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Wonder Woman/Superman Superfood Salad

Wonder Woman/Superman Superfood Salad

Curried Avo Dressing on Superfood SaladAre you still coming off that turkey coma from last week? Did you feast yourself silly?? Be honest – how many slices of pie did you do? This year we have the rare gift of an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So here’s a dish that will ramp up your detox, so you have plenty of time to retox later. I bring you the Wonder Woman Superfood Salad. Or is it the SuperMAN Superfood Salad? Up to you.

Those who know me know that I am about as far away from being vegan as you can get. Indiana, people. We like our beef corn-fed. Sugar steak. Brats. Pork tenderloin sandwich (smashed and fried to within an inch of its – or my – life). Seriously, if you don’t know what that is, click on the link to see a photo. The damn thing is twice the size of the bun.

Vegan, not so much. But there’s something you may not know. I pretty much stick to plant-based protein for the first two meals of each and every day. Along the way (and thanks to Lyn-Genet), I have found that getting protein from seeds, nuts, and vegetables (broccoli!!!) gives me more energy than a big ole turkey sandwich on white bread. No more post-lunch slugging around. A plant-based dinner is not so far-fetched; it’s free-will choosing to venture to a vegan restaurant that’s outside my zone. Luckily wiser minds prevailed and the good people at Mambo Sprouts hosted a lovely dinner a few months back at Zest Kitchen in Salt Lake City. Shout out to Celiac and the Beast, Just Crumbs, Tea and All Its Splendor, and Delicious Table, among others who made the meal so special.

Superfood Salad – The Green Machine

This superfood salad is somewhat loosely based on the dinner I had that night.  And with all the beautiful winter greens in the market now and feeling the need to clean up my act before I do it again, this seems to be the perfect time to hit you with it and get you jamming on my superfood wavelength. Consider this an un-recipe. I don’t give proportions because you can do that. You also are not remotely locked in to all – or even any – of the ingredients I list. So please don’t be daunted by the long string of ingredients below. They are all chef’s choice. Being the overachiever that I am, I may have used all those things listed (I did!) in one salad. Don’t judge. To be fair, I was filling a salad bowl the size of a hula hoop and serving about 30.

One of my favorite dark leafy greens is Tuscan kale. You may also know it as lacinato. Or dino. Or dinosaur. Or black. Or cavolo nero. It goes by so many names. A few years ago, recipes called for you to massage it with salt, but the way I see it…I don’t get salt scrubs and there’s no way my kale is getting better treatment than I. Just sayin’. As with all coarse greens, I stack them (having removed any tough ribs), roll tightly, and cut into the thinnest ribbons. This keeps you from getting a big bite of woody, tough greens.

Power Greens Superfood

So many of the fancier greens now are available in baby style. Check out this gorgeous baby kale I found at the winter farmers’ market. It needs nothing more than a quick rinse and a turn in the salad spinner. Dark leafy greens are all high in nutrients, but are especially rich in Vitamin K, iron and calcium, essential for building healthy bones. Eating these greens raw maintains the high levels of all nutrients.
Market Greens, Baby Kale

Adding Crunch

Once you have picked your greens for the base, play around with what I call the chunkies. Grated vegetables that add contrast in color, texture and taste. I used grated carrots, turnips, purple cabbage, some steamed and chopped broccolini, and avocados. Ultimately it will all get tossed together, but it’s nice to present it composed so you can show off all the wonderful choices you have made, at least when it comes to salads.

Composed Superfood Salad

Power of Protein

Giving up on meat doesn’t mean going protein-free. Did you know that pumpkin seeds have about 9 grams of protein per ounce? That’s only a small handful. And hemp hearts are slightly higher – 10 grams per ounce. Those are the mainstays of my daytime meals, along with some sunflower seeds, chia and flax. Sometimes I add lentils or quinoa to the salad. Both require cooking – pretty fast – and both bring additional protein.

Assembling Superfood Salad
And I love microgreens. These jewels have been popping up in restaurants in recent years as a delicate garnish to sandwiches, salads and entrees. But in fact they are not so delicate when it comes to flavor and nutrition. Their nutritional value is about five times higher than their older sisters, and the flavor they deliver is quite concentrated. Have you ever tried a radish microgreen? Wowza! In the lifecycle of greens, microgreens come between sprouts and baby leaves or baby vegetables. Give them a whirl next time you see them.
Micro Sprouts

Curried Avo Dressing

Because there are a lot of textures in this salad, I wanted a creamy dressing to pull it together. And because many of the ingredients are a bit earthy, I wanted a bright flavor profile in that dressing. Avocado brings the creamy, and curried spices – cumin, coriander, and turmeric – bring the bright flavors, with an underlying earthiness that matches up with the greens. Because this dressing was made for a lot of hearty, sometimes bitter greens, I did not use a light hand in the flagrant flavor department. If you want to use this dressing on a lighter dish – say a chicken salad – you might want to cut back on the garlic and red pepper flakes. Then again, the full flavor version in the recipe below might turn your chicken salad into something pretty special. This is the best curried avo dressing around. Toasting the spices first brings depth of flavor and makes this dressing sing. 

