Think salads are boring and tasteless? A pile of limpy lettuce dotted with sad tomato slices it a total drag, but this gluten-free and dairy-free salad is loaded with flavour and nutrition. Sweet, spicy, savory and just the right amount of tart and tangy.
These ingredients really pack a punch:
Quinoa: This gluten-free grain is a complete protein and a good source of fibere, both of which contribute to maintaining balanced blood sugar.
Kale: A leafy green superstar that’s high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients.
Avocado: An excellent source of healthy fats, including oleic acid. Oleic acid is rich in antioxidants that help remove toxins from the body, boost memory and immune function, and increases cardiovascular health.
Cranberries: Excellent for treating and preventing urinary tract infections. Cranberries are also high in antioxidants and aid in reducing inflammation in the stomach and large intestine.
Apples: These slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, allowing our blood sugar to stay more evenly balanced. Because of the pectin contained in the apples, they offer excellent cardiovascular benefits. The pectin, a source of water soluble fibre, decreases the overall levels of cholesterol.
Almonds: Almonds maintain blood sugar balance and improve cardiovascular health because they are high in healthy fats.
Herbs and Spices: The herbs and spices used to create the dressing for this salad contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties.
This salad doesn’t sound boring, does it? Nope, I think not.
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
- ¾ cup water
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large bunch curly kale
- 1 avocado, peeled and cubed
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
- ¼ cup goat cheese, optional
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 1 chicken breast, optional
- ¼-½ cup Balsamic Cilantro Vinaigrette
- Juice of 2 lemons
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- ¼ tsp dried basil
- ¼ tsp dried marjoram
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp dried parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- ¼ bunch cilantro
- Prepare the quinoa by placing water and quinoa in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat, keep covered for 5-10 minutes more, fluff with a fork.
- While quinoa is cooking prepare the chicken and Cilantro Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- If adding chicken, place in a ziplock bag. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten the chicken with the smooth end of the tenderizer, or use a rolling pin. Heat a frying pan on medium heat. Add in the coconut oil and coat the pan. Add the chicken to the pan and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium low, cook for 10 minutes and then turn over. Keep frying until chicken is cooked through. Slice for salad.
- In a blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients and blend until creamy.
- Wash and chop kale (cutting out thick center stem) and place in a large serving bowl. Add in the avocado, cranberries, crumble in the goat cheese, add the apples, almonds and chicken and toss together.
- Add in ¼-½ cup of the dressing and toss again.