I’m calling it… it’s the summer of salads!
Fresh veg, green leaves, and crispy protein – what more could you want? Well, if you’re looking for a salad that’s both tasty and nourishing for the body, mind, and cycle, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re new to eating in ways that support the menstrual cycle, or ‘cycle syncing’ as it’s sometimes referred to, we’ll explore the ins and outs of this in next week’s blog. For now, here’s a quick overview of the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle:
Follicular 7-14 (rising oestrogen, rising progesterone)
The ovaries are stimulated to produce follicles containing immature eggs. Supporting oestrogen metabolism is key to limiting inflammation by including cruciferous vegetables, fermented foods, fibre, protein, and more.
Ovulatory 15-17(peak oestrogen, rising testosterone, rising progesterone)
We want to continue with the foods from the follicular phase – PLUS extra anti-inflammatory foods like oily fish, nuts, seeds, and phytonutrient-rich spices like turmeric and cinnamon.
Luteal 18-28 (high oestrogen, high progesterone)
Protein is broken down faster, and our serotonin can drop, meaning we can experience cravings and low moods. High-protein, magnesium-rich foods and complex carbohydrates can help support this phase.
Menstrual 1-7 (low oestrogen, low progesterone)
We lose a lot of blood during this phase, so we want to ensure our intake of iron, vitamin K and protein remains high to support our energy levels.
The following recipe may help to support all phases of the cycle, containing anti-inflammatory, phytonutrient-rich vegetables, iron and vitamin-K-rich kale, dense in healthy fats from the halloumi and tahini, all while containing a protein punch from the chickpeas (and halloumi!). Check out the recipe below, and let me know how you find it!
15-Minute Nourishing Roasted Chickpea and Halloumi SaladCourse: Main, Starter, SideCuisine: MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy
1 can of chickpeas
1 block of halloumi
1 packet of kale
1/2 red onion
1/2tsp chilli powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
- Garlic Tahini Sauce
1tsp garlic paste
2tsp olive oil
1tbsp lemon juice
1/2tsp black pepper
- Chickpea and Halloumi Salad
- Set the air fryer to 200 degrees C.
- Drain the can of chickpeas, rinse and pat dry. Place in a bowl and add the paprika, cumin, chilli powder, salt, and pepper, and drizzle with some olive oil.
- Add chickpeas to air fryer and roast for approx. 10-12 minutes – keep an eye on them periodically.
- Once the chickpeas have been added to the air fryer, rinse the kale and place in a large bowl. Massage the kale with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Dice the cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and add to the kale.
- While the chickpeas are roasting, set a pan to a medium-high heat and add some olive oil.
- Slice the halloumi into 1-2 inch slices and carefully place in oil once hot. Fry for 2-4 minutes per side, or until crispy.
- Once the chickpeas are cooked, add them to the kale salad and stir.
- Once cooked, top with the halloumi and add the tahini sauce (below!).
- Garlic Tahini Sauce
- Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper to a bowl and stir.
- Drizzle on top of the salad, and enjoy!
- If you do not have an air fryer, the chickpeas can be roasted in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees C.
- You can replace the halloumi with your preferred type of protein or swap out the dairy altogether and use the salad as a base if dairy-free is required.