Don’t limit it to a green salad – veggie dipper, sandwich slather, pita topper, fish sauce-r. Go! Now!

Creamy Curried Avocado Dressing

To add a little pop of sweetness to balance the full flavored dressing, I threw in a handful of golden raisins. It is a nice little surprise for the old tastebuds.

Lots of Superfood Protein

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Curried Avo Dressing with Super Greens

Wonder Woman Superfood Salad with Curried Avocado Dressing


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Yield: Chef's Choice

Description

This superfood salad with creamy dreamy curried avo dressing will make you feel good about every decision you have ever made. It’s mean, it’s green, it’s vegan, and it’s chock-full of protein. But forget all that, it’s super delicious and oh so satisfying. 

 

Ingredients

Scale

Greens

  • Tuscan kale (aka lacinato, dino, cavolo nero or black kale), cut in thin ribbons
  • Rainbow chard, sliced
  • Baby kale
  • Spinach, chopped
  • Arugula, torn
  • Watercress
  • Pea shoots

Veggies

  • Grated carrots
  • Grated turnips
  • Grated radishes
  • Purple cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Steamed broccolini, chopped
  • Avocado, chopped

Plant-based Proteins

  • Quinoa, cooked according to package
  • Beluga lentils, cooked according to package
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp hearts
  • Chia

Toppings

  • Golden raisins
  • Microgreens

Curried Avocado Dressing

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water, or as needed

Instructions

Make the Dressing:

In a small sauté pan, toast the cumin, coriander and turmeric for about one minute, until fragrant.

With the motor running, drop the garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Turn off and add the avocados, pulsing a few times to a chunky puree. Add the vinegar, toasted spices, salt and peppers and pulse several times until combined.

With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until smooth, adding water as needed to desired consistency.

Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container until ready to use. 

Assemble the Salad:

Combine any or all of the ingredients listed, arranging colorfully in a large serving bowl. 

Drizzle with the curried avocado dressing and toss to coat the vegetables. 

Notes

Makes 2 1/2 cups dressing. Store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

This dressing is designed for a hearty green and grain salad so is aggressively seasoned. If you want to use this creamy green goodness in a more delicate dish, cut back on the spices and garlic a bit.

If you don’t have white balsamic, use another mildly flavored and light colored vinegar, like rice vinegar.

Curried Avo Dressing is wonderful as veggie dip, a sandwich spread, fajita topper, potato salad dressing and so much more.

  • Category: Entree, Salad
  • Cuisine: Vegan

How powered up are you now? I promise if you dive right in to the Wonder Woman Superfood Salad, you will feel good about every decision you’ve ever made.

Dressing the Superfoods

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2017. All rights reserved.

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Harvest Grains Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Harvest Grains Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

When I find something that will change  your life – FOREVER – I must share. I’m not such a fan of pre-seasoned packages, like those dried bean soup mixes loaded with some heavy doses of sodium, but I recently stumbled across this beauty at Trader Joe’s. It’s simply called Harvest Grains Blend and can quickly become the rock star of a wonderful fall Harvest Grains Salad. I wanted to take issue with the fact that orzo is a pasta  and not technically a grain, but I guess pasta started as a grain, right? There’s really no reason to get cranky, because this is a great Mama’s helper. It has Israeli couscous (the jumbo pearl size), three colors of orzo (plain, red pepper and spinach), split baby garbanzo beans (so cute), and red quinoa. The beauty of the pre-package is that it takes the guesswork out of cooking. You can easily make your own blend, or even just use one single grain/pasta. But if you are mixing, you need to pay attention to cooking times so you don’t, for example, throw couscous and wild rice into the same pot at the same time. Cooking time here is a mere ten minutes.

Harvest Grains

Israeli couscous and OrzoIsraeli couscous is larger than standard coucous and is slightly chewy and comes in a variety of flavors. Shown here is  a tri-color blend, including unflavored, spinach and tomato. The pasta in the center is orzo.

I hope you are taking advantage of the last of the season’s juicy tomatoes. I have detailed before how you can simply split them, put them cut side up on a sheet pan, sprinkle with salt, and slow roast them to concentrate the flavors and dehydrate the liquid. From there, once cooled, they are easy to Ziploc and freeze. I  use them all winter in frittatas, cornbreads, pastas, soups and stews, on pizzas, focaccia, and in salads.  They are a sweet treat come February, and now is the time to make it happen!

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a natural BFF to blue cheeses.  While blue can be made with cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk, all varieties share a common production technique which involves ripening them using cultures of the mold Penicillium. The green or blue veins are created during the aging process by spiking with stainless steel rods to aerate the cheese and encourage the mold’s growth.  It’s not hard to see where the spikes went in on this hunk of Glacier Wildfire Blue. To learn more, check in with our friends at The Cheese Lady for great info on many cheeses, blue and beyond.   

Glacier Wildfire Blue

For this salad I chose Delft. It’s a buttery cow’s milk cheese with a clean finish – a bit sweet and not too salty. This cheese comes from the Netherlands and is so named for its resemblance to Delftware pottery. The blue veins and milky whiteness resemble the lovely pottery, as if broken and put back together.

