Winter spinach, shitake and quinoa nutty salad

This salad served hot or cold has a powerhouse of nutrients designed to boost your mood. Quinoa is an awesome vegan protein source (providing the 9 essential amino acids we need) and is a gluten free complex carbohydrate with fuel for the brain. The B Vitamins, iron and selenium found in Mushrooms and spinach helps fight depression and anxiety. Saffron is well known for its mood enhancing properties.

Serves 2 to 4


1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Coarse Himalayan salt and ground pepper
Pinch of saffron
800g fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved
1 1/2 cups raw quinoa
450g baby spinach
200g feta cheese
roasted nut and seed sprinkle


Whisk together vinegar, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cook the mushrooms with half the dressing until tender and liquid has evaporated.

Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in 3 cups water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer until liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Place spinach in a large bowl; add hot mushrooms, quinoa, and reserved dressing. Toss to combine (spinach will wilt slightly). Top with crumbled feta, seed sprinkle and serve.

Add a pinch of saffron spice to the dressing as a great mood uplifter.

This recipe was compiled by Judith Johnson, a private practicing dietician and advisory to Wellness Warehouse in Cape Town. She has 25 years of experience in private practice, specialising in sports nutrition, diabetes care, weight management, functional nutrition therapy, holistic well being and Natural and complementary Medicine. 
Through her own journey with health challenges, she discovered the benefits of mind, body and soul wellness. You can contact her on



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