It’s spring! And that means the soil is rich and fresh produce is abundant and flowers are blooming all over the place. There is no better time of year to get inspired by the thought of eating a healthy, nutrient-rich, protein-packed salad. Hang on… did we say protein-packed salad? Yep. Nowadays the idea of a salad made with a bed of pale iceberg lettuce and a few pieces of chopped up half-green tomato and too-cold cucumber is so passé.
Salads are the new steak! You can start building your salad on a bed of uber-healthy grain like quinoa—an ancient seed (yup, it’s considered a seed not a grain) that originated in the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. If you’ve ever heard anyone glorify quinoa as a “complete protein” what this really means is that it’s loaded with all 9 essential amino acids that are so good for your health you could eat quinoa for breakfast, lunch and dinner and be oozing health. To give you an idea: 1 cup of quinoa has eight grams of protein. WOW. Who needs chicken breasts anyway?
Add to that bed of quinoa, a cup or 2 of roasted, steamed or boiled bright orange butternut squash (with the skin,) which is packed with Vitamins A & C, fiber and folate and you’ll be rocking it. Winter squash grows in… winter so it’s the perfect spring veggie to piggy-back on for spring. Plus, it’s starchy, which makes it filling to your tummy. Add to that fresh goat cheese, which has 6 grams of protein per ounce and is way less allergy prone than cow’s milk cheese and you’ll be baaa-ing your way through the day.
This salad wouldn’t be called protein-packed if it weren’t for the final punch which is pumpkin seeds (raw and unsalted are best). These superpower seeds have about 6 grams of protein in a handful! Wow. Last but not least take a bunch of fresh, green vitamin-boosted herbs like cilantro or parsley (by ‘bunch’ we mean a big handful) and chop it up quick-quick and toss it all over your salad. Pour over a big glug of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and a giant squeeze of a lemon (the whole thing), a pinch of salt and pepper and voila!
What you’ll need to make The Best Protein Packed Spring Squash Salad Ever:
Prep time: 20 minutes
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa (to cook add ½ cup quinoa to 1 cup water, bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes)
- ¼ butternut squash (to cook chop into bite-size pieces and boil or steam for 10 minutes)
- Handful of crumbled goat cheese
- Handful of raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
- Handful of fresh organic herb like cilantro or parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Big glug of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 clove garlic or 1 red árbol chili (optional if you like spicy)
Toss it all together and eat it warm or cold the next day! And throw in some purple and pink edible flowers because it wouldn’t be spring without them!
Try this recipe at home and leave a comment below to let us know how it tasted. Yum!