“Superfood” is a bit of a buzz word these days, with media, bloggers, and Instagram influencers alike talking about these extra nutritious and supposedly life-changing ingredients. Mainly, superfoods refer to those foods high in antioxidants that play an important role in fighting off free radicals, which may be contributors to cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and other chronic illnesses. All of this talk makes super foods sound like they are the answer to a healthy existence. While these foods are certainly good for you, it’s important to remember there is never an easy fix to good physical health, and that these ingredients should go hand-in-hand with other nutritious, wholesome foods (as well as exercise) to ensure you are getting a well-rounded and balanced diet.
That being said, there is something we can take away from this health food craze. If the current trend starts a conversation with your friends, family, or even yourself about what it means to eat healthy and what type of food you should be putting into your body, then that is a big step in the right direction. With that in mind, we think it’s entirely appropriate to use the term “superfood” with regards to a recipe like this one, which is packed full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, good fats, and whole grains!
Here is a quick round up of some of the nutritional benefits found in this super spinach salad:
- Spinach – Leafy greens, like spinach, are powerhouses when it comes to health. A good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, iron, folate, manganese, calcium, and fiber—it’s no wonder Popeye loves the stuff!
- Blueberries – Blueberries are low in fat and calories and are rich in polyphenols, which give blueberries not just their blue hue, but also antioxidant properties. They are also high in Vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. When in doubt, sprinkle these beauties on a salad to up the healthy factor.
- Freekeh – This ancient grain is becoming increasingly popular amongst health-conscious eaters, not only because it is high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals with a low glycemic index, but its chewy, nutty flavor is an easy way to make meals tastier. Keep in mind that freekeh is made from wheat, so it is not gluten-free; to make this salad gluten-free, try swapping it for quinoa, rice, or teff.
- Avocado – From smoothies and toast to ice cream and yogurt, nutrient-dense avocados are finding their way into all sorts of recipes. Never overlook the option to enjoy fiber-filled avocados in their simplest form—sliced and tossed into a salad! This adds creaminess (without the lactose) and a load of health benefits to your meal.
- Sunflower Seeds – A sprinkling of sunflower seeds is a super simple way to add crunchy texture and a nutritional boost to just about any meal, be it granola, salad, or baked goods. These nutritious seeds are a good source of fiber, folate, zinc, and Vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties.
- Red Onion – For a beautiful burst of color and a sharp punch to balance out sweet and savory flavors, a thinly-sliced red onion is always a great go-to. The common onion often gets overlooked as a healthy ingredient, when in fact it is loaded with Vitamin C and fiber, has very few calories, and is free of fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
4 cups (126g) baby spinach
1/3 cup (43g) blueberries
1/2 avocado, sliced or cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon (~14g) unsalted, hulled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (~100g) cooked freekeh
1/3 cup (~80ml) olive oil
2 tablespoons (~30ml) apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons (~30ml) lemon juice
1 teaspoon (~5ml) maple syrup
1 teaspoon (~5ml) Dijon mustard
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, and mustard together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss spinach, blueberries, avocado, onion, sunflower seeds, and freekeh with dressing. Serve immediately.