Nobody Said it Was Pretty: Blended Salad with Black Beans

by Gena on June 21, 2012

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It’s a week of speedy meals here at CR, and in spite of that, I’m doing my best to show you quick, easy, and healthy plant based fare. Thank you all for the great reaction to my parsnip rice with hemp seeds and basil!

As temperatures skyrocket this week, and DC is covered in a shroud of humidity, it’s time to break out the blender. We’ve already seen green juice with avocado (yum) this week, and today, when I got home from class, I had a hankering for one of my blended salads. What the heck is a blended salad? See this post for the deets and a DIY guide, but basically, blended salads are just soups of raw veggies, whipped up (typically) in a high speed blender. Think of them as the savory answer to green smoothies! They’re incredibly refreshing, and I think they’re ideal for summer months.

In every great raw foods cookbook I’ve ever read, one single piece of advice was offered on the topic of raw soups: texture matters. Because they usually have a blended vegetable base, adding some mix ins for texture and flavor is key. I love adding avocado and cherry tomatoes, but chickpeas, black beans, shredded carrots or beets, edamame, and green peas are all wonderful toppers. Today, I used about a half cup of black beans and the last of an avocado that was in my fridge: I definitely encourage you to use whatever odds and ends might fit your soup base!

Speaking of odds and ends, blended salads are generally good for putting the last of your veggies to use. Today, I had half a cup of cherry tomatoes, 4 carrots, a little bit of celery, and the last two leaves of kale from a bunch I’d been making my way through this week. They all went into my soup, along with some sundried tomatoes, cashews, and a bit of sacha inchi oil. The result was delicious; think V8, homemade. And it was ready after about 1 minute of blending, flat. Not bad for lunch on the go!

So, raw salads are quick, easy, healthy, and tasty. What they usually aren’t is pretty and photogenic: they tend to be thick, and often take on odd orange/green hues. No matter. These soups offer in antioxidant and vitamin power what they lack in photogeneity!

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Blended “V8” Salad (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Serves 2-3

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
4 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped
2 large stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 small zucchini, roughly chopped
1/4 cup packed, sundried tomatoes
2 kale leaves, toughest parts of the stem cut off
1/2 tsp herbamare or Jane’s Crazy Mixed up Salt (substitute 1/4 tsp salt and a dash of black pepper)
2 pitted dates
1/4 cup cashews
1 cup water (more if needed)
1 tbsp hemp, flax, or sacha inchi oil

Garnish:

1 cup black beans (or so)
Avocado chunks

1. Blend all ingredients but the oil in a high speed blender till smooth. Put the cherry tomatoes and zucchini at the bottom to facilitate blending.

2. While the mixture is blending evenly, drizzle in oil.

3. Pour into bowls and garnish with beans and avocado. Serve!

Check out the tasty toppings:

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As you can see, I also served it with some sprouted bread “toast points.”

Except that I didn’t toast them. Not in this heat Smile

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Nutrient dense meals can squeeze into even the busiest of days. When a blender involved, it’s especially easy to pack a lot of nutrition into a fast and easy meal!

Hope this post inspires you to experiment with your own vegetable blends. Believe me, this one is far from a template: there are so many different combinations to explore, so keep me posted if you come up with a winner!

Do you like blended soups? Which ones are your favorites for hot summer months?

xo

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah E June 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I’m a huge gazpacho fan. This is genius, and I think it’s pretty.

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Gena June 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Then you said it :) I should change my title now!

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Mary June 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm

How many tomatoes do you use?? The recipe got cut off. This looks delicious and I would love to try it for lunch tomorrow! I’ve made your chocolate buckwheat granola and really enjoyed that too :)

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Gena June 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

1/2 cup! I fixed it. Thanks for the head’s up!

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Mary June 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I’m the only Raw Vegan in my home and was wondering if the leftovers would stay more than 1 day?

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Gena June 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I don’t tend to find that blended salads keep well for more than a day. So drink them fast! Or half the recipe.

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Kristy June 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm

This is so awesome! And such a good way to use up the left-over odds and ends veggies! I have a feeling this will be a new go-to in our house. Thanks, Gena!

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jenny June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

heh you turned me into a raw soup fan way back in early CR days. nice idea to add dates (whooooa soup-smoothie hybrid)

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Christine (The Raw Project) June 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Love this idea, great way to use up veggies! I’m a fan of blended soups for the high nutrient content while being easy on the digestive system.

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Stefania @ Revitalize with Stefania June 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I love blended salads for when I just need to get lunch DONE. This one looks great!

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Robyn June 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Can’t wait to make this,,,only started to have raw soups this year,,,and I’m always trying to cram every possible nutrient I can to each meal,,,so this is perfect, thx

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity June 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm

A raw blended salad defiantly something I will be eating on a regular basis, but being winter at the moment its just to tempting to transfer it to the stove to warm it up! Which I may just do :)

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Gena June 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Also a nice thought :)

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melissa June 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm

looks good and a smart way to clean out the fridge! I actually think this is a lot prettier than most green smoothies–the beans are a nice color contrast!

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Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm

wow what an interesting soup!! sounds delicious!

