I get super hooked on something and can’t get off it for weeks at a time. Meet my latest love. She doesn’t look that special. Just another kale salad. And I’ll admit I even go through phases where I forget I like kale. (I won’t even think about eating those big hefty leaves if they haven’t been chopped up.) But then I buy a bag, run it through the attachment on my food processor to get it all nice and small and it’s the greatest thing to grab from every time I need my own quick dinner.
In my perfect world, we’d have a nice family dinner every night at 6 and I’d be trying out new recipes a few times a week. But in my real world, we’ve got soccer, church meetings, football practice, and life (eyelash appointments) that sometimes mess with dinner time and turn it into more of a churn-and-burn/get-it-while-you-can event. It’s sad but it’s just reality. And when I’m left to pick up the pieces after force-feeding everyone before they race off, this has become my go-to.
It’s funny because I’m so hooked on a sandwich for lunch and switching to a salad gives me anxiety. Like what if I’m not satisfied???? But come dinner time, something shifts and I don’t feel like I’m dying for the carbs or the two-handed hold I love so much. I love to sit down to a huge salad and get to pick at it for a long time while I rest my legs and brain.
And I love the flexibility of a salad– that I can literally build it to be under 300 calories or over 600 depending on what macros I’ve got left— and I can totally manipulate whichever macro I need to and still have it be a good full meal! I’ve got my base of chopped kale and grilled chicken, apples, or some fruit are pretty much a must for me… and at least a little low fat blue cheese or some good parmesan… everything else is a fun game piece to play depending on the night. If I’ve got plenty of fat I can add bacon, pine nuts, toasted marcona almonds (YUMMMM) or richer dressings or olive oil… when I don’t, I love it even just with plenty of lemon, sometimes on top of a little light bottled dressing. When I’ve got carbs to spare, I LOVE to throw in some leftover roasted squash like this parmesan herb crusted delicata. OR I’ll grab for the precooked quinoa I’ve always got from Costco. Or of course sometimes I pile it all on a big, fat, greek pita! Like these salad flatbreads.
This is getting so boring. But don’t give up because this part’s important.. YOU HAVE TO CHOP THE KALE SMALL! This is the key to life and everything you ever need to know.
Not really but it is the key to falling in love with kale salad. Everyone swears by massaging it and maybe that’s magical but since I haven’t tried it yet I’m gonna say it’s weird and who’s got time for that.
Just kidding because chopping it is annoying too but it’s what I do so DO IT. I hate pulling out my food processor and having to rinse all those pieces but it’s WORTH IT. I do a whole bag of kale, while weeding through and pulling out big thick stems (a must or otherwise you’ll feel 100 percent like a rabbit and your jaw will get sore from all the chewing and you’ll hate me for forcing you to try and love kale)… and then I’ve got a whole big ziplock bag of tiny chopped kale to pull from all week. It stretches so far and never gets wilty or slimy and sometimes it’s just the only green for me. And that’s saying something because me and arugula go so far back.
Anyway here’s what I did this time:
Chopped Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash and Crispy Shallots
- 85 grams of finely chopped Tuscan or Lacinto kale not baby kale
- 100 grams parmesan crusted delicata squash and crispy shallots I’d cooked it earlier in the evening for my family- make sure you get some of the crispy shallots in there too.
- 50 g diced apple I’ve learned with macros I like everything chopped smaller so it spreads farther
- 1 slice bacon crumbled (I use and love Kirkland precooked)
- 60 grams chopped grilled chicken
- 10 grams low fat blue cheese or quality shaved parmesan is so good too
- 1 tbs dried cranberries
- 10 grams red onions
- 2 tbs fresh basil if I have it on hand–fresh herbs make everything better!
- 1 tbs Trader Joes Champagne Pear Vinaigrette
- 1 tbs Bolthouse Classic Balsamic*
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Add the slice attachment (I’m sure that’s not what it’s called but it’s got one big slicer on it) to your food processor and run the kale through in batches. Try and remove tough stems before it goes through to avoid those tough pieces being mixed in.
- Put all the new chopped kale in a large ziplock (and pick up all the rogue pieces on your floor because this is messy business- don’t hate me. Now it’s over.)
- Add 85-100 grams of your new beautiful small chopped kale to your large bowl on your scale.
- Zero it out and add each subsequent item, zeroing out the scale between each addition. (Just making sure you’re not weighing each item in little bowls like I did in the beginning argh.)
- Add your dressings, and a good pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Toss… I find kale is better if it sits for a little bit in the dressing so I’ll let it rest while I clean up. If it still needs more dressing and I don’t want to spend the macros, this is where I squeeze plenty of lemon in there. (That used to be something I thought skinny girls said was good but PUHLEASE lemon is not dressing. But I’m telling you with kale, it really works. And grows on you till you’re SO SAD when you get to the bottom of your bowl.)