Recipe and photos courtesy of: Two Peas and Their Pod
We aren’t sure if we’ve ever seen a more beautiful salad! This recipe is full of color, texture, and flavor, three of our favorite things when it comes to food! Jam packed with tons of super healthy ingredients, this salad is easy to make and sure to give you an extra kick of energy and cancer-fighting power.
Because there are so many amazing ingredients in this salad, we wanted to give you a quick rundown on just why they are so beneficial:
- SPINACH: This healthy green is full of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Spinach has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.
- SWEET POTATO: These guys are are high in vitamins such as B6, C, and D. In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of iron, potassium, and magnesium. Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer
- QUINOA: Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. It also contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Quinoa contains Iron and lysine, essential for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa has a high content of the antioxidant, manganese which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.
- CHICKPEAS: Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Combined with a whole grain such as whole-wheat protein, they provide amount of protein comparable to that of meat or dairy foods without the high calories or saturated fats. More so, chickpeas contain phytochemicals called saponins, which can act as antioxidants, lowering the risk of breast cancer.
- ALMONDS: Almonds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, and are associated with a number of health benefits. Just a handful of almonds, approximately one ounce, contains one-eighth of our necessary daily protein. Potential health benefits associated with consuming almonds include lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.
- CABBAGE: Cabbage, which is often lumped into the same category as lettuce because of their similar appearance, is actually a part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale and broccoli are notorious for being chock-full of beneficial nutrients. Cabbage contains the antioxidants choline, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin as well as another cancer-fighting compound, sulforaphane. Research over the past 30 years has consistently shown that consuming cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of cancer.
- AVOCADO: Avocados may be fatty, but that doesn’t mean that they are bad for your health. In fact, this fruit is a nutritional powerhouse providing numerous potential health benefits. Apart from being an excellent source of fiber and vitamins, research suggests that there may be a number of other benefits associated with the fruit, including: lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of diabetes, promoting lower body weight, and preventing cancer.
- CHIA: Smaller than—and often compared to—the flax seed, chia is filled with two times more protein than most grains and five times more calcium than milk. Plus, it has of high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, soluble fiber, potassium and antioxidants.
There are so many reasons why we want to eat this salad every single day! We cannot wait to whip up a big batch of this tonight!
Ingredients For the Salad:
- 4 cups packed spinach
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled, chopped, and roasted
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 large Gala or Fuji apple, diced
- 1 cup chopped red cabbage
- 1 large avocado, sliced
Ingredients For the Lemon Chia Seed Dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar (use agave for vegan)
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, combine spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa, chickpeas, almonds, apples, red cabbage, and avocado.
- For the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey or agave, and chia seeds in a small bowl or jar. Whisk until well combined. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Drizzle the dressing on the salad and toss well to coat. Serve!
Note: To roast the sweet potatoes, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chopped sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet, drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I like to make the sweet potatoes and quinoa ahead of time so the salad is easy to put together during the week. This salad is very adaptable! Feel free to add your favorite veggies and fruits to the mix!