First a bit about kale. Kale contains a rich source of vitamins (A, C, B6) and minerals (magnesium, calcium, copper, potassium) and may, in fact, prevent cancer. One cup has just shy of 40 calories, but packs a punch with more than enough of the required daily dose of vitamin A, and since it's a plant source of A, there's no need to worry about getting too much! The only drawback for me personally is its texture. It's tough and kind of hard to eat raw, but dressed with the liquid gold I'm about to fill you in on, it becomes soft, especially given time to marinate.
Next, a bit about quinoa. I only recently discovered quinoa in the past couple of years. It's a strange little grain, but definitely another super food and hails from South America - let's hear it for the Incas! Apparently this was even a sacred crop for the Inca. Not only is quinoa incredibly high in protein, but it's a complete protein, meaning it includes all 9 essential amino acids. Booya. And bonus, it's gluten free so it's easy on the belly. Joined in concert with the added ingredients in the cold salad, this makes an incredibly delicious, healthy (double-duh) and visually beautiful salad.
Alright already. Enough of the nutrition lesson, here are the goods. Enjoy!
* * * * *
Garlicky Kale (a Whole Foods recipe)
10 oz kale, chopped, stems removed (I got mine at Trader Joe's; they sell a bag of it)
Dressing (I make 3x the following amount because it's so freaking yummy, and I like a lot of dressing)
2 tbs. nutritional yeast
1 tbs. tahini
1 tbs. water
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (if you don't have this, substitute with tamari or lite soy sauce)
2 tbs. minced garlic
Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor and pour over kale. Toss salad and let soak/marinate for a few hours. The end result is a creamy dressing that tastes very similar to a Caesar-style dressing. Like I said, it's even better the next day, or even the third day.
Cold Quinoa Salad (another Whole Foods creation)
(Several of the ingredients are "to taste." You'll just have smell, taste, and experience what's right for you.)
2 cups whole wheat quinoa
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen edamame
1 mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
red onion diced (to taste; I used about half a cup)
raisins (to taste)
dried, unsweetened coconut (to taste)
silvered almonds (to taste)
chopped cilantro or parsley (to taste; I used cilantro)
equal parts balsamic vinegar and lime juice (I used slightly more than 1/4 cup of each and then ended up adding a few more splashes as I tasted the salad)
1. Rinse the quinoa really well, and cook according to package directions. Take edamame out of the freezer.
2. Chop and dice red onion, bell pepper, mango and put into a large mixing bowl.
3. Once quinoa is done, add edamame and let sit 5-10 minutes. Heat from the quinoa will defrost edamame and keep them crispy.
4. Add quinoa and edamame mixture to mixing bowl with onion, pepper and mango.
5. Add in the raisins, coconut, almonds and cilantro. Toss well.
6. Mix together vinegar and lime juice and pour over salad, mix well.
7. Taste and modify as needed.
Makes 13, 1 cup servings. I plan on taking this salad, plus a piece of fruit for lunch this week. Can't wait!!
I think you'll find you won't need any salt or sweetener other than playing around with the combination of ingredients. I ended up adding a few more dashes of vinegar, raisins and coconut.
* * * * *
Food that tastes this good, is this healthy, and this beautiful, makes me incredibly happy. If you're gagging over my enjoyment, I won't apologize. I'm thrilled to be excited about food that, for once, isn't going to blow up my waistline, is palatable, and will in fact be good to my body.
I wish the same for you.