Finding Kindness in a Simple Salad


It's easy to forget to be kind to ourselves on an average day.  How many of us get sucked into the incredible whirlwind of life and all it throws at us---job demands, family stress, relationship ups and downs, self-criticism, daily schedules jam-packed down to the minute?  We're guessing some or all of this sounds familiar.  Who doesn't want to do it all and then some?  Sure, often times we pull it off, but at some point, hitting that wall of complete emotional and physical exhaustion is inevitable.

And that's when it's nice to remember that kindness can come in very small packages. It can refresh, relax, and recharge us in a matter of seconds. Fill yourself with negative or stressful thoughts (or from this column's angle, non-nourishing, energy-zapping food), and you won't get very much kindness in return.  From our respective corners, Jen and I are both coming off of a few draining weeks---draining for various reasons, but we tend to be on the same wavelength about 99% of the time.  So I went about the task of coming up for air and creating kindness, energy, and nourishment for the both of us through a simple salad so delish it might just become one of your summer staples. Jen then tag-teamed by shooting and styling the lovely photos you see here.

You can't really  go wrong with quinoa.  Gluten-free, nutty, and nutritionally-dense with protein and antioxidants, it's an edible force to reckoned with and makes a rock-solid, satisfying lunch or side dish at dinner.  To boot, this recipe takes about 20 minutes or less to crank out---so you can return to your hectic daily routine, but with a bit more "kindness" in tow this go-round.

Quinoa Salad with Spring Peas, Fava Beans, Mixed Herbs and Feta Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

1 cup quinoa 2 cups water 1/2 cup fava beans 1/2 cup spring peas 2 to 3 cups arugula 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped 1/3 cup mint, chopped 1/3 to 1/2 cup scallions, chopped 1/2 to 1 small hot red chili, thinly sliced (if desired) 3 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled 2 tablespoons olive oil (add a little extra if needed) juice of 1 lemon 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Bring quinoa and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 12 minutes.  If there‚Äôs a little liquid remaining, strain quinoa and place in a mixing bowl. Remove fava beans from pods and blanch for 4 to 5 minutes.  Plunge into ice bath, cool and remove skins. Blanch peas for 6 to 7 minutes until tender.  Plunge into ice bath. Add fava beans, peas, and remaining ingredients arugula through feta cheese.  Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Toss lightly to coat.