Delft Cheese

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Harvest Grains Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Harvest Grains Salad with Oven-Dried Tomatoes


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 - 6 1x

Description

A new twist on pasta or grain salad, this dish uses a Trader Joe’s pre-packaged combo and includes Israeli couscous, tri-color orzo, split baby garbanzos and red quinoa. While you can, oven dry some end-of-summer tomatoes and stash them in your freezer. They will add a nice flavor boost to salads like this, as well as pastas, soups, stews and anything else you might make this winter when the tomatoes in the store then will taste like cardboard.


Ingredients

Scale

Vinaigrette:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salad: 


Instructions

Make the Vinaigrette:

Whisk together the ingredients and refrigerate until needed. 

Make the Salad:

Cook grains or pasta according to package directions.  Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add tomatoes, cheese, parsley, and scallions.  Stir to combine.

Toss with the dressing and refrigerate until serving time. Before serving, taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more lemon juice if needed and adding the almonds.

Notes

I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains blend, but you can make this with pasta, or your own combination of couscous, both regular and/or Israeli, orzo, quinoa or other favorites. 

This salad is perfect for extra add-ins. I’m keeping it pretty simple here, but feel tree to add other vegs, bacon, different cheeses or whatever your little heart desires. 

Makes 1 quart.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Stovetop

Keywords: cous cous salad

Don’t you want to just dive headfirst into this Harvest Grains Salad? 

Harvest Grains Salad with Deflt Cheese and Oven-Dried Tomatoes

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2017. All rights reserved.

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My Big Fat Greek Salad

My Big Fat Greek Salad

Greek Salad with Quinoa

I created this salad earlier this summer – in part because it is so tasty (of course), and in part because it is a starch that is hearty and filling without being potato salad. Yawn.  Plus that whole mayo aversion thing I got going.  It made its first appearance at the Burger Pot Lucky.  And ever since, I have been getting requests for the recipe.  One of the great things about adding grains to any salad is their ability to stretch.  The ingredients normally found in a Greek salad are all primo, which is to say pricey.  The addition of quinoa gives you bang for the buck.

Red Quinoa

If you aren’t familiar with quinoa, get to know it.  It’s kind of a miracle food: it comes in several colors including black, white and red, cooks in 10-15 minutes, is high in protein, fiber, and folate, is gluten-free, and is a decent source of iron, zinc and magnesium.  First cultivated in the Andes (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador) some 4000 years ago (with non-domesticated sightings dating back more than 7000 years), Incans considered quinoa the “mother of all grains” and held it sacred, which caused the Spanish colonists to consider it pagan and led them to forbid it.  But, quinoa is finally having its day – the United Nations General Assembly gave quinoa its own year – 2013 the International Year of Quinoa – to celebrate the Incan ability to preserve this ancient tradition and live in harmony with nature.  Hallelujah!  It was the hope of the UN that quinoa would be a major player in attaining MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) and be instrumental in maintaining SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by providing food security, nutrition and aiding in poverty eradication.  And while you are getting to know quinoa, get to know the UN and its work on food security.

Meanwhile back in the kitchen: I know I can only ask you to pit olives so many times in one summer (looking at you panzanella), so here I am telling you to pick up a jar of an olive relish or tapenade or bruschetta topping – grab a product that has done the heavy lifting for you – and make that the base of your dressing.  I’m all about short cuts in cooking when possible.  Trader Joe’s has a green olive tapenade that I really like and it makes a super tasty green olive vinaigrette, but check your condiment section at the grocery and see what you have available.  If you can’t find something olive based, then try a pepper relish or whatever kind of bruschetta or crostini topping your joint offers.

My Big Fat Greek Salad

Quinoa Greek Salad

Green Olive Vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup green olive tapenade (I like Trader Joe’s and use the whole 10-ounce jar.  But you can also use any kind of tapenade or bruschetta spread, or just use 1 cup chopped oil-cured green or black olives.  Please! No California black olives in water!!!!)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper or favorite pepper blend (lemon pepper would be amazing)
  • Zest of two lemons

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.

Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container.

Makes 2 cups.  (This salad will use about 1/3 of this Vinaigrette recipe.)

Prepping the Ingredients

Greek Salad:

  • 1 cup raw quinoa (red or white)
  • 1 16-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ seedless English cucumber, cut in ½” dice
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces feta, cubed
  • ¼ cup each: chopped parsley, mint, dill and cilantro

Rinse and drain the quinoa, then add to a pot with tight-fitting lid along with 2 cups water or stock.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and cool.

When cool, add garbanzos, cucumbers, scallions, tomatoes and feta.

Dress the salad with the green olive vinaigrette, using about 1/3 of it or more, as needed.   Refrigerate until ready to serve, then add chopped herbs and check seasonings. I like to finish it off with my beloved Maldon Sea Salt Flakes. This dish can easily be made a day or so ahead, but add herbs and check seasonings and acidity at serving time.

Makes about 1 ½ quarts.

Burger and a Salad - a Greek Salad with Quinoa

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© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2016. All rights reserved.

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