Spicy Balsamic Kale Feta Salad

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This salad has got it all! Its got the crunch, the spice, the tang, the nutrition, and all the flavors a salad could have, including raw kale! Yes, you read that right but don’t worry if you’ve never eaten raw kale before. If your the type that will only drink it in juices or smoothies, believe me its delicious! There’s a technique to make it “palatable” while keeping it raw that I’ll explain it in this recipe, so you don’t have to worry about any bitterness whatsoever. The “feta style” comes from using Daiya’s block style jalapeno cheese. It really gives it that Greek cheese tang and boldness without being too salty. Who knew eating dark leafy greens could actually be delicious! Here is what you’ll need…

Ingredients

  • 5 large dinosaur kale leaves, stemmed (about 2 cups worth)
  • 3 cups mixed baby greens, swiss chard, kale, spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 1/2 cups red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms, lightly chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot pickled jalapeno slices, cut in half
  • 1/3 block Daiya cheese, jalapeno havarti block style
  • 1/3 avocado
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1 small lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic dressing
  • 2 teaspoons italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

kale stemschopped kale2

1. Start by stemming the kale and cut them in one inch square strips. The stems toward the bottom of kale leaves tend to be tough to chew so I left those out. You can save them for juicing if you don’t want them to go to waste because they do have nutrients.

softened kalemixed greens

2. Next, juice your lemon and add into the chopped kale with the salt. Then with washed hands, add your 1/3 avocado and gently start kneading the kale until the avocado has completely coated it. This process with the lemon and salt help to break down kale’s bitter green intensity to a romaine-like leafy texture. Its a messy job but you’ll get younger looking hands and a delicious salad as a reward! The avocado works as the dressing for the kale and also helps to balance out the flavor. Add in the rest of the greens and set aside. This allows time for the kale to absorb the lemon and soften on its own.

chopped cabbagecilantro n cabbage

3. Chop 1 1/2 cups worth of red cabbage and place into a separate bowl. Add the juiced lime, garlic powder, sliced onions, minced cilantro, and your preferred balsamic dressing. I used a brand with no gluten, cholesterol, or sugar. If the one you have has sugar, make sure its not high fructose corn syrup and that its listed as one of last ingredients to minimize the intake. You could also just make your own. Mix everything thoroughly so that the cabbage is saturated with all the ingredients. I also like to do this apart from the greens so that all these flavors could get trapped into the crevices of the cabbage and so they don’t end up at the bottom of the bowl!

mushrooms injalapeno tomatoes ineverything in

4. Now we pile up our kale bowl with the mushrooms, tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, and pumpkin seeds. As you can see, this salad is very “meaty” with lots of different ingredients. It will keep you satisfied a lot longer than having a salad made with mostly iceberg lettuce. Its got protein from the greens, immune boosting vitamin C, tons of phytonutrients, and fat burning benefits from the jalapenos. Your also getting calcium and a dose of B12 from the cheese! I ate a big bowl with a side of roasted potatoes for dinner and was left completed satisfied for the whole night! To finish, toss in your cabbage and the jalapeno cheese and mix everything together. The mixing will gently “crumble” your cheese to give it that “feta style” and flavor. Your done! Enjoy it. Serves 4-6.

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

kale salad

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