Spicy Superfood Salad

I just learned how to blow-dry my hair. It’s miraculous how non-disheveled I can look by simply incorporating a blow dryer and round brush into my morning routine! With my newfound skills, I’ve managed to transform what previously resembled a brown mop into a shiny, straight, head of hair with a perfect flip at the bottom.

This is all well and good, but there’s just one problem. Tending to my hair adds more time than I’d care  to admit to my morning routine. 7 o’clock has become 6 o’clock and that morning person you all used to know has disappeared somewhere in between.

A good cup of coffee later, and I’m feeling pretty alive and looking just spiffy for my internship. Side note: have I told you yet that I landed the best internship ever? I’m spending the semester at Hill Holliday, lending a hand with the Content team. “Content,” in advertising, is the stuff that you want to watch. So, it’s not the ad you have to sit through before the YouTube video you’re trying to show your friends, it is the video you came to see. Sounds fun, right? It is.

As much fun as I’m having, 6a.m... is way earlier than anyone should ever have to wake up, even in the name of beauty, and that Fair Trade Honduran coffee wears off fast. Hill Holliday is constantly stocked with Dunkin’ coffee, but I’m not one of those people who’d happily be hooked up to an IV drip of caffeine. Doesn’t do it for me.

Around noontime, my eyelids are feeling a little heavy and I need a pick-me-up to get me through the day. Instead of transplanting my workspace to the nearest Dunkin’ coffeepot for fuel, I make this: the Spicy Superfood Salad, packed with all sorts of really delicious foodstuffs that sleepy bodies love…even more than caffeine. It’s worked wonders for me, and it tastes great, too. It’s got the perfect mix of textures and flavors and will keep you going all the way till 5p.m. I swear it.

For the record:

Edamame is one of the best sources of plant protein. It’s stuffed with amino acids and just half of a cup boasts 11 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Arigato!

Quinoa, that trendy stuff everyone’s talking about, is quite the superfood. Just to name a few of its known benefits: it’s low in calories and fat, helps with hypertension, lowers blood glucose levels for diabetics, helps with weight loss by suppressing your appetite, and delays signs of aging. Need I say more?

Avocados, aside from being the best thing on the planet, are one of the best things for you, too. They’re great for weight loss, anti-aging, cancer prevention, for both degenerative eye and brain prevention and California-homesickness…the list goes on.

Garlic is, perhaps, the superest superfood, with anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-you-name-it properties, the only downside is the resulting breath.

Ginger is a close second. It helps with muscle soreness and cures nausea, heartburn, colds, flues, cramps…the list goes on. It’s also an aphrodisiac, so there’s that.

On top of all that goodness, green apples are low in sugar, carrots are pumped with vitamins, and olive and sesame oil can help lower cholesterol.

In short, there’s nothing bad about this salad. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients (serves one):

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ cup red quinoa, cooked and chilled

  • ¾ cup edamame, shelled and steamed

  • 1 large carrot

  • ½ ripe avocado

  • ½ green apple

  • Breath mints (see: 3 cloves garlic)

1. In a small container, combine oils, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and shake to combine. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

2. Using a peeling tool, shave off thin ribbons from the carrot, working around until all that’s left is a small nub.

3. Cube apple and avocado.

4. Combine quinoa, edamame, carrot, apple, and avocado in a bowl. Shake up the contents of the dressing and then drizzle over the salad. Toss using two forks. Serve immediately or save dressing until right before serving.

**see the Instagram'd salad here.