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Yin Salad for Kidney Qi

5.0 from 1 vote

One of my favorite winter salads, right here, is this Yin Salad for Kidney Qi! You could serve this with a bowl of my Creamy Mushroom Celery Soup, shown below.

overhead shot of Yin Winter Salad next to Creamy Mushroom Celery Soup and a sprig of rosemary

This salad not only looks beautiful to the eyes (and we eat with our eyes!), but it’s loaded with ingredients that are very good for your kidneys and yin energy. I like to eat this with a nice bowl of soup, which is also great to strengthen your qi during the cold months. Let’s get into it!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

I’ve crafted this recipe with our bodies in mind, using ingredients that give us an extra boost during winter time. What do I mean by that?

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), certain foods help us support different parts of the body. These foods can be even more supportive when consumed at different times of the year; for example, arugula and other bitter greens are excellent for the body when eaten during winter.

I also love this salad because of the simplicity of it, and that it doesn’t take much to make it, but it still looks beautiful. After all, we eat with our eyes! Just add your favorite protein, and you’re done.

One helpful tip I like to use is to pick up a plain rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, then eat off of that for a few days. This is great for when I’m short on time. You could add some to this salad, or you can add a scoop of tuna, some sardines, burger patties… you name it, it works.


Base ingredients:

  • 3-4 handfuls arugula (or other dark leafy green of your choice)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped or shaved with a peeler (as shown)
  • 2 tbsp. sprouted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp. chopped pistachios
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste (not too much pepper, as you want to stay away from too much spice when nourishing your kidneys/yin energy)
  • Optional: a scoop of protein of your choice, such as tuna, salmon, sardines, or rotisserie chicken.

How to Make this Yin Salad

This salad comes together very easily, and I love that there is nothing to actually cook. You start by taking your washed arugula (or other greens), and add them to a dinner plate or bowl.

Next, add your avocado, cucumber, and carrot shavings, then sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pistachios. Drizzle with olive oil, then a shake of salt and pepper.

Scoop your protein on top, if adding, and enjoy!

close up of a delicious salad on a white plate with a bowl of soup out of focus in the background

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different dressing other than just plain olive oil?

Yes, you can use a different dressing. In keeping with the “yin” goals of this salad, meaning we’re using ingredients that are in line with winter in Chinese medicine, you could try adding a bit of ginger, garlic and rosemary to about 1 cup of olive oil, then blend with a small blender or immersion blender.

What types of protein could I add to this salad?

Seafood is generally good to eat during winter, so you could add some sauteed shrimp, or tuna. Another good suggestion is rotisserie chicken.


If you’re interested in other yin-boosting recipes for winter, try my Soothing Winter Green Smoothie, my Nourishing Lentil Soup, or my Black Sesame Crusted Salmon. And if you make this recipe, please rate it and leave me a comment letting me know how you liked it!

Yin Salad for Kidney Qi

Recipe by Alessandra Macaluso
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Season, Winter


Prep time


Cooking time




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  • 3-4 handfuls arugula (or other bitter leafy green)

  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced into rounds, then halved

  • 1-2 medium carrots, shaved with a peeler (or chopped if you prefer)

  • 2 tablespoons sprouted sunflower seeds

  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

  • drizzle of olive oil (or favorite oil based dressing, see note)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • optional: scoop of protein of your choice, such as canned tuna, sauteed shrimp, or rotisserie chicken (see note)


  • Arrange the greens on a large plate or in a bowl (your preference). Top it with the avocado slices, cucumber, and carrot shavings, then sprinkle over the sunflower seeds and chopped pistachios. Add a drizzle of olive oil (or other dressing, see note), salt, pepper, and optional protein. Enjoy this yin-boosting salad.


  • If you’d like to make a dressing other than just drizzling this salad with olive oil, you can do so. In keeping with the “yin” goals of this salad, meaning we’re using ingredients that are in line with winter in Chinese medicine, you could combine 1 cup of olive oil or avocado oil with 1/2 teaspoon of chopped ginger, 1/2 clove of garlic, garlic and the needles from 1 spring of rosemary, then blend with a small blender or immersion blender.
  • Seafood in particular is great to eat in winter time according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). You can purchase already cooked shrimp from most grocery stores, or use canned tuna. You can also purchase already cooked rotisserie chicken, which all make this recipe very easy to do for a quick lunch.

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You can eat this by itself or serve it with a soup on the side, which is also great for kidney qi.

Recipe Note: You can adapt the “crunch” to this salad by swapping out the sunflower seeds and pistachios with ingredients such a hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts.


Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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