Kale is among the most nutrient-dense vegetables that is considered commonly eaten. One cup provides 1327% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192% of DV for vitamin A, and 88% for vitamin C. It’s not something I recommend eating huge amounts of every single day because the K and A vitamin content is way more than you need. Still, it’s a great green to add to your vegetable repertoire. Sauteed with some garlic, it’s absolutely amazing. Most people find eating it raw difficult due to its bitter and brussels sprouts-like texture. I had this salad once at True Food Kitchen and absolutely fell in love, especially after realizing how easy it was to make.
4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero); midribs removed if you prefer (I don’t mind them!)
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, mashed
Salt & pepper (optional)
Pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)
2/3 C grated flavorful cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 C freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread (or from the deli counter, just don’t use the canned stuff off the shelf if you can avoid it)
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes. I like to make the dressing first and let the garlic permeate the liquids, while I prep the kale leaves.
Pour over kale in a large serving bowl and toss well.
Let kale sit for at least 15 minutes. Remove chunks of garlic. Add bread crumbs and 2/3 of the cheese, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.
Truth be told, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product when I made it, but it’ll look like this.
The great thing about this recipe is you can make it ahead (tossed with the dressing), and the longer you let the kale sit, the better it gets. The acidity in the dressing breaks down the tough, cabbage-like texture of the kale a bit. As far as the bread crumbs go, I bought a container of fresh bread crumbs from the deli counter at Sprouts, used what I needed, and put the rest in the freezer until the next use. I’ve made this salad several times and can tell you that the bread crumbs keep really well as long as there’s no moisture in the container they’re stored in!
If you need protein with your salads, almost any grilled meat (shrimp, chicken, beef, salmon, etc.) would go great on top of the salad. So would chickpeas, quinoa, boiled egg, or other non-meat high-protein items. It’s a really versatile salad. It’s the only dressed salad that gets better the next day too. If you know you’ll have leftovers, just don’t toss in the cheese and breadcrumbs til you’re ready to eat it. I do recommend consuming within 2 days of making it.
Here is a healthy recipe post to break up the streak of heavy meal posts. I saw a recipe for a shaved brussels sprouts salad in an issue of Womens Health a few months ago, and it reminded me of the La Grande Orange Cafe version that I love so much. I had to try it! Here is the recipe as adapted from my favorite magazine:
1 oz toasted Marcona almonds, sliced (I forgot to add them when I took the photo below)
1/4 cup shaved parmesan or manchego cheese
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 T water
2 T sherry or red wine vinegar
1 t dijon mustard
1 T finely minced shallot
2 t honey
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until well blended.
Using a mandolin or food processor with a slicing disk, shave the sprouts and radicchio.
Toss the sprouts and radicchio with the apple and dressing until evenly coated. Divide among plates, and top each with almonds and cheese.
Hopefully the lighting in your kitchen won’t leave that awful yellow-green tinge on your food the way it does in the above photo! I swear it looks much tastier in person.
Also, note that the dressing recipe makes WAY more than you need for the salad, but that’s okay because it’s delicious as leftovers. Just store it in the fridge and give it a good whisk when you’re ready to use it again. Brussels are so good raw or cooked, but raw is best when shaved or peeled…pain as it may be to prep them that way.
In virtually “thumbing” through my photos from the beginning of the year to date, I came across the pictures of the BBQ Chicken Salad I made back in February. I just marinated some chicken thighs in Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce, and then threw it in the oven. There is something wonderful about BBQ sauce that really breaks down proteins and makes meat really tender in the oven.
I threw the chicken on top of some baby greens, along with cherry tomatoes, persian cucumbers, black beans, corn, chopped red bell pepper, and of course some toasted pepitas! The salad ingredients were so flavorful flavorful together that I didn’t even need dressing.
Definitely need to make this again some time – so easy and healthy!
Okay, I won’t lie. I’ve been on a bit of an eating spree the last few weeks, with little time to make up for it via working out. I’ve also recently gotten involved in a fervent love affair – with beets. Yes. Beets. They are DELICIOUS.
So, in an effort to turn my diet around, I threw together some chopped roasted beets, avocado, tomatoes, and fresh basil. After cracking open a whole burrata over the salad, I drizzled a wee bit of whatever cheap balsamic vinegar we had in the house, some olive oil, and a few sprinkles of dried herbs over top.
The burrata I used was from Trader Joe’s, purchased mostly out of convenience as I was too lazy to make another trip to a store that would have a better cheese selection. The cheese ended up being a little too salty and overall extremely mediocre.
[Side note] Someone recently asked me if burrata was a type of moldy cheese (i.e., bleu, gorgonzola, etc.). Burrata is a type of mozzarella… probably the best kind!
Not bad for a quick dinner, but next time I will definitely go to Whole Foods to get some legit Burrata, along with perhaps an aged balsamic vinegar.
Pears and arugula were on sale at Ralph’s, so I decided to make a pear and arugula salad. However, I hate crumbly cheese… goat, bleu, gorgonzola, feta… If it comes in crumbles, I hate it. Since most pear and arugula salad recipes incorporate some form of crumbly cheese, I decided to make my own version. I love me some shaved parm, so I used that to give the salad the salty kick. I threw in some avocado because… well… I throw avocado on everything. I’ll definitely include some candied walnuts the next time I make this!
With the leftover bacon from the Shrimp and Spinach Salad that I made and the aforementioned arugula salad, I made a tasty BLTA using argula instead of lettuce. Arugula and salty things go so well together! NOM!