Good nourishment means more than vitamins and minerals. The essence or life force of the food we eat plays an equally important role in a healthy diet. Autumn harvest foods—canned fruits and root vegetables, hearty soups and stews—that sustain us through the long, dark winter months are grounding and comforting. By summer, it’s time to revitalize and lighten up, both mind and body, with foods that go directly from the earth to our plates. In other words, it’s time to go grocery shopping in the garden!
Summer gardening offers the opportunity to directly interact with and ingest the plant’s life force. Seeing, touching, smelling a plant in its natural habitat just moments before eating it connects you to the circle of life and renewal. Feeling the plant’s aliveness and Ki gifted from the sun and the photosynthesis process. Talk about eating light!
Just as we aim to keep a robust flow of qi circulating throughout our meridians, plants’ upward flow of nutrients, from their roots, through their stems, and out to all leaves, mirrors this process in ourselves.
Whether you have a backyard garden, community plot or just enough space for container gardening, try your green thumb on sprouting some summer fruits and veggies, the ingredients for life.
Here’s a recipe to celebrate your zest for life.
Zesty Mustard Greens Quinoa Salad
When you crave the sharp, peppery zing in a crisp green salad, an array of mustard greens, garlic and radish will hit the hot spot.
Several handfuls each of torn arugula, mustard greens & watercress leaves
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
Add 2 cups water or chicken broth to the quinoa*. (I cup dry quinoa yields approximately 3 cups cooked.) Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.
Combine the lettuce leaves, cucumber, radish and red onion in a large salad bowl. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and cooked quinoa and feta cheese crumbles. Toss all ingredients..
In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Drizzle over the salad and toss well.
*Rinsing well in a fine mesh sieve will help reduce bitterness.
Total Prep Time: 30 min.
Yields 9 Servings