Nourishing the Life Within: Leigh Pennebaker’s Perfect Salad with Avocado and Lemon-Tahini Dressing


In Ancient Map for Modern Birth, Pam England writes of the importance of “Nourishing the Life Within” with tasty, satisfying, and nutritious food. In this series, we tap chefs, nutritionists, postpartum doulas, and other kitchenistas for their favorite ideas for: pregnant and postpartum parents…sleep deprived doulas, midwives, and nurses…and anyone whose inner spirit is in need of the emotional and physical boost that a delicious home-cooked meal provides.* 


This raw, vegan, perfect-for-summer recipe is brought to us by babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting advocate Leigh Pennebaker. She says: “I am on a permanent quest for the perfect salad, and I think I have finally found it with this delicious tahini-dressed, avocado-laden, bright and herb-y deliciousness. It is downright addicting to the point that I eat it almost every day!

“It’s nice and simple, easy-to-digest, high-vibrational and oh-so-craveable.”


The Best Damn Salad

Leigh Pennebaker's salad

yields one salad

The Greens:

1 head of butter lettuce, washed, dried and torn

1 head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped roughly into 1-2 inch pieces

1 medium carrot, shredded

2 radishes, sliced thinly

1 handful of mixed fresh herbs (i.e: basil, mint, dill) torn or chopped

Combine the greens ingredients in a large salad bowl.

The Dressing:

1/4 cup raw tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon Celtic Sea salt

2 tablespoons filtered water

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Combine dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined and creamy. Drizzle dressing over the greens and then toss with wooden salad spoons to thoroughly coat the greens.

The Part That Takes it Over the Top:

2 avocados

Juice of 1 lemon

In a separate bowl, use a fork to roughly mash the avocados with the lemon juice. Once it’s nice and smooth, scoop dollops of the mash on to the top of the salad. Garnish everything with a generous sprinkle of kelp granules, fresh sprouts, and a dusting of sumac.




About Leigh Pennebaker: 

I am an artist, educator, and mother of three with a passion for preparing nourishing, delicious, and beautiful meals from fresh fruits and vegetables — straight out of my raised beds whenever possible! Professionally, I work for The Stuttering Association for the Young as the Director of Art at Camp SAY and I am the Associate Director of the newly-launched SAY: DC. In 2015, my dual interests of art history and breastfeeding advocacy led me to start the @breastfeedingart Instagram feed. My personal Instagram account @marvelouskiddo chronicles our family unschooling adventures and my culinary and artistic experiments.






* Statements in our recipe and nutrition posts may be unevaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your medical caregiver about specific health conditions and concerns.

About the Birthing from Within Team

Birthing From Within is blessed to have a team of bloggers that includes childbirth educators, doulas, and birth story listeners who, in addition to being deep thinkers and skilled writers, are dedicated to the amplification of the BFW mission and philosophy. Birthing From Within is a collective creation, always evolving to reflect the new layers of understanding and unique approaches to the childbirth experience. Our goal is to change the conversation about birth in our culture, and to uphold the possibility of growth and transformation for birth professionals and birthing people.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.