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Amy June 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I love that you’re doing a whole lot of fast-prep meals since they’re really helpful to me, but I have a secondary issue: I need things that are fast to eat. I teach, and only have 35 minutes for lunch (which turns to 25ish when you count time to go to and from the department lunch room and if a student stays after class with a question). So, much as I REALLY want to have a high-raw, nutrient dense lunch, I find it’s difficult to consume enough volume in the time I have allotted (unless I omit polite conversation – not much of an option!) and I could use tips on meals that need to fit into a tight lunch schedule (if you have them). Any thoughts on high-raw options that can be part of a speedy lunch period? Thanks!

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Janae @ Bring-Joy June 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Green smoothies? Any way to make one in your break room? I love these because they take less than a few minutes to make & you can make them super filling by adding lots of greens & fruit or as Gena did, an avocado!

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Kait @ yogabeautylife June 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm

One of these days I will get over my fear of blended soup! It took me months to try a green smoothie so this is bound to be coming….it sounds so good but I’m so hesitant!

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Janae @ Bring-Joy June 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I like blended soups. Avocado, cucumber, celery & some cilantro & garlic is a fave combo.

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Jennifer June 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

Green is always beautiful

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Averie @ Averie Cooks June 22, 2012 at 1:00 am

I am more of a texture girl than a blended girl, in general…especially for savory foods. But for sweeter smoothies, I can get down with just about anything blended.

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Alice June 22, 2012 at 2:57 am

Your recipe sounds delicious, Gena, and I like that it takes so little time to prepare. I’d love to see what other blended salad combinations you come up with.

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Aoife June 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

I made a variation of the blended salad today (actually was inspired by both this and your pea soup) AND your carrot fries, oh my lunch was so delicious. Thank you! Here’s a picture of what mine looked like (I left it a little chunkier) http://instagr.am/p/MLgMNQol-M/

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Marlena June 22, 2012 at 11:02 am

Gena, you are the queen of the blended salad. This is such an interesting mix, and looks beautiful, too! I just posted my favorite raw soups this week in honor of summer and the um, icky gross super humid weather. :)

Thanks for the inspiration!

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Natalie @ Willfunforveggies June 22, 2012 at 11:39 am

This looks delicious! I am loving the “hurry-up vegan” dishes–proves you don’t need a lot of time to put together wholesome meals. I think to make this I would need a better blender than the one I have. I doubt it could handle the harder vegetables like carrots. I might have to try this in the food processor.

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Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) June 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I love blended salads, they are my absolute favorite easy, go-to, healthy meal (how’s that for a lot of adjectives). I agree with you that texture matters. I usually just lightly blend the ingredients and then pour the mixture into a saucepan for gentle heating. My favorite addition is an avocado, it makes everything so creamy and decadent! In the case of a really hot day, though, I am more inclined to have a cold salad than a blended salad. Stay cool, Gena!

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles June 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Savory green smoothie…I like it! Definitely something to try as it’s been so hot here. Thanks!

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elizabeth June 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I usually start my blended salads with cucumber, bell pepper (red or yellow), a clove of garlic and juice of half a lemon. Then I fill the blender with dark leafy stuff (there are a lot of greens that I don’t like to juice that I love in blended salads, like basil). I may leave it at that and add olive oil or avocado to make it creamy. Or I’ll add tomato, in which case I’ll turn the Vitamix way down so the tomatoes blend but the seeds aren’t pulverized. I’m quite fond of gazpachos (all sorts from traditional Spanish to fruit-based), though I make them in the food processor not the blender, because I like my gazpacho chunky. Also like carrot ginger juice blended with an avocado and some garlic.

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Karina June 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Im new to raw eating……is sprouted bread raw?

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Kim June 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm

This sounds delicious! And I think it’s beautiful, too! :) I love blended soups.

This one’s yummy – http://kristensraw.com/blog/2007/09/05/kristen-suzannes-harvest-soup/

Lemony Mint Energy Soup – fresh and summery!
2 apples
1/2 lemon
2 c. spring mix
2 T (or less) Bragg’s or tamari
1 avocado
1 c. fresh mint
4 c. water

I also love to just throw things together that sound good. I love mixing fruit into summer soups. Mango and avocado go nicely together. Apples and cucumbers are great for summer, too.

Cream of the Sea Soup – (I created this one day and loved it. I wrote down what I added since my sister always fusses at me for making something and not knowing how to reproduce it.) :)

half of a lg avocado
a couple cups of water
juice of 2 limes
juice of 3 sm oranges
2 sm garlic cloves
splash tamari
2 T hemp seeds
heaping T almond butter
dulse and/or nori to taste

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Elyse Sokoloff June 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Just made this, using your recipe as a template rather than item by item and I think I’m hooked. It was so easy, so delicious and just what I was in the mood for. These will be made often!

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Hannah June 23, 2012 at 4:57 am

This is going to sound silly, but do you really blend your soups and smoothies for a full minute? I think I only do my smoothies for about twenty second, out of fear or them getting warm, but me thinks this might be why I still find chunks of berries and things inside. Oops.

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Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See June 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Sometimes ugly food tastes the best. No shame ! :)

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Fiona July 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I made this for dinner for my husband and I but found it much too sweet from the dates, carrots, and tomatoes. I was expecting a savory soup. I added nutritional yeast and pepper and left out the oil. I topped it with fava beans and avocado. I couldn’t even finish my bowl it was so incredibly filling! My husband managed to finish his but he was stuffed! I felt there were a few too many ingredients in the blended salad/soup and would probably make something similar again but a much simpler version.

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