Go-To Weekday Superfood Salad
On Jan 1, I decided to take my seriousness about getting healthy to the next level. I feel like most of the people I am with majority of my time are vegetarians, and I had started to realize it actually wasn't as hard as I'd thought. But, I could never give up sushi so I decided to start slow by trying out being a pescatarian. My main concern had always been what is in the meat we were eating (hormones, antibiotics, etc.) and then whatever the hell they decided to add to it while it's being processed. And the fact that I had to force myself not to think about what I was eating (animals that I LOVED and would never want to hurt)... it just seemed wrong. Wrong that I cared so much about something one second, but was willing to cook it up the next.
So, as of today, i've officially been meat free for 30 days with fish thrown in here and there. I don't feel a huge difference physically (I guess I had very high expectations!), but mentally I 100% have seen a shift. Not only do I feel better about what I'm eating, I put a lot more thought into my meals every day (ie. am making better choices) and I'm less stressed in the morning since I HAVE to be prepared with my lunches and snacks for the day. I don't feel "stuffed" ever, I definitely don't feel as sluggish anymore (especially after lunch), and it's even inspired other tiny changes (less wine... trying to be more consistent with working out...). So looking at all of that together, I'd say it's been a really positive change for me. I honestly don't see myself ever going back.
I'd say 80% of the time, I stick to vegetarian meals. It's easier and I get more creative, so my meals end up more flavorful. That has been the biggest thing I've noticed... I used to depend on meat to add flavor to a meal. Like, I would just have chicken and quinoa. Boring. Now, I'm am experimenting more with fresh herbs, new veggies and making my own dressings. It's a little more work upfront, but if you are consistent about meal prepping, it actually makes your week so much easier! I prep all of my salads, smoothies and fruit monday and am set for the week. This salad was inspired by one that I ordered from a restaurant 4 TIMES last week. I didn't order the 5th day because I was embarrassed they'd think I was nuts. This weekend, I decided to recreate it because I would be completely broke in a month if I kept ordering the words most expensive salad... AND getting it delivered to our office. So I thought I would share as it's made my days flow better to put in a little more work upfront! Maybe it'll inspire a few of you guys to do the same.
About these ingredients:
Quinoa: High in fiber, a great source of protein (something you have to think more about when you aren't eating meat!) + is high in iron and magnesium.
Greens (kale, arugula, spinach): Full of vitamins and antioxidants
Parsley: Full of vitamin K, detoxifying and a great digestive aid
Scallions: High in antioxidants and help lower blood pressure
Avocados: Get your dose of healthy fats that keep you full while also giving your hair, skin a nails a boost
Pistachios: Add crunch that is high in fiber, potassium, protein and that is naturally cholesterol free
- black beans
- mixed greens or your fave
- 1 avocado
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Start by making your quinoa. I usually make 1 cup (dry) to last for lunch throughout the week. Follow directions on the package, or just mix one cup quinoa with two cups water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and let it cook for 15 minutes or until the water has been soaked up.
- Make your beans. I drain and rinse one can and add to a pot, add a tiny bit of water back, and mix in some of my favorite seasoning (usually cumin and garlic). Cook for around 10 minutes or until they thicken.
- While the quinoa and beans cook. Whip up your creamy avocado dressing. Add all of the ingredients above into a blender and add 1 tbsp of water at a time until it gets to your desired consistency.
- Rinse and chop all other ingredients and add to a bowl. I didn't put measurements as I feel like everyone likes different amounts in salads. And you can never have too many vegetables, right? So fill your bowl with your desired amount. Once your quinoa and beans have finished cooking, add around 1/4-1/2 cup of each (or really... as much as you'd like;)
I typically get 3-4 salads when purchasing one of each of the ingredients from above. For example... one can of beans, one cucumber, one package of tomatoes, etc. Salad dressing will make about the same. I pack them all up in airtight containers (if you keep the dressing thick, you can even include it in your container without getting the greens soggy) and am all set to get out the door for work at a decent hour.