Kale, hmmmm – either you’re saying…
Yeah - yum! or…
Oh no – ewwww! or…
What the heck is kale?
If your reaction was anything but the first, you are truly missing out!
Honestly, kale is not something I ever entertained eating up until about a year ago. I mean, it’s only purpose is really to dress your plate when you’re dining out, right?
Well, one of the many wonderful things I love about my job with Whole Foods Market is how much I learn each and everyday. As someone who has always been very health conscious and eats healthy, I thought I knew a lot about nutrition prior to starting my job early last year. Well, I was wrong – I can’t believe how much I have learned and continue to learn on a daily basis! It’s really exciting!
One of my favorite things that I have learned is the many different ways to prepare kale, which is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables with tons of health benefits.
I’ve written about kale before. I love to put it in a Green Smoothie (as I love to sneak greens in a smoothie any way I can). My favorite summertime smoothie is Pineapple, Ginger, and Kale. It’s super delicious and refreshing. Kale, in a smoothie, however is not what I would consider a starter green. Kale, in a smoothie, is definitely an acquired taste since it’s relatively strong. If you are new to smoothies I would suggest starting with Spinach or Chard as they are mild and practically tasteless when you add some fruit.
I also love to steam or sauté it. Many times I chop up some garlic and add to either chicken broth or vegetable broth (whichever I have on hand), cook up the garlic a bit and then put my kale in the pan, cover it and steam away. It’s super delicious, even my 10 year old loves it! There are many great recipes online, I found this Bobby Flay recipe last year that was also quite delicious.
Yesterday, I was looking to make a side dish or have a salad so I was googling looking for some interesting kale salad recipes, as I haven’t tried that preparation yet. As you can imagine, I stumbled upon many delicious recipes. I decided to try a Roasted Carrot, Avocado and Kale Salad from a blog called, Top of the Apple.
As always, I make modifications so here is my version. To see the original version (with delicious photos, click here).
Roasted Carrot, Avocado, & Kale Salad
serves 2 (generously – could be up to 4)
6 thin carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (could even reduce a bit if necessary – also I used a Tuscan Herb infused oil that we love so experiment!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 head kale, coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (I used Feta)
handful of edamame for each plate
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, sesame, and pumpkin seeds (we omitted the pine nuts)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a bowl, combine carrots, 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt, and cayenne; toss until carrots are completely coated. Spread on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, turn carrots, bake 15 minutes more. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine kale, remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage kale until tender and bright green, about 2 minutes. Add roasted carrots; toss gently. To serve, divide kale and carrots among two plates. Arrange avocado slices, toss on your edamame and top with cheese and your toasted nut/seed mixture.
I have to tell you – this recipe was AMAZING! My husband devoured it and was still talking about it this morning. I can’t wait to make it again! I would love to serve this with a delicious piece of salmon or some scallops – it makes for a super nutritious and tasty meal.