Friday, July 22, 2011

Kale and Chickpea Salad

Kale is quickly becoming one of my favorite dark green, leafy vegetables. I know for a fact, next year I will definitely be growing kale on my roof top deck garden. Meantime I've been buying it at the local farmers markets, where I know for a fact that it is organic, and grown without pesticides. Kale is one of the vegetables on the list of 12 vegetables that you should be buying organic. According to Environmental Working Group 2011 report, kale is among the foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. 

Kale is a nutritional standout in three basic areas: antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, much-needed macronutrients, like fiber and omega-3 acids, and cancer-preventive nutrients. In addition to the above, according to our Food Rating System, kale is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin C, and manganese; a very good source of copper, tryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium; and a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, protein, vitamin B1, folate, phosphorous, and vitamin B3. If you would like to get more information about kale and it's full nutritional value visit WHFoods website, where you can find tons of useful information.

Incorporating kale into your every day diet is actually quite easy. You can start with recipes that called for sauteed spinach, and replace the spinach with kale, or just mix both of them together. I like to use raw kale in my salads. Just make sure to cut out the hard stem first, and then you can just chop or tore the leaves into pieces.

One of my favorites is quick and easy kale and chickpea salad. There will be a separate post about chickpeas, as they deserve to be in the spotlight on their own.

Thursday's farmers markets at Daley Plaza in Chicago is where I usually spend my lunchtime. Picking up fresh fruit and veggies makes me super happy. I don't ever have a specific plan, or a menu, just pick up what looks and smells good that day. This is how I ended up with two big bags of fresh kale, four huge tomatoes, white sweet onions, few bunches of fresh herbs and a variety of fruit.
Once I got home, I placed all my veggies on the counter top and that's where this idea was born. I was hungry for kale and chickpeas! So, why not make a salad with those two star ingredients.

Vegan Kale and Chickpea Salad

  • 1 bunch of raw, washed and chopped kale
  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (1 can)
  • 2 cups of black eyed peas (1 can)
  • 2 large tomato, diced
  • 1/2 of large onion, diced (or more)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh curly parsley, chopped
  • vegetable oil to drizzle
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • few springs of fresh thyme (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, and pretty much the salad is ready to eat. If you want the kale to wilt a little bit more, you can refrigerate the salad for an hour before serving. Taste wonderful the next day also. This is a perfect salad for a potluck.

I hope you give it a try sometime. Tastes wonderful, and it's full of healthy, nutritional ingredients.

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