Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter Kale Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I love R's piano teacher.  She and her husband teach piano out of their home, and the fact that they have four children themselves, makes waiting with G while R's lesson takes place, super easy.  Their waiting area is full of Legos and other great toys, so I see the lesson each week as a time to let G play, while listening to piano and do some reading.  It is close to an ideal situation.

At one of R's lessons in November, the teachers shared a bowl of this salad with me, because, in their words, "we thought you would like it."  They know my food slant, and man oh man, they were right!  I loved this salad…so much so that I tweaked the recipe a bit and made it for Christmas dinner.

Full of greens, healthy vegetables and brown rice, this salad is a nutritional powerhouse!  Just right for a healthy New Year side dish or light dinner.

Winter Kale Salad

4 cups chopped fresh kale, stems removed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 small bulb fennel, sliced very thin
1 small red pepper, diced
1/2 cup red onion, minced
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
juice of one lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or other vinegar)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the kale, cranberries, fennel, red pepper and red onion.  Add the brown rice, while it is still warm, if you are able.  Doing so will slightly "cook" the raw veggies and hydrate the cranberries a bit, improving the texture of the salad.

Add the almonds to the salad and mix well.

In a lidded jar, combine the lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, mustard and olive oil.  Shake very well and pour over the salad.  Toss well to combine fully.

Serves 8 as a side dish, 4 as a light meal.

Life is sweet!

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