Crunchy Cucumber Apple Kale Salad

I love eating from a wide, shallow bowl.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, any meal looks delicious and inviting all cuddled together against the lazily sloped sides of a pasta bowl.   Never mind one pot meals,  I’ll do some extra dishes to make me a one bowl meal.  bowls

Some of my favorites as of late:

  • steel cut oats, sliced banana, homemade yogurt (recipe soon!) and raw cashews
  • brown rice, herby tomato sauce, fried eggs, steamed broccoli, parmesan cheese
  • shredded romaine, carrot ribbons, sliced red peppers, roasted sweet potatoes, pulled chicken, olive oil

The possibilities are truly innumerable! (echo, echo, echo)

I’ve had this crunchy kale salad on my to-make list for quite some time.  It hails from the Sprouted Kitchen blog, one of my (any many others’) fav sites for creative, super-healthy, gorgeous and invariably delicious recipes.  So on Sunday morning, when my dad texted: “dinner party: 5 PM,” I knew just what I’d be bringing to the table.  dinner table

This diversely textured salad does demand some chopping, but aside from that it comes together pretty quickly.  The only thing you’ve got to plan for is cooking the lentils and roasting the pepitas (raw, green pumpkin seeds) which are both pretty hands-off steps.

crunch kale salad - ingredients

This salad is a keeper, meaning you can keep it in the fridge and enjoy it for a couple days. There’s lots of lemon juice in the dressing, so the apples won’t go brown on you.  I would definitely say this salad gets better on the second day, since the kale breaks down a bit in the presence of the acidic lemon juice and the flavors have time to meld and mingle.  Just remember to leave out the pepitas until you’re ready to dig in so they don’t get soggy.

How to make this a one bowl meal: a couple scoops of this salad nestled in with a hunk of goat cheese or feta and a hard-boiled egg and you’ve got yourself a crazy nutritious mouth party.  Shazam! crunchy kale salad

Crunchy Cucumber Apple Kale Salad

adapted slightly from Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients:

3 cups kale, chopped and stems removed

1 bunch parsley, chopped and large stems removed

1 cup cooked black (beluga) lentils: – bring dried lentils to a boil in plenty of water, then reduce heat and simmer until just soft, but not mushy

1 tart green apple, diced

1 sweet pink or yellow apple, diced

1 english cucumber, diced

½ cup toasted pepitas

dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Juice and zest from one whole lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

crunch kale salad 2

Method:

1. In a large serving bowl, combine the kale, parsley, lentils, apples, and cucumber.

2. For the dressing, put all ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake until emulsified.  If you don’t wanting garlic bits, use a food processor instead.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to distribute. Garnish with pepitas and cheese of your choice.

crunchy cucumber apple kale salad 3

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Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk

This is the book that kicked off my food loving, healthy eating, conscious cooking, nutrition fascinated journey.

cook food book

I bought “Cook Food” by Lisa Jervis about five years ago in a small artsy-touristy shop in my hometown of Cedarburg, WI.  I still like looking through the stained and crinkled pages of this small paperback book at the sentences and phrases I underlined and highlighted way back when.  And although there has been much learning and growing since those days, I stay grounded in many of the methods and sentiments that Jervis offered me in this short, friendly guide to health and planet-conscious cooking and eating.

All the recipes in “Cook Food” are approximate and flexible.  Jervis encourages readers from the very first pages to “experiment, try new things, make the recipes your own.”  Well I certainly took that imperative and ran with it. I barely ever perfectly follow recipes (gasp?!) and only break out the measuring cups and spoons when I’m baking.  I tend to use cookbooks as tools of inspiration: I mine them for new flavor combinations or seek advice on how to use an ingredient I’ve never tried.  But… I have to say this non-recipe cooking style doesn’t serve me very well when I want to share something I’ve made here on Funky Beets.  Case in point: I recently made this epically tasty soup, but hadn’t really measured anything in the process. Well, luckily for me (and you!) I do have a pretty slick memory, so I think this should still work out (fingers crossed).

cauli-curry soup

I’m sure Lisa Jervis would agree here, you should take liberties with this soup, add more of the ingredients you like, leave out the ones you don’t. Get a little artsy with it, and TASTE along the way.  Tasting your cooking as it unfolds is the best way to ensure non-recipe cooking turns out fabulously; I read somewhere American cooks don’t do enough of it, so let’s prove whoever said that wrong.  Let’s dip our spoons liberally in bubbling pots on their way to becoming dinner.  Just don’t forget to blow on your spoonfuls before you sample; this soup won’t taste as good with a burnt tongue.

Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee

½ medium sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 heaping Tbsp curry powder (or more!)

1 tsp crushed red pepper (for medium-high spice level)

1 Tbsp powdered ginger

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into chunks

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 (8.5 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1 (8.5 oz) can chickpeas

½ (8.5 oz) can coconut milk

water

salt to taste

toppings (optional):

plain yogurt

cilantro

toasted sunflower seeds

Method:

1. In a Dutch oven or other large pot, melt the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes.  Add the garlic and spices, stirring until fragrant.

2.  Next, add all the cauliflower and sweet potato chunks, stirring around with the alliums and spices until coated.  If you have extra time, you can let the vegetables get a little browned (flavor!) before moving on to the next step.

3. To the pot, add the canned tomatoes (with juice), chickpeas and coconut milk.  Now add enough water to just barely cover the cauliflower and sweet potatoes.  Stir it all together until the broth is mostly uniform in color.

4.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and put the lid on your pot.  Stir occasionally.  When the sweet potatoes are soft, the soup could be finished.  If you want to let the flavors meld a bit more, you can leave the soup on low heat for a while longer.

5. Taste the broth for salt and add as much as you like.

6. Depending on your texture preferences, you can go a number of routes here: leave it completely “rustic” and stew-like (would be great over rice), OR blend it partially with an immersion blender so there is some smoothness and some larger chunks (that’s what I did) OR blend it completely for a silky, luxurious pureed soup.

7. Finish by layering on your desired toppings.  Enjoy!

cauli-curry soup 2