats are a great vehicle that can facilitate digestion, metabolism and depending on the fat it contains a wide array of medicinal components. Vinegars, particularly if raw, are rich in naturally occurring probiotics, which also allow for a deeper and more efficient absorption of just about anything. Essentially, if you pair your remedies, like adaptogens, with a probiotic and/or fat, you’re ensuring that the medicine gets absorbed properly.
The science behind food/herb combining is ancient and has its reasoning. For example, if you’re intaking brain protective herbs, then using a fat within your concoction is vital to expressing the brain protective capacity of the medicine you’re making. Raw coconut oil, MCT oil, flax oil and avocado oil, are just a few oils that are well known to support brain function.
A QUICK OVERVIEW ON ADAPTOGENS
For those of you new to the herbal ball-game, Adaptogens are a very special class of herbs that are famously known for their multi-leveled ability to protect the body and mind from the damaging effects of stress. These plants all share a particular intelligence in common — they work ‘non-specifically,’ meaning they target multiple functions in the body and powerfully bring homeostasis to the body and mind. And, what’s truly fascinating is that The inherent intelligence within adaptogenic plants work by providing the body with what it particularly needs in that moment. For example, if you’re fatigued, adaptogens give you energy; or, if you’re anxious, they calm you down. This is due to the impact that these special plants have on our endocrine system particularly the HPA axis (hypothalamus + pituitary and adrenal glands), including the limbic system (our “emotional center”) along with other systems such as the nervous system, and more.
The mushrooms we’re using in this recipe are well known for their immune protective effects. The ones used within this recipe are immune-modulators, meaning they regulate and help maintain a healthy immune response. They’re also well researched for their ability to slow the progression of acute and chronic illnesses. Read more on their scientific studies here.
*It is important to note that a healthy lifestyle and dietary changes are essential to the effectiveness of adaptogens and any plant medicine being used for healing. It goes without saying that adaptogens alone will not make up for poor dietary habits, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, addiction to stress, and an emotional or spiritual depleted life. Modern day cultures live a very malnourished life within the pantry of plenty. It’s vital to choose the type of diet that works best with your constitution, paired with the right herbs for the current cycle you’re in.
OK, LETS GET BACK TO THE SALAD!
Here we’re using a blend of medicinal mushrooms as they’re adaptogenic powerhouses that give a major upgrade to the dressing itself. Here I’m using Anima Mundi’s organic and locally grown mushrooms, Reishi and Cordyceps. I also love using the 7 Mushroom Blend, but you can make your own blend, or simply use 1 adaptogenic mushroom of choice. I often opt for Reishi and/or Cordyceps as I just love sprinkling it onto everything, even on my kid’s meals!
Kale Salad With Miso Tahini Dressing + Adaptogens
1 red onion
3 Tbsp olive oil
7-8 stems of kale
salt + pepper
Handful of mushrooms
1 small apple
handful of walnuts
1 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp chickpea miso (or miso of choice)
2 cloves garlic
1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
0.5 tsp Adaptogenic 7 Mushroom Blend
1 Tbsp honey (optional)
water, as needed
salt + pepper
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.
Peel and quarter the onions. Place the onions on a baking tray with baking paper and brush with vegetable oil, then bake for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash the kale, dab dry and tear into bite-sized pieces (do not use the stem).
Then put the kale in a salad bowl, salt well and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Massage the kale with your hands for about 1 minute until soft. Clean the mushrooms, cut into slices and fry in some vegetable oil, then salt and pepper.
Wash and quarter the apples and pear, cut out the core and cut the fruit into thin slices. Halve the pomegranate and remove the seeds (optional).
In a bowl or blender, add the tahini, finely minced garlic, miso, mushroom or adaptogenic powder, oil, vinegar and nut yeast, and mix intensively until smooth.
Add water slowly, and as desired, until you reach your desired texture.
Some folks like it thicker than others, so gage it based on your desire. I like to use the same proportion of water to oil, yet add more water if you want it less thick.
Season with salt and pepper. Pour onto your salad bowl and enjoy immediately!
Share your experience, or questions below!
Photography by Food Stories