My New Roots

Author: Sarah Britton
Publisher: Random House
Book Publication: 2015

AUTHOR’S EXCERPT

My New Roots began with a tomato. It was yellow and shaped like a pear, about the size of a walnut shell. It hung on the vine like a golden teardrop, warming itself in the sun’s slanted late afternoon light. When I put the fruit in my mouth, I immediately noticed the softness and delicacy of its skin. But then I pressed it against the roof of my mouth with my tongue, and it burst into a universe of flavor quite unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It was bright, fresh, grassy, sweet, and overflowing with juice. The tomato tasted of all the things that had made it – the sun, the rain, the soil, the hands that had tended it.

In that moment my life changed. Here I was at 23, a total city slicker, just having graduated from design school and thinking I would be happy behind a computer for the rest of my life. The tomato I picked hung on a vine on an organic farm in Arizona. I was here because it was part of a larger project I had read about during my studies, and I thought it would be a fun experience for a month. Now I was contemplating staying at the farm. Forever.

My whole life I had eaten only processed foods, or fruits and vegetables that had been picked before their ripeness and traveled thousands of miles. I was a sugar addict, overfed and undernourished, never really considering what I ate. I realized with that tomato that food matters, and that we are connected to what we eat. That the beauty of the world can be experienced through the taste, smell, and texture of a single fruit. Whole foods became a revelation.

Even though My New Roots began as a way for me to share what I have learned about wellness and healing, it has become so much more than that. Over the past eight years, through sharing my adventures in the kitchen and my burgeoning obsession with plant-based cuisine, I have inadvertently created a community of readers who are passionate about cooking food that is not only delicious but also very healthy. I found many people hungry for direction and guidance in preparing nutritious food, and discovered that my recipes were actually making significant changes in people’s lives. E-mails began flowing in with stories from readers whose families and communities had become more energetic, lost weight, healed from disease, and rediscovered the joy in cooking.

Black Lentil Salad with Tzatziki, Avocado, and Pea Shoots

Isn’t it funny how the things we love to eat at restaurants are often put in the category “too difficult to make at home”? This was definitely the case with tzatziki. Then the first time I actually endeavored to make it, I was struck by how incredibly easy it was and just how much better it tasted fresh from my own kitchen. This dish is a simple spring salad bowl with fresh flavors and satisfying textures.

(Serves 3 to 4)

1 cup black lentils, soaked if possible
Fine sea salt
1 cup green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil, plus extra for garnish if desired
Grated zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
1/2 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup
2 ripe avocados, pitted and sliced
Handful of fresh pea shoots
Tzatziki (see below)

In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils and 2 cups of water to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes (depending on soak time, if any).

Halfway through cooking, add a few pinches of salt. When the lentils are tender, drain off any excess water.

Put the lentils in a large bowl and add the olives, shallot, parsley, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, honey, and salt to taste. Fold to combine.

To serve, put a few spoonfuls of lentil salad on each plate. Top each serving with slices of avocado, some pea shoots, and a generous dollop of tzatziki. Drizzle with extra olive oil if desired.

Tzatziki

(Makes 1 cup)

1 cup thick yogurt (Greek-style works well, or strained goat or sheep yogurt)
1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled
2 Tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the yogurt in a large bowl.

Grate the cucumber into a separate bowl and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Add the squeezed cucumber to the yogurt.

Add the olive oil, garlic, dill, and lemon juice, and fold to combine; season with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving, to allow the flavors to combine. Store any leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Excerpted from My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season by Sarah Britton. Copyright © 2015 Sarah Britton. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Ed. Note For more information on the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, visit www.instituteofholisticnutrition.com or see ads on page 45 in Vitality magazine, April 2015 issue.

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