Rethink your salads: don’t dump a ton of ranch on iceberg lettuce. That’s a terrible salad with poor nutritional value. Salads are a great way to get creative and enjoy nature’s produce for their wonderful natural flavors.
Try adding Kale! Why is Kale so great? It has so many wonderful vitamins and nutrients like calcium and vitamin C. Most notably, it has one of the highest levels of vitamin K which is heart healthy! You can get a solid bunch at the Farmers’ Market for $1.50-$2.00/bunch or go to Trader Joe’s, which has it pre-bagged. Thanks to, Katie for all the great tips.
Kale (de-stem them: pull the leaves off the coarse stem. Tear them into bite sizes)
Sliced Red Onions
Halved Cherry/Grape/Heirloom Tomatoes
Red Kidney Beans
Salt & Pepper
Acid (Either lemon juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar)
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard (optional)
When making the dressing, the ratio of olive oil to vinegar or lemon juice should be 3 to 1. I love balsamic vinegar, so I use that in most of my salad dressings. I like making the dressing in a small glass jar because I can eye-ball the ingredients, shake it up easily, and store it in the fridge. First, combine the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Combine this before adding the oil because it helps to better mix everything. Add the oil. Add the dijon mustard. Toss the dressing over the kale and massage the kale. This helps to coat the leaves with the dressing and helps to tenderize the leaves. Once you are ready to serve, toss in some spinach and BOOM. Your amazing salad is ready. The vegetables have strong anti-oxidants, nutrients, and vitamins in each bite. Avocados and extra virgin olive oil add a healthy source of fat. The beans add a great source of lean protein and fiber.
Feel free to add grilled chicken or shrimp to make it even more delicious and festive! Or fresh fruit like oranges or grapefruit! Salads are great because you can pretty much throw in anything that YOU love. Make it your own.
– Throw it in a sandwich.
– Saute it with other vegetables in a stir fry.
– Make Kale Chips: toss BIG leaves of kale in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Make sure that the leaves are patted DRY before adding the oil and seasonings. This prevents the leaves from being steamed and softened in the oven. Place them on a baking sheet so that each leaf is fully exposed and not touching another leaf. Put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees until the leaves are crisp. They taste like potato chips! SO GOOD AND SO GOOD FOR YOU!
Not all salads have to be cold. Try this great Warm Chard Salad. Thanks to Erin and David for the tips!
1 small Onion chopped
5-8 Crimini Mushrooms chopped
1/2 Pumpkin/Winter Squash(Kabocha is my favorite) cubed–can be purchased pre-cooked or you can roast/steam/sauté beforehand
1/4 cup Cooked Quinoa (takes about 10 minutes with some boiling water or chicken stock)
5 large Swiss Chard leaves (cut into bite size)
Small handful of Cheese (any of your favorites!)
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 teaspoons of Lemon Juice (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Sautee the onions and mushrooms with some oil until the onions become translucent. Then add the swiss chard and winter squash. Toss until the swiss chard starts to soften approximately 2-3 minutes. Add some olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the quinoa and cheese. Serve immediately.
It’s so delicious and offers such great nutritional value like complete protein & carbs (quinoa), health fats (olive oil), antioxidants (Swiss Chard and all vegetables). It is a wonderful comfort food dish during the cold winter!