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.

a satisfying salad to transition into winter — celery root with greens + tart dried cherries

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I’ve been making a version of this salad every fall for the last five years or so. I love how seasonal celery root is the star of the show; its earthy – almost nutty – flavor pairs beautifully with kale. And both ingredients are hearty and ‘toothsome’ to satisfy cool weather appetites. In other words — this is not a dainty summer salad!

If you’re not familiar with celery root, I posted a little bit about it HERE with a basic roasting recipe.

This salad get even better after it sits for a few hours, making it a great make ahead lunch of dinner salad. Add a handful of french of black lentils for a punch of protein to make this a complete meal. It’s also lovely served aside fish or chicken.

Celery Root Salad with Greens + Tart Dried Cherries

Ingredients:

1 small bunch kale, preferably lacinato
1 small celery root
1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup tart dried cherries (can substitute currants or cranberries)

Procedure:

Remove stems from kale, and tear leaves into small pieces. You should get about 3 cups of greens. Place them in a large bowl. Squeeze half a lemon over kale, along with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt. Use clean hands to ‘massage kale’ making sure to evenly coat. Set aside.

Meanwhile, use a knife to carefully remove the thick skin around the celery root to reveal the white vegetable. Ideally, set up the grating attachment on a food processor and grate. You should get about 2 cups. Alternately, use a box grater and do by hand.

Add remaining lemon, oil, and salt to celery root and toss to coat. Add celery root to kale and evenly mix. Add cherries, and season to taste with additional salt, pepper and/or lemon.

Option to add grated parmesan, pecorino, or shaved manchego cheese.

welcome fall – with this creamy cauliflower + kale soup

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To me, fall means changing colors, crisp weather, chunky sweaters – and soup season. When the weather dips, I pull out my boots, and get a pot of soup on the stove. I crave hearty, chunky, thick soups that are a comforting meal in a bowl: and this recipe fits the bill.

Cauliflower and kale are two of my favorite vegetables; the addition of red lentils lends a creamy, rich texture – plus a dose of plant-based protein. This is a good base to add different flavors. Try adding curry powder, oregano, or chili powder with the garlic to switch it up a bit.

The lentils will soak up all of the liquid – so you may need to add a bit more. Also, if you are making this ahead of time, it will almost take on the consistency of wet mashed potatoes. Add more water or stock to thin it before serving – or just spoon it into a bowl and eat as is. I’ve heard its great that way, too. Not that I would know about that or anything…

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder with Kale

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower (or 2 small), cut into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
6 cups water
1 ½ cups red lentils
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
1 bunch of lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
salt + pepper to taste

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Reserve 1 cup of cauliflower florets. Place rest of cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet, toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast for 40-50 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes; stir. Add water and red lentils. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Add chopped carrots and cauliflower florets. Let cook until thick and lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Add water to thin as necessary.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add in roasted cauliflower florets and kale pieces. Stir to combine. Add chopped parsley before serving.

green juice du jour – plus tips + tricks for DIY juicing

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It seems people can’t get enough green juice these days. I love getting a daily dose to help boost energy, increase my intake of vitamins, alkalize my body, and prevent cravings. The fact that they taste pretty great is an extra bonus.

Sure, you can easily grab a green juice at a smoothie shop or health food store – but nothing beats making your own. You have control over the quality of ingredients, can adjust them to suit your tastes to a tee, and avoiding the $10+ price tag will make you feel super responsible.

So whether you are a juicing pro or newbie, here are my top 5 tips to keep in mind when the urge strikes you. I’ve also shared my go to green juice recipe – that I happen to be sipping on as I type…

TIPS FOR DIY JUICING:

1. Source organic ingredients whenever possible. Sure, its ideal to choose organic for all food and drinks, but even if you don’t regularly splurge for organic produce you really want to make the effort when it comes to juicing. Essentially, when you juice, you are extracting everything from the produce into a liquid form: which is inclusive of any pesticides or chemicals that are on your fruits and veggies. Juicing can be really cleansing, but that isn’t really the case when you have toxins lurking around in your glass. You also want to be sure to give your juicing ingredients a good wash.

