Packing the iron punch, this recipe has been created with specific iron-rich salad ingredients to help you meet your daily iron requirements. Not just iron, it’s also an excellent source of protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and B group vitamins.
This iron-rich salad rocks a cool 8mg of your daily iron requirements (RDI females is 18mg and males 8mg). To put this into perspective, one 150g piece of fillet steak will give you just over 3mg of iron. I should explain though that there are two types of iron. The type that comes from meat, poultry and fish (haeme) and the type that comes from plants (non-haeme). Plant iron isn’t absorbed as easily as in the body as iron from animals, so this recipe has been created to optimise the availability of iron, to give you maximum nutrition.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency globally. There are certain foods that help iron absorption and certain foods hinder it and I’ve got a couple of tips for you to get the most out of this meal.
- Avoid drinking tea, coffee or red wine (a glass of white will go better anyway!). Drinking these can decrease iron absorption by up to 40%.
- Avoid berries and chocolate for dessert. This can reduce iron absorption by up to 60%, so worth avoiding with this dish.
The Iron Man Salad - Key Nutrients
Tofu – Contributing approx. 4mg of iron to this salad, tofu also adds 22g of protein! It’s also rich in isoflavones, a type of phytochemical that is well researched for its cancer protective properties.
Kale – Using lemon juice to dress the kale, not only softens it, making it easier to digest, but it massively increases the bioavailability of iron.
Cumin – There’s one reason cumin is in this dish. I’ll tell you why. Because one tablespoon gives a whooping 4mg of iron. Say no more.
The Iron Man Salad
- 250 g tofu (use firm tofu)
- 100 g kale
- 100 g broccoli (approx 7 florets)
- ½ avocado
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon (juice & zest)
- Chop the tofu into slices. Using paper towel, press down to remove the water residue. Then cut the tofu into small cubes.
- Place 2tbsp of cumin into a bowl and add the tofu and toss/mix until all of the tofu is coated in cumin.
- Using a non-stick frying pan, turn the heat on high and add 2 tbsp of olive oil.
- Once the oil is heated through, add the tofu and stir for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and cover the pan with a lid, stirring occasionally for approx. 20 minutes. until crispy.
- Whilst the tofu is cooking you can prepare the rest of the salad.
- Remove the kale from the stalks and chop into smaller pieces.
- Add the juice of one lemon to the kale mix and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and using your hands rub the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil into the kale (you want to massage the kale as this will help to really soften it).
- Grate the zest from the lemon into the salad mix.
- Finely chop the broccoli and add to the mix.
- Cut ½ avocado into small cubes and add to the salad mix.
- A few minutes before the tofu is ready, add 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds to the frying pan and toast for a couple of minutes until lightly browned.
- Add tofu and pumpkin seeds to the salad mix and toss through.
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Amy Savage is a qualified Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional & Dietetic Medicine specialising in skin health and is available for consultations online. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.