Eat Happy, Be Healthy!
Kale salads are often less than desirable. IMO. The kale leaves are either left too big and floppy, or it feels like you are a horse, chewing, and chewing, and chewing. Am I right? Well, welcome the massaged kale salad! By simply massaging kale leaves with sea salt, the friction gently breaks down the fibers, leaving the leaves more tender and easier to digest. Massaging also enhances the flavor of the kale, especially when tossed with a bunch of delicious goodies. Cooked cruciferous vegetables are often better tolerated as the heat breaks down fibers. Massaging the greens has a similar effect, while keeping intact heat sensitive nutrients.
Unfortunately, I know a lot of people struggle with gas and bloating after eating raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, etc). This is likely due to their high amounts of raffinose, a short chain carbohydrate that humans cannot digest, leaving a feast for gut bacteria. Cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are considered high FODMAP foods, and are often triggers for patients with IBS. Also, sometimes individuals do not tolerate cruciferous vegetables due to an abundance of sulfur reducing bacteria in the gut that like to feed off of their sulfur rich compounds. If you have struggled with severe foul smelling gas and bloating after eating cruciferous vegetables (or garlic and onion), you may want to consider hydrogen sulfide SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or LIBO (large intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
However, if you tolerate cruciferous vegetables just fine, then they are a great addition to support liver detoxification and hormone health. Eating one serving of cruciferous vegetables per day, is a great dietary practice for overall health and wellness.
Festive Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch green curly kale (~8 leaves)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons unrefined cold-press extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar (white or brown)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted maple almonds or walnuts (see below for recipe)
**Crumbled gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese
**Dried cranberries, raisins, or currants, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Wash your kale and shake off any excess water. You can also shake them in a clean kitchen towel. Devein each kale leaf by pulling down along the stem towards the tip of the leaf. Chop the leaves into bite sized pieces and toss into a large bowl.
Add the sea salt and gently massage the kale for about 1 minute or until the kale leaves begin to break down and look shiny. Do not over massage otherwise it will wilt too much. Add the olive oil and the vinegar and toss well.
Finally, add the chopped almonds, cheese, and dried fruit of your choice, and mix until combined. **Add as much of the cheese and dried fruit as you like. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variation: You can swap the cheese with diced avocado.
Roasted Maple Almonds
Makes 1 cup
1 cup almonds (or walnuts/pecans)
1 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Generous pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds onto a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Make sure to watch that they do not burn. Set aside to cool.
Heat a cast-iron pan over medium. Add the butter and the maple syrup. Stir the mixture until it bubbles a lot, becomes syrupy, and reduces in amount. Add cooled nuts and pinch of salt. Mix well to coat. Be careful as the syrup is extremely hot.
With a spoon or spatula spread almonds onto a plate and allow to cool. Break into pieces. Serve with the massaged kale salad or eat as a snack!
Are you kale lover? Let me know if the comments below!
I hope you enjoy my creative, flavorful, and nutrient dense approach to whole foods cooking. All recipes are gluten free.