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nutritious salads

Many diet programs boast quick-fix detoxes. Juice cleanses and “skinny tea” laxatives promise rapid weight loss and vibrant energy — but they can leave you feeling anything but energized. The truth is that detoxifying your body does not have to mean following unsustainable crash diets and buying unnecessary supplements.

Our bodies are programmed to eliminate toxins through complex metabolic pathways. So the question, really, is: How do we optimize our body’s everyday functions?

Research shows that a whole-foods diet free of processed fare may be your best bet for a successful cleanse. Opt for a plan with a variety of vegetables and fruits — especially digestion-boosting, anti-inflammatory foods, including cruciferous vegetables, berries, turmeric, garlic, and onions, which will aid the vital detoxification systems in your liver.

These nutrient-rich recipes — which support your liver and satisfy your taste buds — will get you started.


Arugula Salad With Chive Vinaigrette

The cruciferous veggies in this salad — arugula and cabbage — contain glucosinolates, which feature sulfur that  supports liver function. The antioxidants in the blueberries and flaxseed oil can help reduce oxidative stress.

Arugula salad with chive vinaigrette

Makes three servings
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus eight hours to soak the chickpeas
Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. baby arugula (about 8 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin-seeds


  • 1 tbs. minced fresh chives
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbs. flaxseed oil
  • 1 tsp. apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest


  1. Pour the chickpeas into a bowl and add enough water to cover them by about 1 inch. Soak overnight. (You can also opt for canned chickpeas — just be sure to watch them closely as they roast to prevent burning.)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain chickpeas and pat dry. Add chickpeas to a medium bowl and toss with sea salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 60 minutes until browned and crisp, turning every 20 minutes.
  3. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients until combined.
  4. Place arugula in a large bowl. Add cooked chickpeas and remaining salad ingredients, drizzle with dressing, toss until coated, and serve.

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Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Leeks, garlic, and other alliums contain prebiotics, an indigestible fiber that provides critical support for your gut microbiome and digestive health.

Creamy cauliflower soup on a table

Makes four servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts), rinsed and chopped thoroughly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 14-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, then place in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread cauliflower on a baking sheet
    and roast for 15 minutes.
  2. Place a stock pot over medium heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add leeks. Cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional one to two minutes.
  3. Add roasted cauliflower, water, coco­nut milk, and spices to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and allow soup to simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 35 minutes.
  4. Allow soup to cool slightly, then add to a blender and blend until smooth, venting the lid slightly to let steam escape. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to blend directly in the pot. Serve.|

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Artichokes With Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Artichokes are rich in antioxidants and also have choleretic effects, meaning they help stimulate bile production and aid digestion.

Artichokes with tahini yogurt dipping sauce

Makes four servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes


  • 4 whole artichokes
  • 1/2 lemon, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Tahini Yogurt Sauce

  • 2 tbs. tahini
  • 1 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a 3-quart saucepan of water to a boil. Add prepped artichokes (as directed below), garlic cloves, salt, and the juice from one lemon quarter. Boil artichokes until the stem is tender enough to pierce easily with a knife or until you can easily remove a leaf from the stem, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the tahini-yogurt-sauce ingredients until combined.
  3. When the artichokes are done, remove from the boiling water and place upside down on a towel to drain.
  4. To eat, use your fingers to remove the artichoke leaves, dip them in the sauce, and scrape the inner meat off the bottom of the leaves with your teeth. When the leaves are gone, trim off the thistle-like choke until just the heart is left; slice, dip in the sauce, and enjoy.

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Cucumber-Pineapple Smoothie

Cucumber and pineapple are naturally hydrating foods, so they can help your liver and kidneys clear toxins from your body. Pineapple is also the only major dietary source of the enzyme bromelain, which helps your body digest protein.

Pineapple smoothie with cucumber

Makes one serving
Prep time: five minutes


  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds


  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Serve.|

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Honey-Fermented Garlic

This pungent treat is full of liver-supporting alliums and bacteria to aid your gut microbiome. Spoon the honey and garlic over roasted vegetables, add it to salad dressings, or stir it into blended soups or grain salads.

Marinated garlic with honey

Makes 16 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Fermentation time: three days


  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 cups raw honey


  1. Wash a canning jar and lid in hot soapy water and let air dry.
  2. Prep garlic by smashing and peeling each clove. Place smashed garlic cloves in the canning jar, then add raw honey until all the garlic is submerged.
  3. Seal the jar and set aside at room temperature for three days before use.
  4. Once the garlic is fermented, release the gases every few days by unscrewing the lid and stirring the contents. Store at room temperature.

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This originally appeared as “Detoxifying Dishes” in the April 2020 print issue of Experience Life.

Photography by: Andrea D’Agosto; Prop Styling: Alicia Buszczak; Food Stylist: Paul Jackman; Illustrations by: Colin Hayes
Maddie Augustin

Maddie Augustin is a Minneapolis-based recipe developer.

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