eating your superfoods is easy – with this vibrant kale + golden beet salad

superfood salad

People tend to either love or loathe kale salads — me? I’m firmly in the ‘love’ camp – so long as it’s prepared properly. The trick to making a killer kale salad is to marinate it. As kale can be a tough, fibrous green it requires acid + salt to properly tenderize.

Also adding to kale salad’s virtues is that they couldn’t be easier. They’re pretty fool proof – and it’s a true ‘one bowl’ meal. No need to prepare a separate dressing, you just add the acid, oil, and seasonings directly to the greens.

I also love that they can not only be made ahead of time – but they get better the longer they sit. It’s perfect to make ahead of time to work for a convenient lunch or to keep in your fridge for a grab and go meal.

I call this version a ‘superfood’ salad as it’s packed with nutrient dense ingredients like goji berries, hemp seeds, and microgreens. Goji berries are packed with antioxidants and add a little sweetness to offset the kale. I like that they will plump up as the dressing marinates. The hemp seeds also add a hefty protein dose that transforms this from a side salad to a complete meal. As a side note – adding hemp seeds to salads, bowls, and vegetables is a great way to up protein intake for those eating a largely plant-based diet.

Using a hand slicer to thinly slice the beets makes this a super simple and fast. Don’t have one? Try grating them with a box grater instead.

Kale Salad with Goji Berries + Golden Beets

Ingredients:

1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
½ avocado
2 tablespoons goji berries
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (from one lemon)
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 small golden beets, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons microgreens (optional)

Procedure:

Add kale, avocado, goji berries lemon, olive oil, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to a large bowl. Use clean hands to ‘massage’ kale. This will also smash the avocado – the point being to combine with the lemon, oil, and salt to create a dressing.

Add beets, hemp seeds; mix together. It’s ideal to let this salad sit for at least 10 minutes – or even overnight. The longer it sits, the more the kale will tenderize and get increasingly flavorful.

Top with chopped scallion and microgreens if using.

kale salad with roasted carrots, chickpeas + spiced tahini dressing

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I’m no stranger to a kale salad (or two, or three), but I haven’t given them much love over the past few months. I spent the summer enjoying lighter, brighter greens like butter lettuces, napa cabbage, romaine and pea shoots. But as we ease into winter, dainty lettuces won’t suffice: only kale can cure my salad cravings.

Sure, kale can have a bit of a bitter taste, but the sweetness of the caramelized, oven-roasted carrots pairs perfectly, and creates a winning flavor combination. I added a big handful of cooked chickpeas to transform this salad into a balanced meal. For the finishing touch, drizzle the spiced tahini dressing on top to add richness and warmth that will combat winter’s cold.

I picked up a container or Turkish maras peppers at a local Middle Eastern Bakery. I’ve enjoyed adding a pinch of these beautiful, red specks on eggs, avocado toast, meats, fish – and in dressings like this one. If you can’t find the peppers, or don’t have on hand, you can substitute paprika and crushed red peppers.

Kale Salad with Roasted Carrots + Chickpeas

Ingredients:

1 bunch of carrots, peeled and cut on a large bias
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup cooked chickpeas
Spiced tahini dressing (recipe below!)

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 425. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add carrots to baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Roast until carrots are tender and caramelized – about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place torn kale in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Gently ‘massage’ kale with clean hands. Kale should turn bright green and begin to tenderize. Toss in chickpeas and cooked carrots. Drizzle with tahini dressing and serve extra on the side.

Spiced Tahini Dressing

Ingredients:

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon turkish maras peppers (or 2 teaspoons paprika and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes)

Procedure:

Whisk all ingredients together. Depending on the consistency of the tahini (whether oily or solid) you may need to add a bit of extra water until you reach desired consistency.

kale salad with mango, red onion + pumpkin seeds

kalesalad

We made this salad at last weekend’s ‘Eat Like a Yogi’ event. The Wellness Club at Whole Foods Chicago hosted the event, and Suzanne Ko kicked off the class with a great 45 minute detoxifying practice. After shavasana, when everyone was recharged and ‘zenned out’ we gathered in the kitchen for a light and fresh menu. The recipes were nutrient-dense, energy rich, plant based, and pretty delicious!

This kale salad was my favorite recipe. I tend to get in such a rut with making the same salads on repat, and this variety is full of flavor and well balanced. It’s perfect for summer picnics and BBQs, as the salad gets even better as it sits. Add a little more heat by throwing in some minced chipotle peppers, chopped jalapenos, or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Kale Salad with Mango, Red Onion + Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, thinly chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 mango, peeled and cut into long spears
2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds

Procedure:

Combine kale, red onion, lemon juice, oil, salt, and chili powder in a large bowl. Using clean hands, gently ‘massage’ kale until bright green and wilted. Fold in mango and pumpkin seeds; let marinate for at least 10-15 minutes.