the return of kale + a simple Mexican kale salad

Hello everyone and happy October!  This week I’m sharing a kale salad recipe with a spicy cashew dressing that are both gluten and dairy-free.


Hello newcomers!  With each recipe I include a few tidbits regarding nutrition and cooking that I hope will help you become more comfortable cooking in the kitchen or perhaps boost your confidence in making decisions relating to your overall health.  These tidbits are italicized and in bold in case you ever want to easily refer back or skip ahead to them.  Read more about the story behind the blog here.

 

Here’s what we’re learning this week:

Why you should leave your sweet potato skins on

Are red bell peppers better than green?

How to give kale a massage (sounds racy, I know.  Just you wait.)

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It’s here!  It’s here!

That’s right, my friends, kale has returned to the grocery stores and farmers markets here in Germany.  After a long, long spring and summer without, we are now in fall and that means…well, you guessed it – kale.

I heard through a German source here that Germans are not accustomed to eating kale raw and in smoothies, and instead treat it like the cabbage it is and put it in stews and warm dishes of that sort, equating it with a cold-weather dish.

I was never a huge kale addict, but with having no kale option these past six months I began to realize how much I miss it.  I’ve been telling this to Adam and he thought I was being overdramatic until he saw my face at the grocery store, when I pointed and let out a whoop, exclaimed, “kale!”, and ran over to snatch up the 10 stalks that were left.

What to make with this precious vegetable of the brassica family?   I decided on keeping it simple with a kale salad, recipe shared below.

I hope to share another kale recipe soon, but I may have to wait…my last three visits to the store were un-kale-successful.

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Eating kale uncooked is a trial for some.  It definitely was for me, until I found out the proper way to eating it raw.  Let’s start at the beginning:

  1. DO NOT EAT THE STEM.  Cut off the leaves and compost the stems.  They are chewy and hard and you will not like eating them.
  2. Tear or cut the kale leaves up into the size you’d like to eat them.  I personally don’t like them that big, and non-kale enthusiasts may not either.  Then give them a good washing, as lots of dirt can get trapped in those curly leaves.
  3. Pat the water off of them and transfer to a bowl.  Add in around 1 teaspoon olive oil (sometimes I’ll use flax oil) and massage the leaves, tearing them into smaller pieces if desired.
  4. Continue massaging for around 3 minutes.  The kale will turn a lovely shade of green and will be easier for your stomach to digest!

I chose sweet potatoes as the kale’s main vegetable accompaniment, although with autumn in full swing a butternut squash might taste nice, too!  When using sweet potatoes, I prefer to leave the skins on (ONLY if they are organic) as the skins have a HUGE amount of nutrients that if peeled, these spuds could not offer. Nutrients such as beta carotene, an antioxidant which is converted into vitamin A in your body, as well as an excellent source of fiber, helping to regulate blood sugar and bowel movements.

And as for the bell pepper?  Red bell peppers are just ripened green bell peppers! They also have a sweeter taste.  Since they are ripened, they also contain more nutrients than the other colors, so it may be in your best interest to stick to red peppers over green.

Enjoy the recipe!  I always love hearing about and seeing your creations so please leave a comment or tag me #sproutingradiance on Instagram @marypardoux !

Simple Mexican kale salad

INGREDIENTS

Salad

  • 5-7 stalks of kale
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (or 1 15-oz can, drained)
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lime
  • 2 cups chopped and roasted sweet potato (skins on)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp freshly ground coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Spicy cashew dressing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour (8 hours is best to achieve a creamy consistency)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 TBS sriracha or other hot sauce (optional, omit for less spiciness)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBS lime juice (or lemon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 425 F/220 C.  Dice one sweet potato (skin on is best) into small cubes and toss with melted coconut oil and salt and pepper.  Lay out on a tray and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until done.
  2. Wash and massage kale as instructed above in a large bowl and add in 1/2 juice of the lime with the 1 TBS olive oil.
  3. To the prepared kale, add in the red pepper, red onion, corn, black beans, garlic clove, spices, avocado, and the cooled roasted sweet potato.
  4. Add in the other half of the lime juice, or more according to taste.

FOR THE SAUCE:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 1 minute, or until a creamy consistency develops.  Toss a portion of it with the salad (it makes a large quantity so you probably won’t end up adding it all.  Equaling leftovers, yay!)

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