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Tuscan Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Tuscan Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

acinato kale with creamy avocado dressing and watermelon radishes on white plateIf you are up on your leafy green trends or just caught this scathing kale obituary in The Atlantic last month, you might be convinced that kale has had its day in the sun. If kale-bully Amanda Mull is to be believed, nobody really liked it anyway. As a pro-bono promoter of kale, I’d like to speak to my client’s intentions. Chock full of vitamins, with nutrient-rich fiber and low calorie to boot, kale has always had your back. I particularly love Tuscan kale. It’s much less bristle-y and mouth-scratchy than curly kale which can be downright aggressive from plate to mouth. I, a committed kale-lover, find myself begging kale to just get new handlers. Or more accurately, to stop crying out to be handled. Let’s face it – we’d rather get a massage than give a massage, and all those needy recipes calling out for massaging kale were just a bit too much! #AmIRight? Bad PR, in my mind, is the ONLY reason kale gets the cold shoulder. We are smart enough to eat ugly fruits and vegetables to minimize food waste. We should be able to dismiss this nay-sayer dissing my beloved leafy green. 

This time of year (actually most times of year, but it goes so well with fall dishes that it’s more noticeable now), Tuscan kale pops up on every menu. To my tongue, Tuscan or black kale is less woody than curly kale and less in need of a massage…though my pal Mike swears he enjoys beating the kale into submission with a meat mallet. (It’s not entirely clear to me that this is really just about the kale.) Simply trim the stems and remove the rib from the lower end of the leaf, then stack and roll into a tight bundle and cut thinly cross-wise. That’s called a chiffonade. Voilà! Now you speak French. You’re welcome. I recently came across a bag of pre-chopped Tuscan kale at Trader Joe’s, and it was not salad-worthy. The chop was too coarse and it made for quite an unrefined salad. Save the pre-chop for a soup or stirfry. 

Tuscan Kale

lacinato kale in the market

You may also know this dark, wrinkly leaf with a blue-green cast by names other than Tuscan: Lacinato, dino, dinosaur, Cavolo Nero…..even palm tree kale, because the growth pattern resembles the fronds atop a palm tree. It’s been grown in Tuscany for centuries and is a key ingredient in the Italian soups ribollita and minestrone.

Bunch of Lacinato Kale

Creamy Avocado Dressing

All the nooks and crannies cry out for a creamy dressing that will gently nap the leaves. I grew up with Seven Seas Green Goddess, but have never actually tracked down an authentic recipe for one made from scratch. I, as always, simply grab what is on hand. It won’t keep long with the acids taking their turn on all things that start out green, so just make it with what you have today and make it differently tomorrow. With so much flavor in the dressing, I keep salad toppings to a minimum – some sliced radishes for a color contrast and a handful of croutons for added crunch. Tasty!!

Creamy Avocado Dressing with avocado, lemon, and parsely

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lacinato kale with creamy avocado dressing and watermelon radishes

Tuscan Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups dressing; salad serves 4. 1x

Description

Tuscan kale, very thinly sliced, is the perfect dark, leafy green with nooks and crannies to grab this tasty, creamy avocado dressing. Add a few colorful and crunchy garnishes and you have yourself a salad. 


Ingredients

Scale

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (non-fat, full-fat, etc. – your choice)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgen olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped chives
  • 1 clove of garlic (or more to taste)
  • Handful of arugula
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • bunch of Tuscan kale, very thinly sliced
  • radishes, thinly sliced – watermelon radishes if you can find them
  • croutons

Instructions

Make the Dressing:

Put the dressing ingredients, and/or anything else green and flavorful you have on hand, in the Vitamix or food processor and let ‘er rip. Scrape down the sides as needed, and taste and adjust seasoning.

It will keep in the fridge for a few days before losing its bright green.  Simply press plastic wrap directly on the surface and seal tightly.

Make the Salad:

Thinly slice the kale by trimming the stems and removing the ribs from the lower end of the leaves. Stack and roll into a tight bundle and cut thinly cross-wise.

Top with sliced radishes and toss with dressing. (You will have dressing left over.)

Garnish with croutons before serving.

Notes

Without the croutons, the kale, even when dressed, will keep for one to two days in the refrigerator. Enjoy your sturdy salad greens!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Tuscan Kale Salad, Creamy Avocado Dressing

Krazy for Kale?

Give these other kale delights a whirl:

Bunch of Watermelon Radishes

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2019. All rights reserved.

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Cobb Salad with a Spin: Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad with a Spin: Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad

It’s no secret that Cobb Salad is a personal fave. But how to turn up the flavors, yet keep the bacon, egg, and cheese goodness? Enter Sriracha Grilled Shrimp and Buttermilk Chipotle Dressing. Say hello to your new best friend –  the Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad. Perfection!

