Crisp and Spicy Avocado Wasabi Salad: Sweet and Fiery in Every Bite

Wasabi: You either love it or hate it. This condiment has an intense aroma and strong horseradish-like taste that can take some people aback, although those who are adventurous with their food seem to like it. This green root is popular in Japanese cuisine and is usually served alongside slices of raw fish or mixed with sushi rice.1

If you’re interested in trying wasabi but don’t want that very spicy sensation after eating it, you can make this Crisp and Spicy Avocado Wasabi Salad Recipe by Megan Olson of PaleoHacks. What makes this dish stand out is the unique sweet and spicy avocado and wasabi dressing. Eating this salad is sure to deliver multiple flavors with each bite.

Crisp and Spicy Avocado Wasabi Salad: Sweet and Fiery in Every Bite

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

    For the avocado wasabi dressing:

  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 organic lemon
  • Salt to taste

    For the salad:

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • Microgreens for garnish
Serving Size: 1
 
Procedure
  1. Prepare the dressing by adding avocado, lemon juice, salt and wasabi paste to a blender or food processor. Blend on high until avocado is smooth and creamy. Then add extra virgin olive oil. Blend on high for 1 minute until fully emulsified. Transfer dressing to a glass jar.
  2. Prepare the salad by layering the greens in a large bowl followed by the shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, sesame seeds and microgreens. Drizzle the avocado wasabi dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
 

Crisp and Spicy Avocado Wasabi Salad Recipe: A Good Choice for a Health Boost

Salads, especially those made from fresh and organic produce, are one of the healthiest foods you can eat if you want to lose some weight, boost your health or both. This Crisp and Spicy Avocado Wasabi Salad Recipe is no exception.

However, this isn’t your typical salad, mainly because of the avocado and wasabi dressing that has a good contrast of sweet and spicy. Plus, the numerous health benefits you can get from the dressing and the vegetables make this a top-notch salad you can save for yourself or share with another.

Wickedly Spicy Wasabi’s Health Benefits

Because wasabi is typically used in small servings, it does not typically qualify as a significant nutrient source. Nevertheless, adding authentic wasabi to your diet may have potential benefits because of its nutrients, namely:2

  • Minerals: Potassium, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc
  • Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and C
  • Protein

Wasabi also exhibited anti-bacterial properties, and was most effective against the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. The roots were the strongest when it came to destroying the bacteria, although other plant parts were shown to kill the organisms too.3 Other studies also highlighted the wasabi stem’s capabilities against the E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus strains.4 Additional research revealed wasabi’s other capabilities, and these were all traced to compounds called isothiocyanates5 in the plant:

  • Reduced cancer risk: Initial research showed that the compounds 6-MITC [6-(methylsulfinyl)hexyl isothiocyanate] and I7557 [6-methylsulfonyl)hexyl isothiocyanate] may help prevent pancreatic cancer cell growth.6 Meanwhile, another study found that the 6-MITC [6-(methylsulfinyl)hexyl isothiocyanate] compound may inhibit growth of breast and skin cancer.7 However, more research has to be done to fully confirm this link.
  • Anti-platelet aggregation: The isothiocyanates may assist with preventing platelet aggregation,8 or the clumping together of red blood cells that may eventually cause blood clots.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Isothiocyanates showed potential in inhibiting inflammation-related conditions like asthma and inflammatory bowel disease and in decreasing symptoms of arthritis, a known inflammatory condition. Wasabi is known to block prostaglandin, the neurotransmitter responsible for inflammation and pain.

To reap wasabi’s known benefits, you must use real and authentic wasabi, which is typically found only at specialty stores and high-end dining places. Beware of most wasabi sold in sushi places and groceries: They’re impostors that contain artificial colors and flavors and genetically modified (GM) ingredients like corn and soy. If you cannot find authentic wasabi, you can try making “wasabi” using horseradish, turmeric and spirulina.

There are also side effects associated with wasabi, such as diarrhea and nausea (because of its strong flavor and aroma).9 Increased consumption of wasabi, especially in large doses, can induce liver damage because of a chemical called hepatotoxin present in the plant, so make sure to use it in moderation.10

How Does Avocado Support Your Health?

Aside from providing a mild sweetness to the dressing, the many benefits your body can reap from the avocado make this an important fruit you should add to your diet. Avocado contains vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, 9, C, E and K, and nutrients like potassium and fiber, but most of the positives connected to it come from its high monounsaturated fat content. These healthy fats are not only used by the body as fuel, but can also help:11

  • Maintain proper brain function
  • Keep cholesterol levels in the healthy range
  • Improve heart health
  • Absorb fat-soluble nutrients like alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein from other foods
  • Prevent degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

To top it all off, there is a low risk that an avocado is contaminated with pesticides because of its thick skin. The “Clean 15” report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), hailed avocado as the plant with second least amount of pesticide residue, so it’s OK to buy conventionally grown varieties.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Your Best Bet for Salads

While coconut oil remains to be the best type of oil you can use when cooking dishes, you can drizzle high-quality extra virgin olive oil or plain olive oil all over salads like this. Just like avocado, this oil contains healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower heart disease risk. These fats were also shown to benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, thereby reducing type 2 diabetes risk. Other benefits of olive oil include:

Gentle on the digestive system Has a high potential in preventing gallstones and soothing ulcers
Has liver-protective properties Offers anti-viral and antimicrobial properties
A storehouse of beneficial nutrients for eye health like vitamin A Good source of vitamin E and minerals like copper, fiber and iron

Unfortunately, most olive oils sold nowadays are adulterated, meaning the product is made inferior by adding cheap and oxidized omega-6 vegetable oils like sunflower or peanut oil or non-human grade olive oils.12 To avoid deception by profit-hungry olive oil producers, look for these qualities when purchasing olive oil:

  • Rancidity: Olive oil is considered rancid if it smells like crayons or putty, tastes like rancid nuts and/or has a greasy mouthfeel.
  • Fusty flavor: This refers to the instance wherein olives sit too long prior to milling, resulting in fermentation in the absence of oxygen. While this fusty flavor is incredibly common in olive oil and already considered normal, it’s not ideal. Olive oil that has a fermented smell that’s similar to sweaty socks or swampy vegetation should be avoided.

    If you’re not exactly sure what fusty flavor is, you can look through Kalamata olives and find a brown and mushy piece, rather than a purple or maroon-black and firm olive. The brown and mushy piece tends to have a fusty flavor.
  • Moldy flavor: Olive oil that tastes dusty or musty was probably made from moldy olives, an occasional olive oil defect.
  • Wine or vinegar flavor: If the oil tastes like it contains undertones of wine, vinegar or even nail polish, it’s a sign that the olives underwent fermentation with oxygen, which produces this sharp and undesirable flavor.

About the Blog

Paleohacks is one of the largest Paleo communities on the web. They offer everything Paleo, from a Q&A forum where users get their top health questions answered, to a community blog featuring daily recipes, workouts and wellness content. You can also tune in to their podcast, where they bring in the top experts in the Paleo world to share the latest, cutting-edge health information.

Sources and References
Nutritional Type Cookbook

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