Costa Rican inspired Hearts of Palm and Tropical Fruit Salad with Balsamic Dressing
After 12 glorious days in the hot sun we are back to the arctic tundra. We are so lucky to have escaped for a little while to Playa Negra, Costa Rica. Our days were spent swimming, soaking up the sun, building sand castles, watching Shaye surf, searching for shells and straight up relaxing! We stuffed our faces with the best fresh fruit, avocado tostones, smoothies, and rice and beans you can imagine, and this salad…
A mix of greens, mango, pineapple, corn, red onions, avocado, hearts of palm and cucumber drizzled with a balsamic dressing!
If you are snowed in like we are, try this salad to brighten your day!
We stayed at Hotel Playa Negra, which I highly recommend! You get to stay in little palm covered cabinas right on the beach and listen to the swaying bamboo as you fall asleep at night. Close by is a sea turtle sanctuary, where we were able to see sea turtles hatch in protection. The weather is hot, hot, hot, but that was just what we needed to thaw out!
…and one of the best parts of the trip was that I didn’t need to wear maternity jeans!!!
Quinoa Hemp Seed Tabbouleh is a protein packed take on the Middle Eastern Classic. The addition of hemp seeds upgrade this dish to power salad status!
I can’t talk enough about my love for hemp seeds! In our house we add them to just about everything…avocado toast, salads, smoothies, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, chia seed pudding, pasta, oatmeal, soups, you name it! They have a nutty flavor and add a slightly crunchy texture. Noah loves them and eats them straight out of the container! They are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, zinc and are a perfect plant-based protein!
Typical tabbouleh uses bulgur, but I swapped it with gluten-free quinoa. This is very versatile recipe, you can add tons of other ingredients to satisfy your taste buds!
Take an ordinary meal and turn it into something spectacular with superfoods!
~Pasta with veggies, meh…add hemp seeds for a nutrient packed punch!
~Fruit smoothie are ok but, add cacao and WOW!
~Minestrone soup is better than most but, add some flax for disease fighting power!
~Breakfast cereal, come on you can do better than that! Add chia seeds and berries to take a boring breakfast to the next level!
Here are a list of superfoods that you will always find in my kitchen:
Avocados: High in healthy monounsaturated fat, which decreases risk of heart disease. Also, high in protein, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, C and K…all helpful for glowing skin and healthy hair! Add to smoothies, salads, sandwiches, pasta, quinoa and baked goods…yes, baked goods! (stay tuned for a chocolate avocado cookie recipe coming tomorrow!)
Beans/Lentils: High in insoluble fiber, which naturally lowers cholesterol. High in protein to keep you full and loaded with magnesium and iron. Cook a batch to have all week-long or stock your pantry with canned beans (non-BPA lined cans!). Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating at least a half cup daily! Add into soups, salads or pasta dishes!
Beets: Natural detoxifiers and blood cleansers! Beets contain high levels of vitamin A, B and C, which decrease inflammation. Try adding shredded raw or roasted beets to salads!
Berries: Fresh, dried or frozen…all have high levels of antioxidants, which defend against disease and inflammation. Add dried berries to salads or granola and add fresh or frozen berries to smoothies!
Greens: Endless benefits! Greens contain fiber, vitamins and nutrients all important for decreasing the risk of disease and aid in weight loss. Keep fresh greens handy for an impromptu salad or toss into soups, smoothies or pasta.
Nuts: Proven to improve heart health and decrease the risk of some cancers. My favorite are walnuts! High in omega 3’s, which fight inflammation. Add to oatmeal and any meal for crunch and protein!
Quinoa: The perfect protein! 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber! High in iron, zinc and vitamin E. Super easy to make, eat hot or cold and can be stored in the refrigerator for days! Cook a batch at the beginning of the week to have readily available to add to salads or toss with sautéed stir fried veggies for a quick weeknight meal!
Sweet Potatoes: High in beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A…an essential vitamin, which may decrease risk of cancer and heart disease. Contains high levels of choline, which slows the aging process by decreasing inflammation. Also, high in fiber, which helps regulate the digestive system. Bake a few to have all week-long! Top with beans and greens for an easy meal or cinnamon, walnuts and maple syrup for a sweet treat!
Superfood Add Ins:
Hemp Seeds: High in protein, contains all essential amino acids! Loaded with omega 3 and magnesium. Add to everything!!! Smoothies, rice, pasta, cereal, avocado toast, ice cream, yogurt or salads!
Cacao (or non-alkalized cocoa powder): Loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants! Plus, a healthy way to satisfy a chocolate craving! Toss into smoothies and use in baked goods or raw balls!
Seaweed: A natural source of iodine and bone building calcium and magnesium. Also, high in omega 3 fatty acids. Use for nori wraps or sprinkle dried wakame flakes onto rice, pasta, soups and sauces!