Purple Power Salad for a Picnic

picnic3

Another year, another great success! The second annual My New Roots Potluck Picnic in the Park was So. Much. Fun. But no surprise there. Combining several of my favourite pastimes: cooking, eating, picnic-ing and meeting new friends, this little get-together has become a real highlight of my summer. I loved seeing so many familiar faces from last year, as well as all the enthusiastic newcomers, arms full of tasty delights in tow.

This year, everyone really went all out and as a result the food was incredible. So many amazing colours, textures, creative combinations of superfoods and super tastes! I was in heaven. I often joke that the only reason I hold this event in the first place is to get a good meal, but I cannot tell a lie. It’s hard to believe that you can put one dish together to share, and get a plate loaded with so many insanely delicious and healthy delights in return (plus get a few dinner invites out of it too). Some favourites of mine this year included the quinoa and kimchi stew, raw pickles and saurkraut, oven-roasted baba ganoush, the chunky toffee bites, and raw cacao-bee pollen truffles. Gorgeousness!

picnic

Last year I had planned out what I wanted to make for the picnic days in advance, but for some reason this year, I had drawn a complete blank! The only thing I knew for sure was that I had a huge bag of purple heirloom carrots from some generous farming friends, and the urge to use rosewater. Random. After much consideration on how I could possibly combine these two, I decided playing up the purple pigment angle with some red cabbage and dried black mission figs to create a kind of Moroccan-flavoured salad would be yum. Mint, parsley, and some warming spices came to play, as well as crunchy, toasted pumpkin seeds. All together with the tangy-sweet rosewater dressing, it was a surprising and delightful combination that only comes along when I try to hook up two seemingly unrelated foods. Hmm. I should do that more often.

Purple Equals Power
The colour purple is your hot ticket to healthy town! This particular pigment signifies the presence of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that combats inflammation, contributes to heart and brain health, while protecting and preventing a number of diseases. For instance, studies show that anthocyanins may aid in the prevention of macular degeneration by protecting the eyes from free radical damage, increasing circulation and stabilizing collagen structures (which hold tissues together).

For more purple pigment power load up on beetroots, eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, black cherries, black raspberries, açaí, black currants, plums, elderberries, bilberries, raisins, and pomegranates.

picnic2

Although I found that the flavours and colours in this salad were perfect, if I do say so myself, don’t make an extra trip to the store for purple carrots, black mission figs or rosewater. Orange carrots would be just fine instead, and any dried fruit in place of the figs would be fabulous. Prunes, dried black cherries, currants, and dark raisins would still give you all the benefits of the purple pigments however, so try and stick with one of those if you can. As for the rosewater, it’s a really special addition that lends a unique, floral-kissed flavour to the salad. It can be overpowering, so if it’s your first time working with it, use a light hand – otherwise your salad will taste like grandma’s perfume instead of a rosy whisper. You can find rosewater at Middle Eastern grocery stores and gourmet food shops.


A big thank you to everyone who came out this year to eat, drink and meet a few new like-minded friends. I am so grateful to the whole community of awesome people you are – and that we are able to gather in celebration of healthy, conscious, delicious food. Can’t wait until next year!

All love,
Sarah B.

64 comments

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  4. shilpa

    This salad was divine! I used cilantro and a bit of parsley and it was so good! Thanks so much for the recipe, Sarah!

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  6. Linn

    I just wanted to thank you for writing such an inspiring blog. I love to cook but have been struggling with gaining weight recently, which on occasion takes away all of my motivation and joy for cooking. Coming to your website though I always find balanced, healthy recipes that spark my interest again. This really means a lot to me in an also otherwise hectic day. Keep up the great work..!

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  8. JJ Riter

    I made this today for a Christmas potluck luncheon, and it was a hit! I added some extra figs and called it “figgy salad” in honor of the season. Used basil instead of parsley. Couldn’t find any purple cabbage, but green cabbage did as well, if not quite as pretty. Will make this again! Thank you!

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  12. Kari Baumbach

    Made this over the weekend and LOVED it. I’ve been eating the leftovers every day for lunch. Love the warmth of the cinnamon and cumin and the subtle sweet of the fig. And it gorgeous to look at. And all of those healthy colors. My daughter’s hoping it will be on the Thanksgiving table.

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  14. Stephanie

    This was soooo delicious! I just made it up with a few small substitutes (i.e. with what I had available): peach vinegar instead of lemon, dates instead of figs. I love the warmth of the cinnamon, cumin and dates with the tang from the lemon (vinegar) along with the crispy prettiness of the purple cabbage and carrots. Truly, a gem of a recipe (and so simple). This is a perfect transition-to-autumn salad. Thanks! (You are definitely glowing, by the way.)

  15. Eva

    Hi Sarah!
    thanks again for a wonderfully colourful & tasty creation! I was eager to see you with your bump, but the picture of you has the salad bowl instead… please share with us, being pregnant is such a wonderful thing!
    eVa

  16. Vicki Bensinger

    This is a beautiful salad and so healthy. The key to a healthy lifestyle is eating colorful fruits and veggies or the Colors of the Rainbow. I recently made a Rainbow Slaw very similar to this although I used sugar. Next time I’ll be using honey. It looks like you had a fun picnic.

  17. Girelle

    Hi,
    I found your blog through Heidi at 101Cookbooks. Thank you for sharing your recipes. They are brilliant! Can’t wait to try them.

