When we were kids and the adults were passing out lifesavers or lollipops, my little sister’s answer was always the same: “Oh, please!” she’d exclaim, careful to use her manners. “I want a greem one!!” She was just 3, maybe 4, but she knew what she wanted. A bright green piece of candy or glass of kool-aid or bowl of jello. The color of green the leaves are after getting juicy with Spring rain. It was easy for us bigger kids to let her have her way, since most of us were fixated on the red or the orange. And the way she said it was so cute how could anyone dare to correct her?
Later I would learn that vibrant green is the color associated with the heart chakra. Even later I would learn there are foods that same color that have a sweetness far more healthy than the lifesavers or lollipops we clamored over when the grandparents or great aunts handed them out. It isn’t often the older sister concedes to the wisdom of the younger, but I have to thank my sister for tuning me into that bright green glor so early on. I never forgot how she favored it over the more conventionally liked flavors, and I never fell out of love with the beautiful color of the candy she most wanted, even if it wasn’t my first choice.
I’d like to share with you a whole foods lunch full of this color of green. I’d like to say I came up with the recipe, but like getting tuned in to the color of green as a child, I’m happy to give someone else the credit. A while back Susan mentioned a meatless Mondays post that sent me surfing to see what I might find. It had to do with cabbage, one of my favorite staples, so of course i was intrigued. I’m happy to report I came up with this gem: Shitake Cabbage Stir Fry from Vegans Eat Yummy Food Too!
The only change I made to this lovely simple treatment was that I used frozen shitake mushrooms from a package I already had in the freezer. There’s perhaps a little more saute time and a little more liquid as the mushrooms thaw out, but they worked great.
But of course I couldn’t stop there. I wanted to have a whole starch to go on my plate as well. So I cooked up some millet, and tossed it with a bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley from my garden, some tumeric and freshly grated garlic. The results were a plate so pretty and colorful I fell in love with it. I’m still eating it every chance I get.
Anahata is the sanskrit word for the beautiful green color of the heart chakra, the wheel of energy that opens the heart. So remember to smile with your heart when you make this bright green beauty of a lunch, and know you’re giving it the kind of loving good food it needs to keep on ticking and teaching you to love the world long into life.
I also tested out a “salad in a jar” version of this dish in preparation for my trip to Portland. I had to come up with a dressing that would “go” with the original spirit of the cooked cabbage. I feel like the “salad jar” version is innovative enough that I can give you the recipe for it below.
Happy Heart Chakra Mushroom-Cabbage-Millet Salad in a Jar
The Salad Ingredients:
1 cup button mushrooms (or 1 cup of mushrooms of your choice
about 1/4 of a head of cabbage, shredded, chopped or spiralized
1 cup of sugar snap peas, sliced on the diagonal
about 1 cup of cooked millet, tossed with 1/8 tsp of tumeric and one grated garlic clove
about 1/4 cup of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbs of freshly grated ginger
2-3 tbs. of balsamic vinegar infused with pears and cinnamon
1 tbs of coconut aminos
1/2 to 1 tsp of almond butter
1 tsp of molasses
To make the dressing:
Mix the almond butter and molasses together in a small bowl with a fork until you get a smooth paste. Add the other liquids and keep mixing to form the dressing. Pour into the bottom of a wide mouthed quart jar.
To make the salad:
Dry saute the mushrooms until they exude their juices and are nicely browned. Let them cool a bit. Put them into the dressing in the jar. Add the sliced sugar snap peas on top of the mushrooms.Sprinkle in some of the grated ginger. Add the shredded cabbage. Sprinkle in more of the grated ginger in the cabbage. Press everything down as you go. Toss the cooked millet with the tumeric and the garlic. Add the millet mixture. Press down. Top with the chopped parsley and any grated ginger you have left. Cover and store. When ready to eat, shake the jar, and turn out the salad into a big bowl. Feel your heart smile.
Notes: If you don’t have balsamic vinegar infused with pears the slow way, you can make that happen by heating some up with a cut pear and a stick of cinnamon.
I’ll have more tales of salad in a jar and my trip to Portland in coming posts. In the meantime, I hope you have as much fun playing with your food as I did making my first salad in a jar.