Thursday, 9 February 2012
Cabbage, Pasta & 'Feta Cheese' Salad with Balsamic Mustard Dressing
Salads are super convenient and so fresh and tasty! However, I never recommend my patients to eat too many salads because they are very cold and can weaken your Stomach and Spleen Qi. Because salads are so cold and raw, the body uses up extra warmth and energy digesting them. In people with already weak Qi (due to poor sleep, prolonged or frequent illness or several other lifestyle factors), cold and raw foods can really exacerbate your weak Qi and make it difficult for your body to function properly. If you want more info on this you can read this previous post on salads. Despite this - I am a lover of salads and I never advocate cutting them out of your diet completely, in fact everything in moderation is the way I roll. So, there are three steps I usually take to mitigate some of the effects of salads:
1) Don't eat too many salads. Try not to eat salad every day (unless it is an accompaniment to a cooked meal). If you have salad for lunch then DON'T have salad for dinner.
2) Try to incorporate some cooked elements into your salad - lightly steaming carrots and broccoli before putting them into salads reduces their cold nature and makes it easier for the body to digest them. If you are eating cooked or steamed salads then rule one doesn't apply because you can eat them as often as you like! (Try my Marinated Tofu, Broad Bean and Broccoli Salad)
3) Drink a cup of green or herbal tea with or after your salad, this will help the Stomach warm and digest the raw vegetables you've just put in it!
This salad recipe takes all of these thing into consideration. It incorporates cooked spelt or soy pasta to help offset some of the cold aspects and it is recommended to be had with my delicious Cabbage-Is-My-Friend Tea. This tea not only warms the Stomach and aids digestion, but it also has a carminative effect so is perfect to have with the raw cabbage. In fact, this tea is so good for aiding and easing digestion that my partner now asks me to make it for him whenever he feels any slight digestive upset.
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 green cucumber, diced
1 cup soyaroni or spelt pasta spirals
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup crumbled vegan feta (see this recipe for this delicious home made vegan feta)
2 generous tsp wholegrain mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Cracked Pepper to taste
1. Preheat the grill/oven to about 180 degrees.
2. Cook the pasta according the directions on the packed (in my experience you usually need to cook for a minute or two less than the time listed on the packet to get it al dente). Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside in a strainer to drain properly.
3. Combine the cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and pasta in a big mixing bowl and mix well.
4. Spread the sunflower seeds and the crumbled feta evenly over a baking tray and toast in the grill for about 3 minutes. Keep a close eye on it!
5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
6. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and balsamic vinegar and stir well until they form a smooth dressing.
7. Add the toasted sunflower seeds, feta cheese and dressing to the salad and toss well. Eat immediately.