Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to bust out the salads! As our focus this month is on relaxation, I have chosen some foods with ingredients that are known to encourage our relaxation response.
Haloumi contains tryptophan which helps us to produce serotonin which is a nerve relaxant.
Avocado contains potassium which is a powerful stress buster helping to reduce the effects of adrenaline and cortisol.
Asparagus is rich in B vitamins which are essential for calming the nervous system.
Spinach is rich in magnesium, vitamin C and folate – all of which are great relaxants.
Quinoa also has abundant supplies of magnesium, and important trace elements that are known to be anti-depressants. (Note: it’s important to rinse the quinoa well before cooking to remove the bitter taste)
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 125 g haloumi cut into 8 thin slices
- 1 cup asparagus spears in bite size pieces
- 2 cups shredded spinach
- 1/2 ripe avocado diced
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh herbs: chives, parsley, dill
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a small pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Rinse the quinoa well and add. Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes or until the water is almost absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
- While quinoa is cooking, place the dressing ingredients in a blender and run for about 30 seconds, until the dressing begins to smooth. Pour into a container and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve salad.
- In a skillet or grill pan over medium-low heat, fry the haloumi in the olive oil until browning and crisp (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Cut haloumi into small pieces.
- Assemble the salad. Combine shredded spinach, onion, haloumi, avocado, and cooked quinoa. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined. Add more dressing as desired.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training