By Ilana Meiller
Pesach is almost upon us, and this recipe is my new invention worth sharing for the holiday. Truth be told, most of us tend to overindulge in matzah, flour-free potato kugel (I only eat vegan) and kosher-for-Passover processed products, which may cause digestive and health issues. For this reason, this light and refreshing salad provides a welcome respite from these high-glycemic carbohydrates that are so difficult to resist on Pesach.
I like to refer to this dish as my “medicinal green salad” for its healing properties and ability to cleanse the body of free radicals. In addition to preventing diseases, broccoli and arugula maintain healthy digestion, and cucumber promotes hydration due to its high water content. Thus, these vegetables have a light and cooling effect on the digestive system, and are also in season in the spring and summer. But a salad is incomplete without a dressing.
Drawing inspiration from the seder plate, I’ve used some of the holiday’s symbolic foods for this dressing. As my family’s charoset is made from raisins and mixed nuts, I’ve included almonds and raisins in the dressing. The almonds add richness, and the raisins sweeten this smooth sauce. And as one would expect, the rest of the ingredients — garlic, citrus and herbs — pack a wholesome punch, helping the body function properly.
This salad can be filling as a main meal, so feel free to double this recipe. Enjoy this healthy and compassionate dish. Chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach!
Ingredients for the salad:
- 1 full head of broccoli (medium or large size), cut into small florets
- 4 cups fresh arugula
- 2 Persian cucumbers
- 2 green onions
Wash the broccoli florets. Add about 2 inches of water to a pot. Place a steam basket into the pot and add the broccoli florets into the steam basket. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat; cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.
Note: You may also follow these instructions without using a steam basket.
Remove the broccoli florets from the pot. Set aside.
Wash and dry the arugula gently.
Wash the green onions and slice them thinly. Include some green parts.
Wash the cucumbers. Hold and slice the cucumbers horizontally on a cutting board. I prefer to peel my cucumbers.
On a platter, place the arugula, broccoli, green onions and cucumbers. Proceed with making the dressing now.
Ingredients for the almond dressing:
- ¾ cup raw almonds
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons raisins
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend for a few minutes until you get a creamy consistency.
Add an extra tablespoon of water if you prefer a thinner dressing. I love my dressing thick.
Taste and add salt and/or dill if desired.
Serve this dressing with the salad. Drizzle the vegetables with the almond dressing and toss well to combine.
Ilana Meiller was born in Israel and works as a school-based mental health professional in Baltimore County.