Roughage, as we used to call it, has always been touted for its ability to clear the large intestine. When I was young, roughage meant iceberg lettuce. But a number of salad greens—sorrel, endive, watercress, dandelion, and chicory— provide greater benefits when combined with vegetables such as cucumbers, turnips, and radishes, which have all been mentioned in connection with regularity. Although there are many medicinal herbs that provide laxative action, basil is one of the few culinary herbs that is repeatedly cited.
• 8 to 12 leaves of romaine lettuce (6 cups), torn
• 1/2 cup radicchio or chicory leaves, coarsely torn
• 1/2 cup unsprayed, young dandelion leaves, coarsely torn
• 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
• 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
• 1 medium raw turnip
• 8 medium radishes
• 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
• Fresh ground pepper to taste
1. Wash the greens, including the basil, pat them dry, and place them in a large salad bowl. Add the oil to the greens and toss. Peel the turnip and trim the radishes; cut both into matchstick-size pieces. In a separate small bowl, toss them with the vinegar.
2. Just before serving, drizzle the vinegar from the vegetables over the greens and toss. Arrange the vegetables on top. Sprinkle with pepper.
Debbie Whittaker, a frequent contributor to Herbs for Health, demonstrates her healthy cooking style as the “Herb Gourmet” in Denver.
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