I love good food. And if it’s healthy good food, that is an added bonus.
Lately I have noticed more and more delicious healthy food options. The salad bars are stocked with grains, beets and more unique items that will fill you up. More restaurants are offering quinoa and kale on the menu, too, as they are the newest “power foods” people love to eat.
I have been a fan of both ingredients for a while now. Kale is just simply delicious. I often use it in place of spinach in curries and lasagna as it holds up a little better and also has less water content.
Quinoa is great for adding texture, protein and filling you up when added to your meal. These trendy ingredients have the ability to help your body lower cholesterol, detoxify, reduce inflammation and fight cancer, among other health benefits.
But don’t just eat them because they are good for you. That is the quickest way to scare your dinner partners off. Eat them because they taste good, which they do.
Crispy kale, which is made by cooking kale rolled in lemon, oil, salt and pepper, can rival the best potato chip on the market. I like to throw this on top of a bowl of risotto to add color and flavor, in addition to the health benefits.
I have been adding quinoa to my salads for a while now. I got this trick from The Handlebar, who offers it on one of their salads. I now keep a precooked container in my fridge ready to go when I need a more filling lunch salad that will keep me satisfied all afternoon.
This salad is beyond delicious. It is also filling, high in protein and has tons of fiber, calcium, vitamins and minerals.
I like to serve it as a one-dish dinner with a piece of good bread to go along with it. My husband loves it, even though he groaned the first time he saw me putting it together.
Feel free to substitute other nuts, but make sure they are toasted for the best flavor. Cashews and pine nuts would be rich and good options.
Add other ingredients if you have them on hand and want more variety. Just make sure you make a little extra dressing if you add more veggies. I think a chopped red pepper would be nice, and you could throw in spinach along with the kale to give it a little change.
I don’t think you need it, but if you want a little extra richness you could add crumbled goat cheese to the top, too.
Recipe: Kale and Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (any color but I like red)
- 1 cup cooked and cubed beets
- 1 bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 carrot, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup chopped, toasted pistachios
- For the Dressing
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until well combined.
- Adjust seasoning, acidity and thickness (by adding more oil if you need it) accordingly.
- Place kale in a large bowl, and pour enough of the dressing to coat the kale over the greens. Using your hands, gently massage dressing into kale for a couple of minutes or until the fibers in the kale break down a bit and soften.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add the remaining ingredients (except the nuts).
- Add more dressing as needed.
- Top with pistachios and serve.