Happy 2012! Let’s kick it off with pretty pictures of a hearty kale-based salad that will make you and those you feed very, very happy. I served this dish for six (adapted from this cookbook) + a few healthy appetizers over the holidays that have passed muster for regular rotation into meals. My second favorite activity – after cooking itself – is capturing pictures of the whole foods in their glory and making them look mouth-watering as the progression of the dish builds. Cheers to the new year, healthy recipes and food that only feels like you’re cheating on your resolutions!
Whole grain blend or wild rice, prepared (this is the blend I use):
- 2 1/2 cups water (or vegetable or chicken stock, depending on your taste)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup wild rice or whole grain blend
For the vinaigrette
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- cracked black pepper
- ¾ cup olive oil (lemon olive oil is quite lovely if you can find it)
For the salad
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped
- 1/4 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup finely sliced fennel bulb
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves removed
- 1 ounce feta (optional)
- 1 ounce Pistachios (optional)
Making the rice: Set a large saucepan over high heat. Pour in the water and bring it to a boil. Add the butter, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the wild rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cook until the wild rice has absorbed all the water. Tip for the grains/rice: When you think it is finished, tip the pan to one side to make sure no water pools to appear.
Making the vinaigrette: Combine the apple cider vinegar, mustard, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, pepper, and olive oil in a jar. Put on the lid and shake it all up. Vinaigrette is done.
Finishing the salad: When the rice/grains is warm to the touch but not steaming, combine all the vegetables together in a large bowl. Spoon the rice in equal amounts around the perimeter of the bowl and begin to toss the salad. Dress with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Toss the salad a second time. Taste (duh – the reason we cook is to be the taste-testers, right!?!). Season with more vinaigrette, salt and pepper, a little lemon juice, or whatever your chef intuitions says the salad needs. Crumble a little feta onto the salad, along with the pistachios. Give it one final toss with all the ingredients before serving. Try to fend away people going back for seconds… and learn to double the recipe the next time you make this dish!
If you’re looking for additional green recipes for your new year there are plenty on the site – try this kale + pomegranate salad, green juice recipes found exclusively on the WELL in L.A. Facebook Page or download the primer on leafy greens complete with recipe links for each variety. All in support of your goal to be an amazing you this new year! I’d LOVE to know – what’s one new thing you plan to try this year?
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