Boost Your Mood with this Blissful Beet Salad
This detoxifying yet delicious dish is the perfect blend of lightness and heartiness to ease your way into the new season smoothly.
A blissful beet salad could be exactly what you need right now. Fall may officially begin at the autumn equinox towards the end of September, but it usually starts to feel like fall as soon as October rolls around. By the time winter comes, we are physically and psychologically ready for colder days, longer nights and fuzzier sweaters. Nonetheless, the onset of fall can be a shock to both the body and mind.
Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda put a greater emphasis on the transitions in between seasons – times to really pay extra attention to what we eat and how we move. In Chinese medicine, the season is associated with the spleen, pancreas and stomach, A.K.A., the digestive organs. It’s also the start of Vata season where the weather–and our bodies–are more dry, rough and erratic. This calls for food that is warm, oily, nourishing and grounding.
Add some color to your plate and your world with this mood-boosting meal that eases digestion and is packed with nourishing ingredients. Ideal at room temperature, this detoxifying yet delicious dish is the perfect blend of lightness and heartiness to ease your way into a new season smoothly.
GOOD MOOD FOODS
Beets contain betaine and tryptophan, both of which boost mood. Ancient Romans even used beets as aphrodisiacs since they increase blood flow and support production of sex hormones – ooh là là! Spinach contains folic acid, known to ease depression and reduce fatigue. Walnuts are the ultimate brain food thanks to high antioxidant content, vitamins, minerals and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are also one of the best food sources of serotonin, the chemical in your brain that creates feelings of calm and happiness.
Quinoa is rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help calm the mind, ease anxiety, boost energy and fight depression. Plus, quercetin, a flavanoid found in quinoa, has been proven to have anti-depressant effects as well. Cashews are rich in zinc, which plays a major role in our brain and body’s response to stress to help alleviate depression. Additionally, B6 also helps to boost serotonin levels.
BLISSFUL BEET SALAD
- 1 cooked beet (Preferably oven-roasted, store-bought fine too)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 2 tbsp cashew cheese or goat cheese*
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp walnut oil
- Salt & pepper
- Optional: 1/4 tsp chopped garlic or a pinch of garlic powder
* For the cashew “cheese,” just blend soaked cashews with a splash of water, lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast – or use preferred vegan cheese.
- First, toast the walnuts in the oven or over the stove for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Then, cut the beet into cubes or slices, whichever you prefer!
- For the dressing, blend the oils, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, dressing, beets and spinach.
- Finally, garnish with the roasted walnuts, parsley and cheese. Serve at room temperature.
This stores easily in the refrigerator to eat on-the-go or keep to have leftovers the next day!
Rebecca Leffler is a Paris-based writer and journalist who, after a career as the French correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and as a film critic on Canal+, traded red carpets for green smoothies. She’s written five books about healthy lifestyle from Paris to NYC and beyond, including Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season, and most recently Le Nouveau Manuel de la Cuisine Végétale. Rebecca has pioneered the “vegolution” in Paris, where she continues to organize events focusing on healthy eating, yoga and la vie en rose… And green! You can keep up with Rebecca on Instagram!