Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness and nutrition courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
The words “gluten-free” and “green” in the same recipe can get a fit woman’s heart pumping! Whenever I create a new recipe that adds color, flavor and nutrients to my clean fare without the downer of sugar and other health-killing ingredients, I celebrate.
The idea for this recipe came to me when I visited a local farmers market. Standing amidst summer’s bounty, I was amazed at the amount of greens spilling from the stands. Lacinato kale, so dark blue-green it was almost black, was piled high alongside the brilliant green curly varieties, but I was most interested in how to work with the array of herbs and other leaves I found. How could I combine Italian flat-leaf parsley, arrowhead spinach (a Japanese hybrid also called “Asian-leaf” spinach), garlic scapes (scapes are the flower stems that garlic plants produce before the bulbs mature) and garlic, chives and aromatic basil into something delicious that wouldn’t require hours in the kitchen?
I thought it would be interesting to blend the abundant leafy greens and herbs with the acidity of limes, lemon and gorgeous olive oil. I filled my market basket with these treasures and made a quick stop at a local butcher who provides grass-fed venison and organic free-range chicken. My plan was to make an eat-clean meal with chicken breasts, roasted baby potatoes, kale salad and this herby Green Goodness Sauce for a savory garnish. Dinner was shaping up nicely.
I love to use vegetables and herbs to make sauces because they offer one more way to consume vegetable-based nutrients while also enhancing flavor. With herb- and vegetable-based toppings, I get the best nutrition possible while not having to eat heavily processed alternatives that often leave me feeling bloated and irritable. Those sauces are frequently thickened with gluten or flour-based products (your shampoo and conditioner are, too, by the way), and that’s where my body puts up a fight — I just don’t do gluten well. The less I eat of it, the better I feel. The same goes for sugar. I avoid these health-sapping problem ingredients at all times.
To make my Green Goodness Sauce, I gave the basil a good rinse and put the leaves of the entire bunch in my Vitamix (you can also use a blender or food processor). I added a handful of garlic scapes, 4 raw garlic cloves, 4 cups of packed spinach (rinsed well), an entire bunch of Italian parsley and the juice of two lemons. I added a healthy dose of olive oil and blended it well, mixing all that herby goodness into a versatile emerald green sauce. Just pulse until you have a uniformly smooth sauce.
Green Goodness Sauce can be used as a base to make a dressing for kale salad. I usually add a bit more olive oil and lemon juice to the recipe if it’s going to be used as a dressing. Then I massage the kale leaves with it and have a wonderful, simple salad in minutes. Otherwise, Green Goodness Sauce can be used as a delicious topping for cooked meats — it’s especially delicious on grilled steak or chicken. If you refrigerate extra sauce (it will keep up to a week) in a Mason jar, you will have it handy to make a raw zucchini noodle salad or to use as a pizza topping. This sauce is versatile, delicious and nutritious, and will take your food from so-so to gourmet, all while keeping your belly flat.
Make a jar every week, with in-season herbs and leafy greens and play with the taste.
Let me know what your Green Goodness Sauce recipe looks like. Send pics!
Eat clean for health and for life,
P.S. Remember, I am always listening over at toscareno.com.