Start the New Year Healthy: Kale Salad Recipes

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If you think you’ve been seeing and hearing a lot about kale recently, you’re not imagining it. In fact, it’s appearing everywhere from menus at your favorite restaurants to the shelves of your favorite grocery store (Nino’s).

Why?

It’s because it’s good for you. I mean like super good for you. Kale is the latest (and perhaps greatest) wonder green to hit the salad scene in years.

The skinny (no pun intended) is that kale is–take a deep breath–low in calories, high in fiber, zero in fat and high in iron. It’s also a great source of vitamins A, C and K; filled with powerful antioxidants; a great anti-inflammatory food, good for cardiovascular support, helpful for lowering cholesterol levels and high in calcium. And beyond all that, it is also a great detox food.

What’s the catch?

Actually, there is none, with the exception of the fact that unlike iceberg lettuce, and let’s say–romaine, kale is a bit less tame, meaning a little more tart. This means paired with the right ingredients and dressing, it is actually pretty delicious.

Nino’s Baby Kale Blend

Part of our collection of Quick’n Easy Market Fresh Greens, Nino’s Baby Kale Blend not only contains the wonder green kale but also two other healthy greens (baby spinach and colorful Swiss chard), which give this blend an additional nutritional boost and a twin jolt of flavor. The sweetness of the tender spinach leaves and the spicy notes of the Swiss chard are perfect kale partners.

Ready to dig in?

After creating this new super-healthy blend, I couldn’t wait to feature it in some new salad recipes, the first of which will be available at Nino’s Marketplace Café at our Clinton Township location.

It’s called Healthy Honey Kale Salad.

Now, for me, salad recipes are always a little different from most cooking or bakery recipes. I like to establish a basic direction or suggestion and let each person tailor the recipe to his or her tastes. If you like one particular ingredient a little more than another, add a little more or a little less.

This recipe would easily serve 4.

1 Package Nino’s Baby Kale Blend
2 Medium Beets
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
To Taste Salt & Pepper
2 TBSP Honey
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Cut Julienne
1 Cup Carrots, Cut Matchstick Size
½ Cup Red Onion, Small Slivers
¼ Cup Sun-Dried Cherries
¼ Cup Praline Pecan Pieces
¼ Cup Honey Roasted Sesame Sticks
As Desired Nino’s Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing

Prepare the beets by lightly oiling them and then seasoning them with salt and pepper before roasting them in a 350 F oven approximately 45 minutes or until tender. Cool the beets, peel off the skin, toss the beets in the 2 TBSP of honey, and season once again with salt and pepper. Cut the beets into medium-sized cubes or slices.

Create the salad by tossing the kale greens with the honey beets, bell pepper, carrots and red onion; plating; and then garnishing with the sun-dried cherries, praline pieces and honey-roasted sesame sticks.

I think our Spicy Honey Mustard Dressing goes perfect with this salad, but you can also try it with any other dressing that has a slight, spicy sweetness to it.

You’ll also find our Baby Kale Blend in one of Nino’s pre-packaged Entrée Salads. Our Baby Kale with Roasted Sweet Potato has been a very popular addition to our Entrée Salad program, paired with Nino’s Spicy Chipotle Ranch Dressing (also with a touch of honey).

Nino’s Baby Kale Salad Blend pairs very well with a number of ingredients you can use to dream up your own salad recipes. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Grilled shrimp with an Asian-inspired dressing of teriyaki, maple syrup, cilantro and sesame oil
  • Orange and citrus segments with fresh fennel
  • Sweet grape tomatoes and avocados are tasty.
  • Tree fruits, such as plums and apricots, pair well.
  • Spicy peanut dressings make excellent flavor partners.

No matter how you choose to enjoy the healthy benefits of kale, Nino’s has everything you need to make 2014 a year of delicious food discovery.