2. Keep it simple. It can be a common desire to put everything in your fridge down the chute of your juicer. It’s so gratifying to see the juicing carafe fill up! But really, the best juices (and smoothies) taste best with a few ingredients. It’s nice to be able to taste what’s in there, instead of having dozens of flavors muddling each other. To control the amount of sugar and taste – I like to usually add only 1 (sometimes 2) fruits or sweet vegetables (like carrots or beets). Have the other 1-3 ingredients be herbs, veggies, spices, or lemon/lime. It can be helpful to try to recreate a juice that you have had by using the same ingredients at home. Once you get the hang of juicing and the different flavors of ingredients, you will be more comfortable mixing and matching.

3. Be sure to include one of these ingredients Since we’re making juice – you need to include juicy ingredients! I love using 1-2 cucumbers as they add a lot of juice without much sugar. Apples and pears are also pretty juicy and are lower on the glycemic index than other fruits. Carrots will also yield a lot of juice and I am also partial to pineapple for adding sweet brightness.

4. Drink it fast. The beauty of juicing at home is that you can drink your creation straight from the press. This will allow your body to absorb the maximum amount of antioxidants and energy available. Some people like to make a double batch to have more juice available for later in the day – and that is fine to do – just make sure to chug some of the batch at the time of juicing. I usually say its ideal to drink within 24 hours.

5. Use what you’ve got. I know I just said not to throw your whole refrigerator in your juicer… but at the same time, you want to be smart about the ingredients you stock up on and use what is available. For example: I will sometimes de-stem kale leaves for salad. Hang onto those stems for juicing (or blending) as they are still nutrient-dense and beneficial to consume. If you are using fresh herbs for a salad or sauce, use the rest of the bunch for the juicer. Herbs are are alkalizing, naturally detoxifying, and full of flavor. Pineapple cores – and even carrot peels – might seem like garbage but they will actually make delicious juice.

Do you have any tips and tricks to share? Please do so in the comment section! I always love learning something new.

Amanda’s Fave Green Juice Ingredients:

1 cucumber
2-3 celery ribs
2-3 handfuls of dark leafy greens (lately, I have been using a mixture of kale, dandelion greens, and cilantro or parsley)
1 lemon

Procedure:

Place cucumber, celery, and greens in a juicer. I find it helpful to alternate pieces of cucumber, celery, and kale to get the most juice. Squeeze both halves of lemon into the green juice. Pour into a glass. I like to add a few ice cubes to add a little chill.

*Like your juice a little sweeter? Try adding an apple (granny smith adds a nice tartness), pear, or a few pieces of pineapple.

*Don’t have a juicer? Place all ingredients in a blender with 1-2 cups of water.

Yield: 15-16 oz of juice

kale salad with apples + walnuts

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Happy New Year! I hope 2013 shapes up to be your best year yet – filled with health and happiness.

With the blank slate of a new year ahead of us, it’s a great time to reset your palette and bulk up on healthy, nutrient-dense food. I always make a point to ‘get more greens’ in January, and just stocked my fridge with kale, arugula and chard to have on hand for quick juices, smoothies, and salads. They’re naturally detoxifying and super energizing – which comes in handy on these gray, drab winter days.

I’m so looking forward to sharing tips, tricks, and simple recipes to feel your best in 2013 by teaching the ‘Delicious Detox‘ series at Whole Foods beginning on January 15. If you’re too excited to wait, watch me on WCIU’s ‘You and Me This Morning‘ tomorrow (January 2) as I dish on the series and share some healthy tips to kickstart your healthy new year. Spoiler alert: This creamy kale salad will make an appearance…

Creamy Kale Salad with Apples + Toasted Walnuts

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ avocado
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 small apple, sliced
1/4 cup toasted walnuts

Procedure:

Remove stems from kale and finely chop; place in bowl. Add lemon, olive oil, avocado, and salt to kale. Use clean hands and ‘massage’ kale until bright green. Adjust seasonings to taste, and add in apple slices and crumble toasted walnuts on top.

kale salad with mango, red onion + pumpkin seeds

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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.