Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Splendid Salads: Kale salad with cannellini beans and dried cranberries


Kale salad with cannellini beans, dried cranberries and Parmesan

As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli and cabbage Kale, is a nutrition power house! Loaded with vitamins A, K and C as well as phytochemicals beta-carotene and lutein that help lower cancer risk. Kale is often eaten cooked but it can also be delicious raw in salads. The trick to a delicious raw kale salad is to balance the slightly bitter greens with sweet and salty flavors. In this salad we partner the bitter greens with tart lemon, sweet cranberries, savory beans and salty, robust parmesan. The results? Divine!

My good friend Sarah, a dietitian and blogger on WhyFoodWorks, shared this delicious salad recipe with me and I am paying it forward to you! The best part about this salad (besides the super flavor and nutrition) is that it holds up for a day or two in the fridge without getting gross. Just about every other leafy green will wilt soon after application of acids such as balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

Kale salad with cannellini beans, parmesan cheese and dried cranberries
Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch of beautiful kale (avoid wilted or discolored bunches; probably not too fresh)
  • 1-16oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (also known as white kidney beans; while you may not recognize the name, if you've ever eaten minestrone soup, you've eaten them. If you can't find cannellini beans in your local grocery store, try Navy or Great Northern beans)
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1-2 lemons, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (as Parmesan cheese is quite salty, you shouldn't need much additional salt)
  1. Give your kale a rinse under cool running water and remove the tough stems. Chop into thin slivers and place in your salad bowl.
  2. Zest the lemon and add to kale; slice lemon in half and add juice to kale too.
  3. Use your hands to massage the lemon juice and zest into the kale. If you have a kiddo helper, he or she would love to help you with this step.
  4. Add beans, cranberries, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss together and serve!

Note: this salad keeps well and travels well; bring it to your next picnic, pack it for lunch or even try it at your next brunch.
Gather your ingredients; the parmesan cheese is hiding :)
Wash and remove tough stems
Chop into small pieces
Zest and juice 1-2 lemons (to taste)
Add zest and juice to kale leaves
    Kale is more tender after being massaged and lemon flavor is on each leaf!
    Add toppings
    Salad to go!
    I use a tool like this to zest the lemon and to grate the parmesan cheese. Do you have one in your kitchen?

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