Haloumi + Quinoa Salad

quinoa salad vegetarian haloumi healthy destress lifestyle wellness food light summer asmy yoga

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



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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