It is summertime! Well, if you’re leaving nearby, you might have noticed that the sun has just left us for a little while; it will hopefully be back at the end of the week…hopefully! Anyway, what I want to share with you all today is supposed to bring a little sunshine in our lives and a whole lot of goodness as well! I created this recipe because I always loved eating while respecting some kind of “colour code” (which certainly comes from my OCD hihi!), because there’s not only the taste of a meal that matters but its beauty and benefits as well, and finally because coming up with a fresh yet simple and quick summer recipe was one of my own challenges (+ because “Green Goddess” has always been a title that I wanted to use!).
What I love about this salad is that there are many different ingredients, but that they all merge into some kind of delicious swirl…which will hopefully leave your tastebuds levitating! The cucumber, sliced apple and mint bring a nice freshness to it, which is perfectly balanced by the hearty but light taste of cooked quinoa. The grilled sunflower seeds add a little spiciness, which truly is unforgettable, while the chickpeas render this meal whole and healthily balanced. It’s been one of this summer’s favourite; a friend of mine, who tends to eat a little less healthy, said that it was just incredible…trust her testimony!
And what’s good for you in this salad? Well, I would say everything, but since we’re talking about real benefits, let me give you the most important ones. First of all, chickpeas are full of iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin K, which all contribute to building and maintaining the strength and structure of one’s bones, as well as a lot of potassium, which helps lowering the blood pressure; this is a great ally for people having some cholesterol, heart issues, or chronic inflammation. Secondly, sunflower seeds contain selenium, which is a great antioxidant, helping to reduce redness and swelling in the body and fantastic for thyroid health; it is also full of magnesium, which is essential for the brain, muscles and immune system’s protection. Finally, arugula (aka. rocket) contains an antioxidant, called alpha-lipoic, which lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity prevent changes provoked by oxidative stress, which makes it great for diabetics; it is also full of vitamin K, which is perfect for osteoporosis prevention!
Before leaving you to today’s recipe, I just wanted to share, as usual, a little personal insight of what my life looks like right now. And I guess I wanted to share a little happiness with you all.
Since starting my summer holidays, I’ve never stopped meeting amazing people. I am living so many incredible moments these days that I can hardly believe those are really happening. It might sound odd, but believe me, I was the most surprised one. Whether it be at my yoga studio, at a friend’s unexpected dinner, at a party, at a jewellery store, it seems that amazing people are surrounding me at that I am only realising it now! When I needed a little cheering up, answers to my fears and questions, or when I was not expecting it at all, that feeling of happiness and fulfilment simply came in, so bizarre and yet incredibly satisfying. I could not truly explain how I feel inside but may give you a little example. I met someone a week ago, as I was just doing my mother a favour, and her words, blessings and support were so genuine and beautiful that it stirred something up inside me; I felt so light and elated when getting back in my car, feelings that I haven’t felt in a very long time. What she said did not seem to be the answers I was looking for at first, but in the end, it did a marvellous job…
I am expressing all of this just to show my gratefulness to all of those people who are behind me, behind my words, my thoughts and are helping building myself, day after day. Thank you everyone, from the bottom of my heart; you’ll hopefully recognize yourself here (and a little thank to you, who’s reading these lines; my words would be meaningless without someone to read them)!
Cucumber, Apple, Sunflower Seeds & Spinach Salad
Portions: Makes four servings. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes. Difficulty: Easy
For the salad:
- 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped in small squares
- 1 green apple, cored and sliced (ex. Granny Smith)
- 5 stalks of kale, stems removed and finely chopped or 3 handfuls of baby spinach
- 3 handfuls of arugula
- 2 sprigs of mint, stems removed and leaves finely chopped (about 15 leaves)
- 3 tbsp of sunflower seeds + a pinch of chilli powder, curry, paprkia and cayenne pepper
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 250g of cooked red quinoa
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
For the dressing:
- 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 6 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of maple syrup
- 1 tbsp of almond butter (optional)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
(1) Preheat your oven a 150°C. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sunflower seeds, half a tablespoon of water and the spices. Mix to coat properly and spread on a baking sheet. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes or until a delicious smell comes out of it. Let to cool off.
(2) Start by mixing the arugula and the kale leaves in a large mixing bowl. Then add the slices of green apple, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mint, green onion and cooked quinoa.
(3) For the dressing: stir the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar together, before adding the maple syrup and some salt and pepper to taste. If you’d like to add some almond butter, stir it in in the end. Add the dressing to the salad, as well as the roasted sunflower seeds, mix and serves on a hot summer evening. Enjoy!