Raw salads can be a problem during chemo. Problem solved! This really great Chopped Steamed Vegetable Salad can be changed up by using different veggies and herbs as the seasons turn. The salad will... keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, or you can freeze the steamed, diced veggies before you dress them to use at another time.
Separate the vegetables into batches, putting together the softer ones like cauliflower and broccoli flowerets, and doing the same with harder ones, including the apple, fennel, celery, daikon, and carrots. Sprinkle with the scallions.
Steam the batches of vegetables, separately, over high heat for about 3 minutes per batch until they are all cooked. If you don''t have a steamer, blanch each batch of veggies separately by plunging them into boiling water for 3 minutes and removing them with a slotted spoon into a colander to drain. Whether steaming or blanching, it's a good idea to use a timer.
Mix the steamed vegetables together in a deep salad bowl with the sunflower seeds and olives. Add the dressing and mix well until all the veggies are coated. Use your hands if it's easier. Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour for the flavors to develop. Toss again before serving. Add a few well-washed parsley leaves for garnish.
You can pretty much put anything into this mix, the ingredients list is just a suggestion. All the vegetables should be in a dice of about the same size, so if you’re using cauliflower or broccoli flowerets, they should be about the same size as the rest of the dice. Instead of discarding the smaller, tender stalks of the cauliflower, dice those up, too. Cooked beets are good to use as well, but they will turn the salad pink, so either add them at the end or use golden beets instead.
A tiered steamer makes short work of this. Put the tenderest veggies in the top basket for quick removal.
If you are on a neutropenic diet, wear gloves if you use your hands to mix the salad. Also, depending on your protocol, you may want to pass on the parsley garnish.
If you are pressed for time, you can use frozen vegetables, the harder ones like peas, corn, beans and carrots work best. Be sure to steam them straight from the freezer to conserve their taste and nutrients.