Not all salads need to be loaded with veggies especially if you’re making one that is primarily made of a superfood like kale.
Kale can hold its own in the world of salads because it’s dense, has a great earthy flavor and can sit in dressing overnight and not get soggy (perfect for lunch lefties!).
Kale is considered a superfood because it’s a member of the cancer-fighting brassica family (other members of this family include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts).
Brassica veggies are cancer-fighting because they contain indole-3-carbinol; a chemical that is said to repair DNA in cells and block the growth of cancer cells. Kale also contains a potent anti-cancer property called sulphoraphane, which is released when kale is chopped or minced (click here for more cancer-fighting superfoods)
Other qualities that classify kale as a superfood:
– High in beta-carotene, which is important for healthy eyes, skin, hair & nails
– Great source of vitamin C, K, non-heme iron and calcium
– Rich in chlorophyll (“more like borophyll” – for all the Billy Madison fans out there), – the green pigment in plants, which enhances the delivery of oxygen to our cells supporting their optimal function, and healthy cells = a healthy body
– Lowers bad LDL cholesterol
– Decreases the absorption of fat
– Highly alkaline. Without getting too deep into this; it’s important to try and maintain a body pH of about 7.4 (indicates good balance of acid & alkaline). Most people’s pH levels are too acidic, which can lead to lowered immune function, bad moods, low energy, disrupted sleep, and poor assimilation of nutrients. Acidic pH levels in the body are the result of diets high in meat, dairy, sugar, pasta, alcohol, coffee and all processed & refined foods.
To maintain proper health it’s always better to be more alkaline, and include foods like raw veggies, leafy greens, fresh fruit, lemon juice, oatmeal, almonds & quinoa. Click here to read more about the important acid/alkaline balance.
– Kale is one of the only veggies that retain its nutrients when steamed, roasted or sautéed. Like most things; boiling will remove all its nutrients.
That being said, the most nutritious way to eat kale is raw in a salad or hummus. Here’s the recipe for a super simple kale salad that will make a healthy side-dish to any main. And because it’s an alkaline food; it’s even better to eat it with an acidic food to keep things balanced!
Simple Kale Salad
1 head organic kale, shredded*
¼ cup shredded Asiago cheese
½ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp real maple syrup or unpasteurized honey
Sea salt & pepper
*shredding breaks kale down making it more paletable
Tear kale leaves off the stem (discard stems) and wash & dry in a salad spinner (make sure kale is completely dry).
Using a food processor, pulse kale leaves until shredded (don’t go too far, or you’ll end up with a kale paste!). Depending on the size of your processor you may have to shred the entire head in a few batches (alternatively you can shred using a knife).
Place shredded kale in a large bowl, add 1 tbsp of oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Massage oil & salt into the kale for 2-3 minutes (this softens the kale; making it easier to eat).
Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt & pepper, and top with shredded cheese & sunflower seeds – enjoy!
Kale salad will stay crispy for a few days in the fridge.