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  19. Naomi

    I just tried this and it is simply amazing! I did tweak it a bit for my own families taste and what we had in the house. I used Agave instead of honey as I find that it tastes lighter and used orange carrots as I can’t get purple ones right now. I also missed out the pumpkin seeds and replaced them with fresh pomegranate seeds and it was gorgeous. I rather think its going to become a favourite.

    Oh and instead of the figs you suggested I picked some from our own fig tree and used them fresh. They soaked up the dressing beautifully

  20. Heidi

    Love this! Just made the salad with a few modifications, based on what I had. Used cilantro instead of parsley, and did not use mint. I find that orange carrots (didn’t have purple) add lovely contrast to the purple of the cabbage. Added fresh corn (from an ear I had left over), which added a bit of yellow, too. I just adore the subtle cinnamon and the cumin dressing, and, for anyone who is curious, it worked beautifully with the cilantro. Thank you thank you Sarah B. Your blog is my new favorite thing ever. Sometimes your email is the only one I feel absolute, unadulterated and simple, joy upon opening. Your food is my straight-up happy place!

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  22. Genevieve

    I had such a great time at the potluck picnic, and am so glad that you enjoyed the kimchi quinoa! The purple power salad was delicious- can’t wait to make it and share it with my friends!

  23. Beth Westfall

    Sarah, Im so happy to have found your blog – Im a Danish girl Living in Dallas and missing rugbrød, bicycle trails and hygge more than ever, but your blog makes it possibly to re-create most of it and what I cant re-create I dream about when I read your inspiring posts. Im excited to see how you’re embracing the Danish way, and I so understand how you miss the little stuff you grew up with – I miss Penguin Licorice for crying out loud! :)
    Im lookin forward to each and every post, you’re amazing and I wish you and your family lots of love, happiness and Bamses Billedbog :) in the future. love Beth

  24. Laura

    I just tried this recipe and it was fantastic!
    I am going to make it again and again. I especially loved the dressing and the toasted pumpkin seeds, I think it might go well with some chevre on the side.
    Thank you for sending this delightful recipe into my inbox today.

  25. Eliza Twist

    Delcious and nutritious, thank you! I made this yesterday for a friend, but I didn’t realize that she wasn’t a fig lover (used fresh since thy are currently in season). She declared herself a convert! Score one for mother nature!

  26. Sofia

    So sad that I missed the picnic this year….that salad looks fantastic. I’m usually not too keen on rosewater, but that sounds SO good! Hope to join you next year :)

  27. Ketmala Phoumalavong

    Sarah you are radiant and glowing in that picture!!! Glad you had a succesful picnic. Your salad looks amazing, I have to dig out the rose water from the back of my cabinet to give it a try sooner than later. Thanks!

  28. Julia

    Congrats Sarah on another success!!! It is rare that we Canadians get to sit down with you face to face-what a joy! Can’t wait for next year.

  29. Sasha

    I’m so happy to see that you wrote annual! Does this mean that this picnic is becoming a summer tradition? I do certainly hope so.
    Rose water and purple carrots, the two together almost sound like a poem. Looking forward to trying this!

  30. Miranda

    Could someone please make the recipe before posting a comment? Most of us have eyes and can “see” the recipes. So, this “looks amazing” doesn’t help much.

    • Wendy

      ha ha, I so agree.
      I scroll down all the comments trying to find a review. Instead I read visual insights of people who will most likely never even make it.

  31. Jo

    Really fabulous, Sarah! Don’t know which I like more: the visual gorgeousness of the salad, the creativity of the process, or the gathering outdoors to enjoy it with friends! All beautiful, all savoring life. Thank you!

  32. Ann-Louise

    What a gorgeous salad! Isn’t it amazing just how beautiful food can be?! And you look absolutely stunning. So when are we having a potlock in Copenhagen? Pleeease! ;)

  33. Katie @ Whole Nourishment

    Hi Sarah – I don’t usually comment until I’ve made the recipe, purely so that other readers will know how good it actually is rather than just how good it looks. ;) But I couldn’t wait this time because I’m again overcome by how well you’re able to make simple recipes that appeal to all yet be so creative and original in how you go about it! This is another winning salad recipe, thank you!

  34. Hélène

    Rose-flavored dressing, never thought of that!!! The pigments in beetroots are not anthocyanins, though, these are another kind of pigments called betanins. Love the salad…

  35. Harriet

    I’m so wonderfully jealous of this picnic – it looks like it was absolutely stunning! I’m on a serious red cabbage bent at the moment – so I’m diggin’ this salad as well – the combo of figs and rosewater sounds divine!

  36. Tania Seagrove

    My friend Sara and I were so excited that we got to attend this picnic! Thank you! You were a lovely host! And I am thrilled that you enjoyed my pickles and sauerkraut! Thanks again, Tania

  37. Amy

    Oh my!!! Your picnic looks absolutely splendorous!!! And you look radiantly beautiful, glowing!!! Thankyou so much for everything you share and give. I enjoy visiting you so much here and perhaps next year I’ll make it to your picnic. With all love and big blessings xxxamy

  38. Renee @ Nourish The Roots

    What a wonderful looking salad! I just love how vibrant the purple color is. And the photos from the potluck make me wish there could be one where I live in Seattle. By the way, pregnancy suits you very well…you’re glowing! xoxo Renee

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