Southwestern Shrimp Cobb

If you only need to know one thing about me, know this. I am mad for late summer farmers’ markets. I will probably go to five this week. Okay, I agree…..a little obsessive. But, I have a favorite farmer (plus The Cheese Lady) for every ingredient in this salad. I’m not saying you have to do the same – or that you can’t just go to the supermarket for all this – but I AM SAYING you have to make this NOW. Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad is all about the season at hand! Fresh sweet corn. Heirloom tomatoes. Sprouts. Flowers. Herbs. Oh my!

Sweet Corn

The Classic Cobb Salad

Instead of debating where this salad came from and why it is so called (almost certainly a 20s- or 30s-era salad from Hollywood’s Brown Derby, owned by Robert Cobb), what do you say we just dive in? The classic has greens – often iceberg or romaine, chicken, tomatoes, avocado, hard boiled egg, Roquefort and bacon. In other words, what could be bad? You may find it already tossed, as well as deconstructed with tidy little rows of ingredients. While it barely needs a dressing, the rich cheese and bacon beg for a quiet whisper of shallot vinaigrette. 

Heirloom Varieties

The Shrimp Cobb Salad

I’m not gonna lie. I am a bit conflicted here. I have a passion for spins and tweaks and making the old new again. But the Classic Cobb is pretty much as good as it gets. I was having a party and wanted a make-ahead all-in-one salad-entree and I thought this would fit the bill….a real crowd-pleaser. But I decided as long as I keep all the favorite components, I could give it a global palate spin. Enter shrimp, corn, and chipotle.  Some of the ingredients were direct swaps – chicken for shrimp, roasted for marinated and grilled, Roquefort for Hatch Gouda, and shallot vinaigrette for Buttermilk Chipotle Dressing. Others were too good to mess with – bacon, eggs, tomatoes, and avocado. Then there were a few things I decided to slide in because I could. 

Plum Varieties

Look at these stunningly gorgeous plums. What a perfect sweet and juicy foil to all that buttermilk tang and chipotle smoke! Michigan produces a wide range of both Japanese and European varieties. Those yellow/green beauties are Shiros; the golden/orange-ish rounds are Bubblegum; the small red orbs are Methley; and the violet-blue ovals are Vibrants. I also added some corn which brought some more lovely sweetness, but bonus……….a nice crunch and texture contrast, as well. 

Deconstructed Shrimp Cobb Salad

I think deconstructed salads are among the few places where more is more. Most often in food, less is more. But if you are going to let people decide what to add to their plate, why not give them a variety to chose from? 

Marinating the Shrimp

Shrimp is an-oh-so simple thing to throw on the grill, and of course is good grilled and chilled, making this the perfect make-ahead entree. The marinade is dead easy – lime juice, olive oil, Sriracha, Tabasco and some spices. If you haven’t tried the Chipotle Tabasco, give it a whirl. It adds a nice smokiness to the marinade. I never like to marinate any seafood or fish for too long, because the acid will start to “cook” it. If you prep the marinade first, and add the shrimp while prepping the rest of the salad and getting the grill ready, you will time it just right. Then only a few minutes on the fire for each side, and you and your shrimp will be ready to chill.

Grilled Shrimp

Composing the Salad

The directions for the marinade and creamy dressing are sufficiently detailed, but I am leaving the quantities for the fixin’s – or even whether or not to add them at all – up to  you. How big is your platter? How many are you serving? How much do you love/hate sprouts? 

Just keep in mind colors and textures as you go to arrange your platter. It’s a bounty of beautiful ingredients so this should be the fun part once your chopping is done. If you need to prep things further ahead than when you want to compose it, just bag each ingredient separately and arrange closer to serving time. Your guests will be dazzled! Enjoy!!

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Southwestern Cobb: overhead view on a large white platter; deconstructed piles of avocado, corn, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled egg slices, limes, bacon, micro greens, grated jalapeno cheddar, grilled shrimp, salad greens and plums

Cobb Salad with a Spin: Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Description

This Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad is a kicked up spin on an old classic. A few simple ingredient swaps, along with a zesty marinade for the shrimp and a creamy Buttermilk Chipotle Dressing, and this one-platter-is-a-meal comes together quickly. What a great way to celebrate with the bounty of late summer!


