It’s salad season, friends!
I love me a reason to eat a fresh, crisp salad – and warm weather is that reason. As we transition our wardrobe from boots to bare midriffs, our meals are making a transition of their own. Eating for the weather is a real thing, and as much as stews and soups make us feel all the feels when it’s cold out, the last thing we’re craving on a hot, summer day is a warm meal. Salads are the best way to reach our 5-a-day goal for vegetables, and if done right, they can be an excellent, well-balanced meal. I always challenge m patients to do a mental checklist when preparing a meal. The meal has to check off three criteria: a filling protein (i.e. lean meat, fish, cheese, yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds), a high-fibre carbohydrate source (i.e. whole grains, legumes, sweet potato, fruit, or starchy vegetables), and a healthy fat (olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds). Actually, just kidding, I lied – four criteria – it also has to have at least one serving of vegetables.
This recipe checks off all the boxes and then some. It is full of bright, beautiful colors, which to a dietitian means, antioxidants. Antioxidants are free-radical fighters that help to reduce inflammation, fight against infection and disease, improve brain health, aid in liver detoxification, and much much more. If you can count at least three colors on your plate that come from real, natural foods, you have made a pretty fantastic meal. Add this salad to your weekly routine, and it is guaranteed to be a family favorite.
2 Beets (with skin, washed)
1.5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 tsp Honey
2 cups Arugula
1/2 Apple (sliced thin)
1/4 cup Goat or Feta Cheese (crumbled)
2 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, wrap the beets in foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Once cooled, cut them into small wedges.
While the beets are roasting, make the dressing! Simply combine olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Add arugula to a salad bowl and mix in apple, cheese, pumpkin seeds, and roasted beets. Drizzle with dressing and dig in!
(Makes 2 Servings)
That’s it, that’s all! I dare you to whip this up and NOT feel healthy. For a vegan alternative, swap out the cheese for a serving of hemp seeds, walnuts, or a serving of protein-packed quinoa. Allergic to nuts? No problem – double up on the pumpkin seeds for added protein and healthy fat. Need more protein? Include a serving of chicken breast.
Image Credit: That Clean Life