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The January Salad Parade


Welcome to yet another salad recipe to kickstart the New Year. But unlike many other places you'll find yourself on the internet this month, this one isn't going to get you shredded in 10

days. And truth be told, there is no salad on planet earth that will get you shredded in days. Weight is a topic that comes in hot during the new year, isn't it? You just can't escape it. The inevitability of it all is all so tedious because it's the same every year. You fill your cupboards with fantastic festive food, you spend the duration of December indulging in nostalgic, delicious and happy food. Let's be honest, Christmas food makes your soul feel good. And no matter what, I would struggle to believe we would ever say no to that extra helping of pigs in blankets.


But of course, the pounds pile on and our minds naturally turn to weight loss during the time of a fresh new year. You know what they say "new year, new me". But I can't help but see a very negative energy around it all, and I feel that it has become an almost societal expectation or an obligation. "Losing weight" doesn't require you to change who you are, it only requires good choices. Mindful choices. The key to working towards being confident within yourself isn't changing who you are, but making changes to your choices that ultimately define who you become. This is a conversation that could very easily lean off into a million different tangents but I'm going to reign it in and talk about whole foods and intuition.

You might look at that "shredder salad" and think yes that is what I need to be able to actually sit down in my jeans. But I can almost guarantee you that there is little to no nutritional value in there. A lot of weight loss recipes "cut out the carbs" or "lay low on the fats" but ironically this is almost the opposite to what your body needs. When it comes to shifting the pounds we automatically assume we need to cut things out of our diet when really what we need to do is control and moderate. What I mean by this is that you simply just need to eat in moderation. It's that annoying answer that we think is too simple to be true but that's what it is. There is no shortcut. Just think about the sheer complexities of our bodies and the incredible things they achieve for you to function. Just imagine you are fuelling that. By mindfully eating nutritionally dense foods you are feeding your body with what it needs to thrive and you will soon find that you will thrive along with it. Call me crazy, but I try to see my body as a separate being, almost. What do I need to do to take care of it? Is it struggling? Is it thriving? It is way too easy to get caught up in your head with the millions of things you want to do that you most often end up neglecting your body of what it is actually asking for!



When you think about the nutrients and the science behind what you need, it does become rather overwhelming. But let's start with the basics:

  1. Try to eat whole foods - where possible opt to eat something that doesn't have a list of ingredients the length of your arm... best to steer away from those over processed foods.

  2. Don't cut out nutrients! Your body desperately needs fats for hormone production, absorption of essential vitamins, your brain uses carbohydrates as a primary fuel to function which explains why we feel so tired and run down when we cut "carbs" out!

  3. Balance is key. Make sure you think about your food groups - don't pile carbs on carbs. That isn't moderation. Always try to have these four elements: carbohydrates, fats, protein and something green.

A salad doesn't mean compromising on taste or satisfaction. Not in the slightest! Make a salad that, when you finish it, you sit back with a full tum. Then you know you've done something right.


With all of this in mind, I made a salad, complete with an indulgent and (insanely) tasty dressing. This salad is well balanced, absolutely delicious and easy to make. This is a salad done the right way!



INGREDIENTS FOR DRESSING

- 1/4 cup olive oil

- 1 tbsp tahini

- 1/4 tsp wholegrain mustard

- 1 tsp dijon mustard

- 1 tsp Worcester sauce

- juice of 1 lemon

- 2-3 tsp honey

- 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan

- 1 grated garlic clove

** to make this vegan you can take out the Worcester sauce and the parmesan. You could use a vegan cheese alternative or use 2-3 tsp of Engevita flakes. If you don't want to use honey, agave nectar or maple syrup can be used instead.


METHOD

Place all of the ingredients into a blender/ food processor. Whiz until smooth and creamy. Taste- test it to make sure it is right for you. If it's not sweet enough/too sharp/ too bitter, add a little more honey (or alternative). If it's too sweet, add a little more mustard or lemon juice. Thats it. Done.



INGREDIENTS FOR SALAD

- drained can of chickpeas

- 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, agave nectar for vegan)

- 2 tsp paprika

- 1 tsp cumin

- 3 tsp coconut oil (1tsp for chickpeas, 2 tsp for sweet potatoes)

- 2 small sweet potatoes

- half a bag of cavalo nero, stemmed

- half a bag of kale

- half an avocado

You could by all means add tomatoes, roast them if you like! Olives, artichokes, peppers, spinach, spring onions, red onions, roasted shallots. A salad is endless really but above is the recipe that made a lunch that left me feeling full for the rest of the day!



METHOD

Preheat your oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Simply cut your sweet potatoes into disks. Don't bother peeling them, we like the skin for texture and that caramelly flavour. Get them on a pan with 2 tsp coconut oil and a crack of salt and put them into the hot oven. Roast for 20-25 mins until fragrant, soft and golden.

During this time, get your drained chickpeas on another smaller tray and add 1 tsp coconut oil, your honey, paprika and cumin. Toss it and move it about the tray to evenly distribute. Place in the oven for 15 mins. Every 5 mins or so, just give your chickpea tray a little shake and ensure your chickpeas are evenly caramelising and not burning.


Drizzle your dressing over the washed and prepared greens in a large bowl. Don't drown it in dressing though... Something Ive gotten into the habit of doing is "massaging my greens". It may sound strange but it is such a game changer. It reduces bloating and gassiness so much simply because you are breaking it down before it even reaches your digestive system, making it easier for you to digest! You will see the greens almost look "cooked" as the leaves soften their structure. Add in your chickpeas and sweet potatoes with sliced avocado and YOU ARE WELCOME.


Salad should not be boring. Salad should be about adding fibre, fats, carbohydrates that your body asks you for! Tell me, what are your go-to salads! There's so many delicious options...


Thank you for reading,


Gina ~ The Noo Noo Project




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