Monday, March 21, 2016

Fiesta Kale Salad

I remember the first time I made this salad; my kiddies and I were clinging to the last few weeks of summer break.  My mom, myself, a couple of my sisters and their kiddies decided to head up American Fork canyon to beat the heat and let the kidlets play in the frigid river water.  Part way up the canyon, we picked a picnic area close to the river, set up, and tried to make our peace with the bugs and bees that also seemed interested in what we were having for lunch (and by making our peace I mean that we tried and tried to get rid of them, but our efforts were in vain).  After getting settled, we pulled out jars of strawberry lemonade (it was actually a mix of citrus because I ran out of lemons) and wrapped up the fiesta kale salad in pieces of whole wheat naan smeared with sour cream.

I remember my sister had brought her then new boyfriend (and now husband) along to meet the small portion of our family that was there.  I'm the oldest of nine and I'm guessing she wanted to ease him into the craziness and introduce him to us in small doses.  It was probably a good idea! ;) After we started eating, he made the comment that he didn't know something so healthy could taste so good.  I felt happy inside even if he was just saying it to be nice.

This salad involves a bit of chopping, but besides that it comes together quickly.  The addition of black beans and avocado make it completely satisfying and it doesn't leave you wanting say, a bag of chips when you're finished. :)

Fiesta Kale Salad

1 bunch lacinato kale, washed, stemmed, and shredded
1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), small dice
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 English cucumber, small dice
1 small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large avocado
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Sweet and spicy sunflower seeds (recipe below)
Juice of two limes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Kosher salt to taste

Place shredded kale in a large salad bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and massage the leaves with your hands until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant.

To the kale add, tomatoes, peppers, green onions, cucumber, cilantro, and black beans.  Add the juice of limes, olive oil, and hot sauce, and a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Top salad with avocado, feta cheese and a scatter of sunflower seeds.

*The dressing is forgiving.  I never measure.  I just squeeze some lime juice on the kale; give it a quick glug of olive oil, and a few good shakes of hot sauce. 

Sweet and Spicy Sunflower Seeds
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds or pepitas
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and toast sunflower seeds until just fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the salt, cayenne, and brown sugar and toss them around until the sugar is hot enough to stick to the seeds, 8-10 minutes.  Place sunflower seeds on a piece of parchment paper and spread out in a single layer to cool.

Recipe slightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

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