Looking for a last minute addition to your Thanksgiving feast that doesn’t contain butter, heavy cream, or cream of mushroom soup? I’ve got you covered!
Aside from my favorite pastime, running, I actually really enjoy cooking. I’ve done quite a bit of reading, researching, trying things out, and as a result I am starting to get flavors. I don’t usually follow recipes to the letter; instead I read several recipes for the same thing, take note of similarities and differences and then do my own version.
While running this much, I am hungry. All. The. Time. As a result, I try to eat foods that fuel me, fill me, and help me recover. Oh, and foods that are delicious and won’t make me feel guilty for having seconds. Enter stage right, my utterly favorite kale salad. Yes, I am on the kale bandwagon. The quinoa bandwagon, too. Stay with me here; even if you hate kale, I guarantee this might be the salad to convert you … and your cranky stodgy vegetable averse relatives, to boot!
I could eat this two meals a day, seven days a week and not get sick of it. Seriously. So can my two-year-old. This salad keeps well, and gets better after sitting in the fridge a day or two, so make it tomorrow or Wednesday if it’s going to be part of the big day! Here’s what you need, and then a step-by-step to show you the glory that is this salad.
This homemade version is EPIC and easy, but use pre-made if you want to save time.
- 1 T minced garlic (about two cloves)
- 1/2 tsp salt (Kosher or pink Himayalan is good, but regular old salt is fine)
- 1/2 tsp pepper (freshly-ground really is better, but whatever)
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil (I like mine with less, but make it to your liking)
Mix everything except the oil, then add the oil slowly while whisking constantly (this incorporates the oil better so it doesn’t separate). You will have more dressing than you need for this salad, but it will keep and it gets yummier the longer it sits.
- One bunch of your favorite kale (purple, green, or Italian)
- Two carrots (I used the rainbow ones because they are lovely)
- 1/4-1/3 cup feta cheese (reduced-fat or fat-free is fine)
- 1/4-1/3 cup seeds (sunflower, pepitas, pine nuts, or whatever you have)
- 1/4-1/3 cup dried cranberries
- Freshly ground pepper on top
- Delicious add-ins: 1 cup cooked quinoa or rice (cooled), leftover oven-roasted veggies (butternut squash chunks are fabulous), avocado, grated beets, shredded chicken, or basically any yummy leftover veggie or protein you have!
Step 1: Cut the main stems out of the kale leaves, and then slice into thin ribbons (or chop fairly finely if you have curly kale)
Step 2: Add your vinaigrette, then toss well until the kale is well coated and starts to soften.
Step 3: Grate your carrots, then add them to the salad. Toss well; you might want to add some more dressing if needed.
Step 4: Top it with the feta, seeds, and berries, then more freshly ground pepper. I do not toss it before serving- it’ll mix as you dig into it. (I mix quinoa in before I top it, and add more dressing as needed.)
What’s your favorite healthy Thanksgiving side? Share your recipes in the comments!