Ingredients

Scale

Marinade (makes enough for two pounds of shrimp):

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Buttermilk Chipotle Dressing (makes 2 1/2 cups):

  • 1 cup Greek non-fat plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • chipotles in adobo – one big and one small, more or less to taste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves

Salad fixin’s (mains):

  • shrimp, raw, deveined, peeled and tail on
  • Little Gems, baby Romaine lettuce, trimmed and halved
  • heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes, halved
  • eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and halved
  • bacon, crispy and crumbled
  • avocado, peeled and chopped
  • Southwestern cheese, grated (I found Hatch Chili Gouda)
  • corn, shucked, boiled, and cut from the cob
  • plums (or other stone fruit), pitted and sliced

Salad fixin’s (garnishes):

  • cilantro leaves
  • limes, cut in wedges or halved, if small
  • edible flowers, like Nasturtium
  • fresh sprouts, like radish, watercress and sunflower
  • crunchy topper (see note)

Instructions

Prepare the marinade: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate, up to one hour, while you prepare the other ingredients.

Prepare the Buttermilk Chipotle Dressing:  Place all ingredients except the cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop, then process until creamy. Add the cilantro and pulse several times to chop roughly. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate until  you are ready to serve. 

Grill the shrimp: Drain any excess marinade from the shrimp and grill over high heat for 2 – 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and reserve until cooled.

Assemble the salad: Once the shrimp is cool enough to not wilt your salad, compose the salad using all the main ingredients, with an eye toward color and textures.  Arrange the garnishes on top. If you are serving later, reserve the bacon and crispy topping until serving time. Cover and refrigerate. 

To serve: Add the bacon and crispy topping and serve with the Buttermilk Chipotle Dressing. 

Notes

Crunchy toppers: there are a lot of different crunchy toppers available in the crouton section these days. I used the fried jalapeno slices, but you will also find the basic fried onion rings, as well as red peppers, tortillas and more. Chef’s choice.

Marinade is enough for two pounds of shrimp and Buttermilk Chipotle Dressing makes 2 1/2 cups.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cobb Salad, Shrimp, Chipotle Dressing

An Update:

I want to take a moment to send a heartfelt note of gratitude for all those that supported me spiritually, morally and physically in my Ration Challenge journey earlier this summer. Your generous financial support of this campaign put us at the very top of the fundraising leaderboard among the 40,000 challengers from around the world. Together we raised enough to feed 35 refugees for an entire year. Globally, that number is 16,829! Way to go!! With deep gratitude. xoxo, kk

Southwestern Grilled Shrimp Cobb Salad

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Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad

Before you hit delete thinking “Who needs a Thanksgiving Harvest Salad when I can have fat, fat, and more fat on Thanksgiving?” I am here to tell you – YOU DO!! I talked my friend Cozy into this a couple years ago and I know it was a hit because she called me brilliant. I don’t often forget those who think I am brilliant. 🙂  As she quickly found out, this is all about the herbs. If I didn’t have to measure them for a printed recipe, I might just call for a crap-ton. You’ll want just that much. 

The Thanksgiving Harvest Salad is everything you want in a salad, lots of green goodness with just enough rewards to make it not quite a salad and a bit more of an indulgence: fall fruit, tangy cheese, and sweet and spicy nuts. Think of it as your cheese board dumped on some greens. Genius, right? 

Just as I was last making this salad, I found a new produce vendor on its maiden voyage to Michigan’s organic Sweetwater Market. I was squealingly happy! I thrived all summer on Summer Blend Gardens’ lettuce mix which included colorful nasturtium flowers and more. Highlight of the summer. But ba-bye, Marty. It’s fall now. Meet my new besties Caleb and Cindy-Beth at A Garden in the Woods. They bring the most gorgeous array of produce to this indoor winter market after spending their summer outdoors in Pentwater. How lucky am I? Even if you don’t live in the area, treat yourself by checking out their Instagram. Gorgeous. Stunningly beautiful!

Picking the Greens

For this salad, pick any assortment of greens you want, but I like a mix of colors and textures. Some salad blends at the grocery, like baby romaine, are heavy on young greens that don’t have much texture. So if that is your base, be sure to throw in some arugula or watercress. These add both pepper and bounce.

More Salad Greens

Even though I had no intention of adding radishes to the harvest salad, once Caleb told me these were not baby beets, but purple radishes, I had to. I just had to. Check out the cut radish in the salad photos – a gentle sponging of lavender fading across the cut surface. 

Purple Radishes

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad

I see this wave of comprehension starting to wash over you, yet I still feel your skepticism – salad with lots and lots of herbs for Thanksgiving? I wasn’t kidding about the crap-ton of herbs. For 8 ounces of greens, I would add up to a cup of chopped, mixed herbs. I know I am still in sales mode on this herby addition, so I am ratcheting the herbiage down to a mere 1/2 cup in the recipe below. But be bold. Go for it. Add additional herbs if you are so called. Cozy reported that she ended up with arugula and spring mix with lots of fresh herbs. “You were right! The herbs made the complexity of the greens jump.” So trust us on this. 

