Sometimes I just want to throw together a quick dinner. A vegetable salad composed of a roundup of my favorite flavors and textures plus some gentle-to-the-system quinoa always appeals to me.
You can use this as a basic recipe template if you’d like. Choose other favorite vegetables like baby kale, roasted carrots, summer squash, or eggplant. Toss some herbs in the dressing if you have more time.
I love including nutritional powerhouses in my meals throughout the day. Quinoa is technically a seed, related to the swiss chard, spinach, and beet family. With a protein content of 12 to 18 percent, it has more protein compared with rice, millet, or wheat, one cup providing 9 grams. It’s easy to digest being gluten free and is manganese rich which is important for energy production and hormone balance.
Remember, broccoli contains diindolylmethane (DIM for short) which is a powerful functional nutrient found in broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables that has a direct effect on hormonal balance. DIM has estrogen balancing and anti-cancer properties.
Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods. Popeye was right to chow down this powerhouse. Spinach contains its own type of plant based steroids called phytoecdysteroids. Phytoecdysteroids have been shown to dramatically increase glucose metabolism. This keeps blood sugar levels stable and minimizes the need for the critical fat-storage hormone insulin. The chlorophyll in spinach also provides magnesium which acts to strengthen the blood-brain barrier and protect the neurological system from environmental toxins.
Not to mention Turmeric. It contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds and may aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management among a very long list of other health benefits. These plant foods share loads of nutrients with benefits for very few calories!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup green pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped, microwaved 1 minute with 2 tablespoons water, drained
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- Cook quinoa: Place quinoa in a small pot with broth. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.
- For dressing: Place lemon juice, garlic, turmeric, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in oil.
- Assemble salad: Place remaining vegetables in a large bowl. Add warm quinoa. Pour dressing over all ingredients and toss to combine.
- Garnish with pumpkin seeds.
- Serve warm or chilled.