Updated: Aug 18, 2021
By: Maria Harkleroad
Vegan. Dairy Free, Paleo, whole 30 approved
It's almost Christmas and we have all had our fair share of Christmas cookies and treats. I'm sure you're all saying you will start out new and purge of the sweats starting January 1st! But, why do we have to call off all hopes on a healthy diet over the Holidays? What if you could still be festive, while being healthy and feeling proud of yourself?
Today I am sharing a Christmas salad recipe 2 ways. This is a beautiful festive dish that is sure to satisfy just you - or a crowd! Put away that rolling pin, this salad is going to take you a quarter of the time, and win you brownie points (no pun in tended) for being the one who doesn't add to the over-stuffed table of holiday desserts.
I have brought different variations of Kale salad to parties all year - Wedding Rehearsal dinner party, Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and more. I am always shocked by the compliments I get from it by (ahem) MEN whom their wives/girlfriends deem that they will never eat a vegetable. But why is this? Isn't kale such a strong, dense green? Why, yes it is, which also means it is very nutrient dense.
The trick to making a crowd pleasing kale salad, which isn't really a secret, is to "rub" the kale. This softens the texture and the taste. My last tip is; home-make the dressing. My main reason for always bringing a kale salad is, because it is a dense salad, you can make it ahead and it wont wilt and be gross by the time dinner rolls around. I sometimes even put the dressing on it ahead of time. The density of the Kale will last at least 1-3 days, depending on the dressing and type of kale, even when it's rubbed and has dressing on it. So, it also makes for great leftovers, if there is any. ;)
If you're unfamiliar with what it means to rub the kale, it literally means just that. Its very quick and easy. Usually recipes say to toss salt and oil on it and then, for lack of a better word, mash it in your hands. If you're like me, and you want to avoid excess oil/fat for liver health reasons, you can simply just rub it with lemon juice. Salt is a helpful addition, but in my experience, its not always a necessity. Another option is to use balsamic vinegar - unless you avoid vinegars for similar reasons.
I know for some, thinking about making a homemade dressing can be intimidating, but don't overthink it. It can be as simple as (2 of my favorites) mashing just an avocado into the greens with your hands, squeezing a lemon over it, and then adding some mineral rich salt if you need to - or - mixing 1/2 raw honey with 1/2 Dijon mustard. This salad that's photographed for today's recipe had homemade Tahini which is made from sesame seed paste. For someone who has to have a recipe in front of them, I really encourage you to pick up this book. It is packed with healthier versions of all the dressings, sauces and dips! If you really can't handle making the dressing yourself, there is only a few dressings out in the stores that I would ever recommend buying, you can ask me about those! This salad can literally be made in so many ways, so have fun with it, don't over-think it, and whip it up in 5 mins stat.
Organic Kale, 1 bag
Lemon;, 1/2 lemon squeezed
Real Salt, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon
Chopped grape or cherry tomatoes, 4-8 whole sliced in half
Sweet red bell peppers, mini or large, 1-5 chopped
Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds), Ideally Sprouted
Avocado, chunked (optional)
Optional for using as a main dish:
Raw Organic Tempeh, crumbled
Pasture Raised, local Organic Chicken breast, grilled
Sesame Seed paste (tahini), 4 Tbs
Lemon Juice, 1 whole squeezed
Water, 1/4 cup, warm
Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Tbs
Garlic cloves, 2
Salt, 1/4 tsp (optional)
EVOO, 1 Tbs (optional)
Prepare the salad dressing by putting all the ingredients in a blender and blending it on highspeed. Adjust the amount of tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and water based on taste and consistency you prefer. Bottle the Dressing and set aside.
For feeding a family or a group, poor entire bag of kale into a large bowl. For just yourself, poor in the desired amount. Next, toss the salt over the Kale and squeeze a lemon over all of it. Time to get your hands dirty and get in the bowl and grab the kale with your hands. This is called rubbing the kale, or kneading. Once it has softened a bit, set it aside.
Chop your red veggies and sprinkle them over the salad.
Sprinkle sprouted sunflower seeds over the whole thing. You can also use a sprouted sunflower seed blend that you find in a bag at the store.
If you are using this salad as the main course of your meal, Crumble the desired amount of raw, organic tempeh over the top of the Salad, or a sliced grilled chicken breast. If this salad is just a side for a dinner party, omit the tempeh and chicken.
Poor desired amount of salad dressing over the whole thing, put a lid on your bowl and shake.
The toppings will most likely fall to the bottom of the bowl, so make sur to use a salad grabber and bring them back up to the top before serving.
* you can also make this with any other type of dressing and feel free to add other toppings :)
I like the green and red theme for Christmas.