Thursday, 21 May 2015

Baby Kale Salad with Balsamic Dressing (Vegan)

Salads are one of my favorite meals to make. They're quick and easy, look bright and colorful and there are so so many possibilities. I'll eat variations all year round, but if salads have a season it has to be spring and summer. Whenever the sun comes out I feel like doubling my fruit and veg intake, somehow it just feels right.

Florette Salads have recently added Baby Kale to their range and it makes a great salad base. Its not as bitter as curly kale, which means its great to eat raw, and still has all the antioxidants, vitamins and calcium. You could always cook with it too though, and you can find lots of other kale recipes here. You can pick baby kale up in a lot of places, but its not in every single supermarket, so it might be worth browsing the stockists before you start looking.

I've put together this salad form the kale up. Its mostly green but bursting with good things. The Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds provide protein, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and iron, and add more protein. Avocado is just the best (and fully of health fats, potassium and fiber) Basically you'll get a tonne of nutrients and stay filled up. It's also veggie and vegan friendly.

I always feel a bit cheeky calling salads recipes, they're definitely more frameworks that you can swap around and change. I'll mention possible variations for this one as I go along, and do feel free to make it your own, but if you do stick to this version you end up with a tasty lunch for two, or a side salad if you're catering for more.

Baby Kale
Using kale is an easy way to add a 'superfood' to your diet, but other salad leaves would work, or you could mix a few together
1 tin of Chickpeas (400g)
Other beans or pulses would also work, and you could add some croutons if that takes your fancy.
8 Cherry Tomatoes
Tomatoes are great for adding colour, but you can go wild here to suit your tastes. Cucumber and carrot would work, but so would lots of other foods.
1 Avocado
A Handful of Fine Beans
Or runner, sweet pea, any green bean, asparagus, broccoli, you get the idea :)
Mixed Seeds
I've used sunflower, pumpkin and linseed. You could use just one, or any others. Nuts would also work well.

1. Cut the ends off the beans and string them. Then 'blanch' (cook) the beans in boiling water for two mins. Drain them and put them to one side.

2. Rinse the chickpeas and pop them in the microwave with a small amount of water for 2 mins. (Or boil them on the hob, whichever is easiest for you)

3. Cut the tomatoes and avocado.

4. Mix the kale, chickpeas, tomatoes, avocado, and beans together. Sprinkle the seeds on the top.

For the Balsamic dressing:
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 and a half tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, lots of black pepper and a sprinkle of brown sugar to taste. Mix everything together, and its ready to go!

You could also try the sweet dressing that I used in this recipe, or any other that takes your fancy.
Drizzle the dressing on top and you're done!

Let me know if you have any favorite salad combinations :)

*I was asked to make a Baby Kale recipe by Florette Salads, but all opinions, recipes, etc etc are my own. If you have any questions, feel free to ask :)


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