Winter is upon us. I live in San Diego, and let's be honest: The notion of us slogging through a frigid few months awaiting spring's thaw is ridiculous. Yet, I'm cold. It's chilly and cloudy and yes, sometimes, even rainy.
We all spend more time inside the minute sweater becomes jacket weather. And when the indoor winter blahs get to me, I turn toward my first line of defense to get out of my funk: my diet. When I'm in a slump, I immediately consider what I am eating. I stop processed sugar and focus on getting extra veggies, protein, fiber and healthy fats filled with brain-and-heart-healthy omegas.
This salad is that dose. It's filled with high-protein Brussels sprouts as the main green (1 cup of Brussels sprouts has about as much protein as an egg white) and coupled with nutrient-rich dark green kale. Also in the salad are crunchy, healthy goodies like walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts and even flaxseed. A little cooked quinoa means that ground flaxseed and hemp hearts will fit right in without a grainy mouth-feel. And a handful of pomegranate seeds adds just the right amount of tart and sweet. The salad is tossed with an avocado ranch dressing, so even the creamy, fatty dressing is a nutritious ally.
It's a gorgeous salad — beautiful to behold and to eat. You could add a few ounces of salmon if you want more omegas and protein, but honestly, this salad is filling and satisfying all on its own, with 16 grams of protein per serving even in its totally meatless state.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."