It’s such a pleasure to be dropping by Healthful Pursuit today! I’ve been a longtime Healthful Pursuit reader and am continually inspired by Leanne’s nutritious recipes, gorgeous photos, and all of the positive energy I find in the comments section!
As a self-professed health nut and gluten-free foodie myself, my love for fruits, vegetables, and whole, natural foods runs deep.
But my life wasn’t always this way. When I first jumped into the world of healthy eating, I felt a bit at a loss when it came to vegetables and what to do with them. Was there really life beyond salad, steamed broccoli, and baked potatoes?
With time, patience, and a lot of experimentation in the kitchen, I realized that it’s totally possible for you to enjoy vegetables in new, unique (and fun) way.
By stretching my creative wings, embracing the seasonal farmers’ market, and finding inspiration in the colorful vegetables themselves, I learned that fresh produce can be transformed into dozens and dozens (if not hundreds and hundreds) of delicious dishes.
By far, one of my most loved vegetables—my “desert island” food, if you will—is the nutrient-packed health all-star: kale!
For the better part of 4 years, I’ve been eating kale 4-5 days per week in a wide variety of ways. From smoothies to soups, salads to entrees, I throw kale in just about everything.
I love kale so much, in fact, that I recently released a brand spanking new e-book, Crazy for Kale: Glow from the Inside Out with 40 Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes.
Crazy for Kale offers 40 wholesome recipes that make the most of kale in everything from salads to main dishes to snacks and sweet treats. As with all of my recipes, I tried to create flavorful yet approachable dishes in the e-book, all of which gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free with 33 Paleo-grain-free options and 31 vegan/vegetarian options. A few of my favorite recipes from my book include:
Orange Greensicle Smoothie
Tropical Asian Fusion Salad
Chocolate Buckwheat Brownies
Pistachio Banana Ice Cream
Get the full scoop on Crazy for Kale and how to purchase it here.
Today I want to share one of my favorite Crazy for Kale recipes with you. This Kale Salad with Goji Berries and Maple Roasted Almonds makes for a nutrient-packed light lunch or dinner, but also pairs well with grilled meats, fish, and veggie burgers.
5 Tips For the Perfect Kale Salad
Marinate, marinate, marinate! Kale is a super sturdy green that stands up well to dressing, making it a great choice for make-ahead salads. Allow your kale salad to marinate for anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours before serving to help break down the fibrous leaves.
2. Use Acid-based Dressings.
Use acid in the dressing. Adding an acidic element to your dressing, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, will help break down the leaves and increase digestibility.
3. Add Sweetness.
Add something sweet! Because kale has a natural bitter undertone, adding a little touch of sweetness to your salad is a smart move. Add some maple syrup or honey to the dressing, or toss in a handful of raisins or other dried fruit.
4. Boost The Veg Factor
Incorporate other vegetables. Adding other vegetables such as carrots, scallions, steamed sweet potatoes, or celery gives more texture to the salad and adds a boost of nutrients, too!
5. Try Different Types Of Kale
Play with different types of kale. All varieties of kale are highly nutritious (whether red, green, flat, or curly), so play around to find your favorite type and try blending different varieties in salads for visual and textural contrast.
I hope you’ll give this salad a try sometime soon. You may just find yourself going crazy for kale!
Healthy kale salad made with goji berries, roasted almonds in a maple dressing.
6 cups thinly sliced kale leaves
2 medium celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
¼ cup goji berries
1 batch Maple Roasted Almonds (recipe below), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoons creamy unsweetened almond butter
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Maple Roasted Almonds
⅓ cup raw almonds
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sea salt
In a large bowl, combine the kale, celery, shallot, carrot, goji berries, and almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, and almond butter. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Allow the salad to stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
For the almonds: Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to coat. Spread the almonds out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely before using.