“This is so delicious (mumble with a full mouth), do you have the recipe?”
“I am sure to find this on your website, right?”
Judging from the number of times I heard these and similar questions last night at the annual Networking Party at Valley Integrative Pharmacy I gather people enjoyed it!
That gives me immense pleasure, as I love to experiment in the kitchen by combining different ingredients and infusing them with different flavors garnered from different herbs, spices and condiments.
This is pure therapy for me (OK, I’ll admit it, the cleaning up part afterwards can kinda take care of itself…).
And then sharing my creations with an appreciative audience is even more fun.
Great quality and yummy food creates an instant bond between people, it connects us on a level that is as basic as sheer survival right up to gourmet pleasures, it gives us endless topics to talk about and makes everyone involved vibrate a little higher.
But the best part for me is not just taste and appearance-related, it is knowing that what you have just slipped off your fork into your slightly salivating mouth is really and truly nourishing you!
Not just food for the soul, but food for every single cell in your body, every gene in every cell.
Becoming the deciding factor of whether this will turn on a health-enhancing and immune system boosting gene, or turning off a chronic disease fueling gene.
That is the beauty of nutrigenomics – the study of which nutrients fire up your health or power down your defenses.
That is what really gets me revved up, and why I love working with real food!
Take the Quinoa Salad I will share with you here.
- The quinoa is gluten free and a complete protein, meaning it gives you all the essential amino acids in 1 shot, which is what you get from animal protein, but not from plant protein. The whole grain quinoa is the exception.
- To make it a wholesome meal-in-one, I have added more protein in the form of the tiny french lentils, as well as sunflower and sesame seeds (which are also chock full of essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins, particularly the whole B range.
- The assorted rainbow collection of fresh veggies gives you an antioxidant and phytonutrient boost as well as being immensely pleasing to the eye.
- The spices contain potent cancer-fighters among them that have been shown in numerous studies to influence the formation, progression and spreading of cancer cells.
- That not enough, the dandelion greens and cayenne pepper are great liver detox helpers.
- The apple cider vinegar and lemon juice are both alkalizing (cancer cells love it acidic) and the olive oil provides a good dose of health fat.
All that in a simple quinoa salad!
So here goes, hope you enjoy, and think of all the cells in your body doing a happy dance as they get flooded with these life-enhancing nutrients.
Kirstin’s Signature Quinoa Salad (well, one of them…)
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked (red or white)
- 3/4 cup french puy lentils, cooked
- 1 medium butternut squash infused with chipotle spice, cubed
- 1/4 medium red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
- 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced or shredded
- 2 cups firmly packed dandelion greens, chopped fine
- 3 medium carrots, grated
- 4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/2 cup goji berries, soaked in water for 1 hour
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (sub for any herb in season)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (sub for any herb in season)
I prefer my quinoa salads moist. Most restaurants serve them way too dry for my liking. This is very subjective and personal, adjust the quantities to your individual taste
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (maybe more)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- a dash of toasted sesame oil for flavor
- 1/2 tablespoons tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
- juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon plus grated rind (organic!)
- 1-1.5 teaspoons celtic sea salt (or to taste)
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon (for roasting squash) and a dash (for vinaigrette) of chipotle blend spice (Simply Organic brand is my favorite)
- Cook quinoa in 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of grain. You want the grain to spiral open a little, not too much or else it gets too mushy, you still want the grain to have a little bite. Add a small thumb-size piece of Kombu / Kelp for added minerals, but remove after cooking. Allow to cool, fluff with fork, no water should be left in pot.
- Coat butternut squash in a some olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of Chipotle spice, and roast in an oven heated to 350 F for about 30-40 minutes.
- Toast seeds separately in a dry stainless steel skillet until they pop, about 4-5 minutes, shaking pan to prevent burning.
- Chop all ingredients
- Prepare vinaigrette and stir vigorously
- Combine and let infuse for at least 1 hour before serving
- Stores well in fridge for up to 4 days in winter