Easy Raw Kale Salad

I returned from yoga today — sadly, my first class in about 9 months — and wanted to treat myself for getting back on the horse with something healthy, filling and delicious. I had the idea to pop into Natural Food Patch in Ferndale to grab a packed kale salad the Detroit Zen Center sells there. Just before I got there, I realized I had only grabbed my ID on my way out the door — no money! Then I realized I had kale at home and could easily make a version of my own!

kale saladI’m happy to report, it is DELICIOUS. I used what I had on hand and tried to keep it simple. When I finally tasted it, I didn’t adjust anything. You see it make a full large Pyrex bowl of it (7 cup bowl, I think). It definitely filled me up for now (I’m anticipating a mid afternoon apple or something) and feels great to eat so clean after an hour of sweating and stretching.

Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients.

Kale: Considered a “nutritional powerhouse” and a “superfood,” kale is low calorie, high fiber and has zero fat. It’s high in iron, calcium, Vitamins K, C and A, and cancer-preventing antioxidants. It’s a great anti-inflammatory food, fighting arthritis and autoimmune disorders. It’s great for your heart and is detoxifies your liver. (Understand the whole “powerhouse” thing now?)

Pine Nuts: These small (and sadly somewhat expensive) and delicious raw nuts are rich in iron and Vitamins A, D and C, making them good for your circulatory and nervous systems, vision, bones and immunity. They contain something called pinoleic acid, which makes you feel fuller faster. They contain heart-friendly monounsaturated fat and, last but not least, their protein and magnesium makes them a great source of energy.

Tomato: These guys provide thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and… wait for it…fiber! Not a ton, but one serving gives you about 7 percent of your daily allowance. Not bad for a little ol’ tomato.

Red Bell Pepper: Red peppers contain a lot of what tomatoes do, as well as tons of vitamin C (like 200% of your daily allowance in 1 cup), B vitamins, folate, fiber, potassium and tons of antioxidants.

Sesame Seeds and Sesame Oil: These tiny seeds are said to prevent and benefit the following conditions, among others: diabetes, high blood pressure, gingivitis/dental plaque, MS, antibiotic-induced kidney damage, depression and cancer. So, why not sprinkle a few here and there, right?
I wasn’t necessarily thinking of all of this when I started throwing things into the bowl. Some was for flavor, some was to make it more filling or interesting. But here I am full, happy and feeling good. Here’s what I put into it.

• raw leafy green kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
• 1/3 of a large red bell pepper, chopped
• 1 small tomato, chopped
• 3 green onions, minced
• 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. pine nuts
• 1 tsp. sesame seeds
• sesame oil — less than 1 tsp. drizzled
• rice vinegar — two small splashes
• celtic sea salt

Place the kale into the bowl, sprinkle with a couple of shakes or turns of sea salt and massage kale until it becomes dark green and looks “cooked.” Usually takes about 30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine. Enjoy!

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