Lots of Herbs

Now that you have a base in place, my go-to accoutrements are fall fruit, bits of cheese and sweet & spicy nuts. I used apples here, but if you have ripe juicy pears, they would be wonderful, as well as figs or persimmons. And while I used Barber’s Vintage Cheddar 1833 (it’s white) in small cubes (more interesting texture than grated), a perfect pearing (get it??) might include a blue like Roquefort or Stilton. Persimmons and fresh goat cheese anyone? I made that once at the request of Florence Fabricant of the New York Times, using Indiana’s Wabash Canonball, so if it’s good enough for her…………

Like most things in food and in life, winning combos are based either on similarities or contrast. Remember my celery root slaw? It was both! I made all the ingredients look the same (similarity), so you didn’t know til you tasted that there were three very different textures and tastes (contrast). Celery root, white cheddar and apple – all white, all grated. Surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrprise! Similarity and contrast all rolled into one humble slaw.

For the vinaigrette, I chose a lemon olive oil and a maple Balsamic. Gobble! Gobble! I have also used a pear Balsamic when using fresh pears. When using flavored Balsamics, I tend toward a one to one ratio with the olive oil because they are so much sweeter than a traditional vinegar and don’t require a lighter hand. In this case, the maple Balsamic is quite dense, so I scaled it back. If you are choosing your own flavors, start testing with a two to one oil to vinegar ratio and add more vinegar, as you need. Because this dressing is special to this menu, I am only making a small batch, and I short-cut the prep by putting it all in a bottle and shaking before serving. A proper vinaigrette, as you know, has the oil added last in a drizzle so that it can incorporate and emulsify. We are streamlining today because we are busy!! Of course you can prep all your ingredients and the dressing a day or so ahead, except any fruit that would oxidize like the apple. Just keep the ingredients wrapped separately in paper towels and zip bags, and assemble toward serving time. 

Harvest Salad with Apples & Cheddar

Now that we have settled on this glorious, fresh and palate-cleansing salad, there are a few other things that you might need to get on that table. Perfect roast turkey and gimme-more gravy? Check. Goat cheese and thyme mashed potatoes. Done. Brussels sprouts and prosciutto. You bet. And some delish cranberry ginger kumquat chutney. Done,done, done. All that is left is a winning Tennessee whiskey pumpkin ginger cheesecake. I have got you covered. All these recipes, complete with tips and must have equipment – looking at you potato ricer – are linked below. 

I will be back in a few days with another dessert idea – a Bourbon-laced Apple Crisp – so check back in. Above all, remember we are giving thanks in an extra special way right now – so take a deep breath, be grateful that you have food to cook with and people to cook for, and leave that stress at the grocery check out lane. And if Dear Abby were around, she’d probably ask you to put a basket at the door for cell phones and ask your friends and family for the gift of presence. Enjoy this week with a heart full of gratitude. Be back soon. 

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Harvest Salad overhead shot On a white plate with candied pecans, mixed greens, apple chunks and cheddar chunks, with purple radish slices

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

Description

The Thanksgiving Harvest Salad is everything you want in a salad, lots of green goodness with just enough rewards to make it not quite a salad and a bit more of an indulgence: fall fruit, tangy cheese, and sweet and spicy nuts. Think of it as your cheese board dumped on some greens. Genius, right? 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 pound mixed greens, 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs, including parsley, cilantro, dill and mint
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped, or other fall fruit such as pears, figs, persimmons, or dates
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 pound white cheddar, cut into small cubes (I use Barber’s cheddar)
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1/3 cup lemon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-ounce package of sweet & spicy pecans

Instructions

Combine greens, herbs, scallions, apple, avocado, cheddar and radishes in a large salad bowl. Toss to combine. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Make the vinaigrette, by combining the lemon olive oil, maple Balsamic, salt and pepper in a bottle and shaking to emulsify.

At serving time, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Top with the sweet & spicy pecans.

Notes

The herbs really define this as a special green mix, so don’t skimp here.

I always like to use a fruit for sweetness, the cheese for richness and a tang, and the nuts for crunch. All other ingredients rotate in and out depending on what I have around. The purple radishes were calling out to me and that avocado wasn’t getting any younger. Both were fresh new twists at Thanksgiving.

Trader Joe’s is a good source of several sweet & spicy nut mixes.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Thanksgiving Salad

Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Essentials: Roast Turkey Perfection and Gimme-More Gravy

Roast Turkey Perfection

Goat Cheese & Thyme Mashed Potatoes with a Thanksgiving Must-Have: The Potato Ricer!

Pot o Spuds

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots & Prosciutto

Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto

Spiced Cranberry Ginger Kumquat Chutney

Spiced Cranberry Chutney

Tennessee Whiskey Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

Gentleman Jack Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2018. All rights reserved.

 

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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

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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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Don’t forget to Comment, Share & Subscribe to our blog.