Food and Mood: Virtuous Kale Salad

This post is part of the series: Food and Mood.  Today I’m welcoming Dr. Debbie Sorensen as a guest blogger. 

Kale Salad: From Guilty to Virtuous

Every now and then I feel something that could perhaps be called “Not Enough Veggies Guilt.” It is the shameful emotion that arises when I realize that I haven’t eaten nearly enough vegetables for a while. What better way to remedy that unpleasant feeling than to eat a big dose of super-healthy leafy greens, like kale?

I am not one who generally loves the taste of kale. For me it has mostly been more of a “should eat” in my diet than a “want to eat.” That is, until my in-laws introduced me to this really yummy kale salad recipe.

Although I don’t naturally love the taste of kale, I DO naturally love the strong flavors of garlic, lemon, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. And a little zip from crushed red pepper makes those flavors all the better. When you marinate raw kale in a dressing made of those ingredients, it is transformed into something I can’t stop eating! And with all that nutritious kale in my body, my feelings change from guilty to virtuous, a much more pleasant state indeed!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.28.09 PM
I can’t guarantee that all children will love this recipe, but you might be surprised. My kids have been known to nibble a little kale out of our garden, and will eat some of this salad. And, it is a fun recipe for kids to help make- especially tearing the kale into little pieces and massaging the dressing into the kale.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.28.24 PM
I have modified the original recipe a little to simplify it:
1. I don’t bother with the breadcrumbs, and the recipe is great without it.
2. I don’t really measure the ingredients for the dressing. I just sort of wing it, and I usually go heavy on the garlic and crushed red pepper.

This is how I make it:

Feeling Virtuous Kale Salad
(Adapted slightly from the website of Dr. Andrew Weil)
1. Wash about 4-6 loosely packed cups kale. We grow Dinosaur Kale in our garden and it works well, but any kind of kale will be fine.
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.28.39 PM

2. Remove thick stems, and tear into small pieces. Even small hands can help with this task!
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.29.11 PM

3. In a small bowl, combine: juice of 1 lemon, about 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 or 2 cloves garlic (mashed or minced), salt & pepper (to taste), and crushed red pepper flakes (to taste).
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.29.23 PM

4. Pour over kale in serving bowl and use your hands to massage dressing into kale. Another great job for small hands.
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.29.56 PM

5. Add about 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese and mix into kale salad.

6. Let sit for at least 5 minutes and then it’s ready to eat.

7. Top each serving with a little more grated Parmesan cheese.
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.30.09 PM

Enjoy, and savor that virtuous feeling while it lasts!
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.30.27 PM

About the author: Debbie Sorensen is a a psychologist who lives in Denver with her husband and two young daughters. She tries to eat a healthy home-cooked dinner with her family most nights, but isn’t always successful.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 6.28.57 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.