Are you getting enough greens? Most people will answer “no” to this question which is why I’m posting this vibrant and nutritious Kale n’ Quinoa salad.“Recent research estimates that the optimal intake for reducing our risk of heart disease and early death to be around ten servings of fruit and vegetables a day” (source). We know we need to eat more greens but isn’t it easier to grab a hamburger, fries, or slice of pizza?
Are You Eating Enough Greens?
Greens are nutritious power foods but I fear we fall short on eating enough of them. In fact, I know many people who rarely eat them at all!!! To determine your daily green intake, consider these questions:
- Do you eat greens on a daily basis?
- When/how do you eat them?
- Do you eat a variety or stick to one type?
- Where could you add more greens?
- If you photographed your food, how much would look green?
Adding greens to your diet, whether you are vegan or not, requires intention. If you aim to eat greens every day (and ultimately, with each meal), you will cultivate a habit of eating greens regularly. How easy is it to go a day, week, or multiple weeks without kale, spinach, chard or broccoli?
Eating Greens Begets Eating More Greens
If you aren’t used to eating greens, you may not realize how enjoyable they are. This Kale n’ quinoa salad is a tasty example of how to start. Kale is a powerhouse of Vitamin A, C and Iron. Add cabbage, carrot and pepper for sweetness, crunch, fiber and micro-nutrients and quinoa for chewy protein (more plant based proteins here). Drizzle with addictive Tahini dressing and you’ll be digging your fork in for more. Notice how you feel afterwards.
You can also train your palate to desire greens. I used to dislike kale (hard to believe) but after finding better ways to prepare it, I now CRAVE it! Same with Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Yuck and yuck. Food aversions can result from poorly cooked or flavorless vegetables. Who wants wilted, mushy broccoli or Brussels sprouts that smell funky and taste like an old shoe??? As an alternative, try these recipes…..
Kale n’ Quinoa Salad Recipe
This kale n’ Quinoa salad is delicious, bright and colorful. The kale/cabbage combo has a cleansing effect. It’s vegan and gluten free and an effortless way to incorporate more greens into your day.
Recipe inspired by Kale Quinoa Salad from FitMittenKitchen. I’ve made slight changes but see what works for you.
Makes one large bowl (4-6 servings) and works well as leftovers. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3/4 days.
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa (**prepared as according to package)
- 1 head of curly kale washed and de-stemmed
- Half small green cabbage
- 2-3 medium carrots washed and peeled into ribbons (I use one like this)
- 1-2 red peppers
- 1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Dressing
Stir ingredients together in a measuring cup or bowl. Taste and adjust as needed
- 1/3 cup Tahini
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon)
- Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Tamari
- Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- Teaspoon dried ginger
Add quinoa to a fine sieve, rinse thoroughly and soak for 5 minutes before draining. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, stir in quinoa, cover and return to a boil. Turn to “low” and cook for 13-15 minutes. Let sit covered for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
Wash the kale leaves in a bowl filled with water and remove the stems (grab the stalk and strip the leaves). Spin leaves dry and place in a large bowl. Tear into small pieces. Add olive oil and massage the leaves until the soft (4/5 min).
Prep other veges:
- Quarter the half head of cabbage and thinly slice horizontally into bite size pieces.
- Ribbon the carrots with a vegetable peeler (I start half way down the carrot, and rotate as I go).
- Cut the bell pepper into small squares.
Add veggies, quinoa, and 2/3rds dressing to the kale and mix well. Adjust to taste (using more dressing or salt if needed). Garnish with sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds or cashews.