I love a super simple recipe of any kind if I’m honest but a super simple kale salad is right up there on the list!
Whilst chatting to people about their diets in clinic, I have found a lot say they struggle with kale whenever I mention it. They know it’s a good thing to include in their day but they’re not quite sure what to do with it…. aside from juicing it. There are SO many more ways to enjoy kale though, kale salad for starters!.
I think there are a few reasons people may steer clear of preparing kale…. but I think one of the biggest is because it’s a very bitter food. Bitter is not a flavour many of us are accustomed to these days, I would suggest palates are geared much more towards sweet things thanks to the introduction of processed foods a little over 100 years ago.
Bitter is one of our five important tastes – with the others being salt, sweet, sour and umami. It’s definitely one we want to get our palates used to because bitter promotes appetite, aids digestion and quite importantly, it helps the liver do it’s job of detoxifying the body. Remember those important points, because if you’re one of the people who don’t love bitter foods, perhaps they will make you fall in love with them just a little bit? Especially if you have digestive complaints or a sluggish liver!
Let’s talk health benefits this kale salad will deliver!
Kale is rich in vitamin C, and also contains vitamin A, vitamin K, fibre, calcium, potassium, magnesium and folate. It is hailed as a super-food, as it contains other potent antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote healthy vision. Due to its generous amounts of plant-based sulphur it also helps the detoxification pathways in the body – a property which kale shares with other members of the Brassica family including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
Broccoli sprouts are tiny little nutrition powerhouses. They truly pack a nourishing punch so I regularly include them in our meals. Broccoli sprouts are rich in an enzyme called myrosinase, which is required for the formation of sulforaphane that again helps the liver detoxify substances (1) such as air pollution, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, heavy metals and even some of our own hormones. These wonderful sprouts also contain glutamine, which helps protect against gastric mucosal damage in conditions such as Helicobacter pylori induced gastritis and ulcers (2). In addition, they are rich in vitamin C and also contain vitamin A, calcium and iron. So, put them on your kale salad, friends…. any salad!
Pumpkin seeds, are high in magnesium, which is an extremely important nutrient and one I often suspect people are quite deficient in due to a combination of chronic stress and lack of this nutrient in our soil. Magnesium is essential for protein synthesis, bone formation and the metabolism of food. In addition, it gives great support to the nervous system and is vital for our muscles to function effectively. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fibre making them a super heart-healthy food. And if you need any more reasons to love them, they are also an excellent source of zinc, which supports our hormones and immune system, as well as tryptophan our feel good hormone. Are you reaching for them yet?
So, back to our kale salad then, I know you’re now pumped about making it! 😀 As far as kale salads go I would say this really is one of the simplest. There are very few ingredients and you can whip it up in a flash so it’s perfect for those busy days / nights. So, now to ask you…. is kale something you enjoy, and have you cooked with it often? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section 💗
Super simple kale salad
- 1 large bunch of kale (either curly or Tuscan is fine. I like both)
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup broccoli sprouts
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 Tbsp* olive oil (60ml)
- 1 – 2 Tbsp water (20ml – 40ml)
- 1/4 tsp salt + extra for the kale
- To prepare the kale – wash and cut the leaves off each hard stem
- Gather the leaves together and cut into thin strips (like coleslaw)
- Sprinkle with a little salt (about 1/2 tsp) and massage until the kale becomes soft. This will be about 3 or so minutes
- Set the kale aside and prepare the dressing
- Place the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt in the Thermomix (or a food processor). Blend until the dressing is creamy (15 secs, speed 6). Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then blend again, 10 secs speed 2 and slowly drizzle in the water until it’s a nice, slightly runny, dressing. You may not need all of it. You can also just stir all these ingredients together in a bowl if you’d prefer. Just make sure it’s a little runny, as a dressing should be, and you mince the garlic beforehand
- Pour the dressing over the salad, add in the pumpkin seeds and broccoli sprouts then toss to combine
- This goes perfectly with grilled or baked meats, but is also delicious when served with a poached egg or two. Enjoy!
Just a final note: Some vegetables high in vitamin K, such as kale, may interfere with certain medications so it is best to discuss your specific conditions and circumstances with your GP and/or Naturopath before including large amounts of it in your diet. The glucosinolates (or goitrogens) found in raw kale can interfere with iodine uptake into the thyroid so if you have a thyroid problem, and consume large amounts of raw kale on a regular basis, you should again discuss with your GP and/or Naturopath.
* I use an Australian Tablespoon measure in all my recipes, which is 20ml versus the American measure of 15ml.
1. Fahey, JW, Zhang, Y & Talalay, P 1997, ‘Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 94, no. 19, pp. 10367–10372, viewed 2 December 2017
2. Chang, YW, Jang, JY, Kim, YH, Kim, JW & Shim, JJ 2015, ‘The effects of broccoli sprout extract containing sulforaphane on lipid peroxidation and Helicobacter pylori infection in the gastric mucosa’, Gut and Liver, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 486–493, viewed 2 December 2017