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Incan Power Salad with Quinoa and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

As the sun set over the Bolivian altiplano, our train sped full speed through fields upon fields of glowing crops of quinoa. Below are two photos I snapped through the train window of the immense quinoa fields and the dramatic Andes Mountain range in the backdrop.

The second photo shows how the farmers in this area live – their adobe-style homes, simplicity of living in stark contrast to our modern farmlands.

Historically, quinoa has grown at 10,000 to 20,000 feet above sea level, providing nourishment to the altiplano Indians and giving them the ability to thrive in the challenging living conditions that exist at such altitudes. Since quinoa is full of protein, vitamins and minerals, and complex carbohydrates it became known to the Andean people as an endurance food.

To this day the majority of the quinoa production and available quinoa in our local markets comes directly from the vast altiplano crops of South America. When you enjoy a meal made with quinoa your body receives vital proteins and minerals that provide powerful nutrient-rich nourishment that will sustain you throughout your day.

The salad below is a fresh, well-balanced treat that is tridoshic in nature and boosts prana naturally. I’ve made it using kale, cabbage, and carrots as well as fresh herbs from my Aunt’s garden. You can swap in/ swap out many of the ingredients for what you have on hand keeping the recipe both easy and accessible.

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup chopped kale
¾ cup chopped purple cabbage
½ cup ¼ inch chopped carrot
½ cup chopped fennel with fennel fronds
12 mint leaves, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds, hulled and unsalted

3 tablespoons sunflower oil (reserve one for toasting sunflower seeds)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime (or lemon) juice
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing. Toss together all of the salad ingredients and dressing. Serve and enjoy:)

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