I admit, I am kind of glad the holiday’s are over.
Don’t get me wrong, I am loving my week off from work, catching up with family & friends I haven’t seen all year, but I’m a little over the excess that happens every November & December.
What is it about coming home that turns me into a teenager again? You would think I had never had my mother’s cooking before!
Since I only return to Virginia about once a year, I try to cram as many things into one week as I can. This notion also applies to food. Making sure I hit all of my favorite spots, all in one week, is no easy feat.
Somehow though, I manage to do it year after year.
Gah! I’m full just thinking about it.
And that’s about the time I return to green smoothies & kale.
I mentioned a few weeks ago the magic of kale, and it is just as fitting as I write this today. There is something so nourishing about this little leafy green that wakes me up from too much junk and snaps me right back into place. Better than any pill or cure-all tea, I feel instantly better after incorporating more kale salads into my diet.
The nice thing about this salad is while it’s so very healthy for you, it also feels a bit naughty. Almost like I’m easing back into my clean eating plan for January. Baby steps.
I call this my protein-kale salad because it is loaded with satisfying protein. Crispy bits of tempeh, sesame seeds, and lentils. This salad will keep you full for hours- perfect for lunch after days of grazing.
Make extra of the dressing, you will want to put it on tofu, brown rice, or as a dip for vegetables. I sometimes even make it a little thicker and smear it on sprouted bagels & toast.
Creamy Kale Salad
6 cups kale
1 cup shredded carrots
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1 avocado, diced
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup cooked french lentils
8 oz. tempeh, cubed
1 tbsp. oil
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. tahini
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. white miso paste
2 tbsp. water- or more if you like a thinner dressing
To make crispy tempeh: Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large skillet. Add tempeh and spices. Stir occasionally, until most sides become golden brown and crispy. Line a plate with a dish cloth or paper towel. Spoon the tempeh onto the towel to absorb excess oil. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a small blender or whisk by hand. Taste before serving- depending on the brand of tahini and miso you might need more/less salt.
To assemble: Combine kale, cabbage, & carrots for salad in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. With clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale. Don’t be afraid to get messy! Massaging by hand helps to break down the tough kale! Add cranberries, avocado, sesame seeds and lentils. Toss together and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with crispy tempeh and serve!
You know what is getting me through all the holiday treats?
No, that’s not a typo. I have been eating a TON of Kale the last few weeks and I love how energized and happy it makes me feel! Kale salad, kale stir-fry’s, kale smoothies, I can’t get enough!
And it’s a good thing too. Considering how many sweets, glasses of wine, and decadent food I have otherwise been enjoying. I feel like the healthiest dietitian before 5 PM.
After 5PM? Let’s just say I’m glad I had a lot of kale earlier.
I love all the holiday treats, drinks & sweets but hate the way they make me feel the morning after. I swear I get a sugar hangover if I eat too many desserts. But, they are there and tis’ the season for enjoying friends & food!
If you’re feeling the same way, try focusing on meals you can control during this time, typically our breakfasts and lunches. Consume lots of vegetables, greens, fiber, and nutrients during these two meals and give yourself a break for the rest. This kale salad lasts for a few days in the fridge, perfect for making on Sunday night and consuming throughout the week.
Kale salad with wild rice & vegetables. Tossed with a lemon-dijon vinaigrette.
1 cup cooked & cooled wild rice
4 cups kale, torn into pieces
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup shredded red cabbage
⅛ cup dried cranberries
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
⅓ cup olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
Make the dressing: Combine lemon zest, minced garlic clove, lemon juice and dijon mustard in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Whisk for a few moments until the dressing comes together. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large salad bowl combine the kale, carrots, cabbage, and cranberries.
Toss well with the dressing and let sit for 10 minutes.
Living in an 100+ year old townhouse has its charms: Quant living space, decorative molding, ornate door fixtures, and I’m pretty sure it’s haunted. Not included in this list is the zero storage space, few electric outlets, and lack of central air. Our tiny window air-conditioner doesn’t get much use from October to June, but once summer rolls around it’s almost impossible not to turn it on. I swear, most nights I feel like I should be renting out our living room to a hot yoga studio or sauna.
I will also freely admit that we go out to eat a lot more often during the warmer months as turning on the oven makes the entire house an inferno well into the wee-hours of the morning. Therefore, you’ll see why I was very excited to see this month’s Recipe Redux theme: No Cook Meals. Please, I’ve been doing just that since June 1st! This is a rotating favorite and I cannot get enough of it. Lighter than most greek salads, you’ll want to add this to your favorite summer no-cook salad recipes.
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Scant 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (use the good stuff)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. juice from Kalamata olives, below
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can White Northern beans (Cannellini beans), rinsed and drained
1 English cucumber (or other thin-skinned variety), seeded and sliced into chunks
2 bell-peppers (red, yellow, orange, preferably), diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and rough chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Tofu-feta or Feta cheese- optional
Place the vegetables and feta (if using) into a large bowl. Combine all of the marinade ingredients except for the olive oil. Slowly whisk the olive oil into the marinade ingredients until thick. Pour over the vegetables and let sit for at least 1 hour.
To make this even more “light,” pour out the marinade that has shifted to the bottom of the bowl.
I love the idea of buffalo-sauce coated anything. Seriously, the heat and buttery goodness taste amazing on any food: tofu, tempeh, or straight out of the bottle. BL and I are huge buffalo fans and make nuggets often during the fall for football games. A big pile of those, homemade ranch, and beer is my favorite way to spend a lazy saturday. But, health reasons included, those days are very far and few between.
My sister was visiting a few weeks ago and as a somewhat new vegetarian I was showing her how to use tofu multiple ways. I started of with this version, the easiest and most impressive, lightly fried. As a fellow buffalo sauce freak we decided to make Buffalo Chix Salad because as everyone knows, eating lettuce with your fried tofu makes for a very healthy meal.
Buffalo Chix Salad
1 16 oz. container extra firm tofu
1/2 cup corn starch
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup oil
Lettuce- enough for 4 salads
3/4 cup shredded carrots
(I use this version from Morgan at Little House of Veggies. I add lemon juice to it as well. It’s so addictive we affectionately call it vegan crack in my house).
Start by pressing the tofu. There are lot’s of ways to do this, I just drain the water from the tofu, wrap the block in a kitchen towel, place it on a plate and set a sauce pan with heavy cans on top. Keep it like this for 10-15 minutes while you shred the carrots, prep the salad and make the dressing.
Prep salad: combine shredded carrots, lettuce, avocodo and whatever other vegetables you want.
Make the dressing: follow directions from LHOF.
Unwrap the tofu and cut into small, bite size cubes. Combine the corn starch and salt on a large plate.
Heat a skillet, I like my cast-iron pan for this, to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add 1/4 cup canola oil.
Dredge the tofu in the corn starch mixture and place in the skillet. Let cook until golden on one side and flip with tongs, continue to cook the rest of the tofu mixture like this.
Place on paper-towel to drain when finished.
Melt the butter and combine with the buffalo sauce. Toss the cooked tofu with the buffalo chicken sauce.
Assemble: Salad, ranch dressing, buffalo chix. Dig in and smile.