Are you always looking for ways to create a healthier diet for you and your family? I know I sure am, and when I saw the recipe for this fantastic salad at All That Splatters I knew it was a “must-try” dish. I read a little bit about the nutritional properties of kale when I posted my recipe for Zuppa Toscana and I wanted to find more recipes that include these delicious and vitamin packed greens.
It was Lori’s comment about kale that really caught my eye. She said that kale is touted as one of the world’s “super foods” and it has risk-lowering benefits for at least five different types of cancers, including cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. It comprehensively supports the body’s detoxification system. Kale’s extremely high vitamin-K content (“one cup of kale provides far more micrograms of vitamin K than any of our 135 world’s healthiest foods makes it a champion in anti-inflammatory properties. Lori did a little research and found that quinoa (keen-wah) contains more protein than any other grain. One website indicates that there are varieties of quinoa that are more than 20 percent protein, making this grain a boon for vegetarians. All this info leads me to the conclusion that this salad is indeed super food.
If you would like a quick and easy meal this week to balance out extra calories of your Easter brunch or dinner this is a delicious way to go. The only changes I made to Lori’s recipe were to cook the quinoa in chicken stock and replace the several tablespoon of water added to the quinoa with white wine. Next time I’ll use toasted hazelnuts instead of pine nuts for the added flavor and crunch. A little crumbled feta cheese on top might be tasty too.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa, washed and drained
- 2 ounces (56 grams) pine nuts, toasted
- ½ pound (260 grams) kale
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium shallot (about 50 grams), peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 ounces (85 grams) dried cranberries
- ½ to 1 teaspoon chili flakes, to taste (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (Next time I will use chicken stock.) Stir the mixture about 10 minutes into cooking to prevent the quinoa from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Set aside.
- Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry saute pan over low heat. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from the heat and reserve. (Next time I will use toasted, chopped hazelnuts instead of pine nuts.)
- Remove the stems of the kale. Stack the leaves and thinly slice. Finely chop the stems as well.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the kale and cranberries, stir, then leave to cook, covered, for about 5 minutes.
- Add the pine nuts, chili flakes, salt and pepper and leave to cook again, covered, for another 5 minutes. If the kale starts to stick to the pan add some water, 1 tablespoon at a time. (I used white wine for a little additional flavor.) You want just enough moisture to create steam in the skillet, but not enough to give you a sauce.
- Toss the kale mixture and quinoa in a medium bowl and serve immediately, or at room temperature. I liked it even better the next day when the flavors had a chance to blend.
I like this salad at room temperature so I set it out on the counter about half an hour before I want to serve it. It is delicious with a slice or two of asiago cheese bread from Panera Breads. Improving my diet is so much easier when I have recipes like this to add to our menus. The farmers’ market opens in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to trying different varieties of kale to see if I can detect a difference in their taste. I’m looking for more good healthy kale recipes so if you have one you especially like I would LOVE to try it.
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