I’m a creature of habit. I’ll order the same thing every time I go to a restaurant, and I’ll make the same meal a million times until I can’t even accept the taste anymore. This recipe was inspired by my first visit to Glass House in Cambridge, where I ordered the most delicious salad that I’ll probably order every time I go back, and will now also meal prep to death.
(I know, I said there would be more than kale here. But in order for there to be more, there has to be some, so here it is.)
Many vegetables can be tough to find locally in the colder months, but lucky for you kale is a hardy, strong crop that’s in season most of the year. It’s one of the first and last crops to grow, harvested all the way until the ground freezes; all that plant power is part of why it’s become everyone’s idea of health food.
Most of my meal-prep salads involve kale. The leaves are strong and stand up to sitting in the fridge through the week, and it’s a massively powerful, nutrient-dense leafy green. If you’re not on board the K-train just yet I suggest you take a look at some of these awesome benefits:
- Kale contains plenty of calcium. Contrary to popular belief, milk is not the only source of calcium on earth. Get your bone health needs right here in a salad you can brag to your friends about.
- Kale is a good source of Vitamin K, which aids in bone and blood health. If you have heavy periods, it’s possible you may not be getting enough of this nutrient.
- Kale has anticancer properties. It contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane, which helps punch out carcinogens, as well as the same glucosinolates we talked about in brussels sprouts. All cruciferous vegetables are great for reducing the risk of cancer and are recommended by the American Cancer Society.
- 1 cup of kale satisfies over 70% of your daily Vitamin C needs, and nearly all of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A.
That’s enough about the K-word. Now for the rest of the main ingredients (I’ll keep it short):
- Carrots and sweet potato: Excellent source of Vitamin A, which is essential for so many functions of the body including skin, vision, and bone health.
- Pumpkin seeds (pepitas): High in magnesium, zinc, and iron.
- Quinoa: This gluten-free grain is a great protein source, high in magnesium and manganese that give structural integrity to your joints, bones, and teeth.
Overall, a tasty, grounding dish that is tremendously healing. Don’t skimp on the dressing – Vitamins A and K are fat-soluble, meaning they are best absorbed with fat, so let the olive oil flow.
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 carrots
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 small bunches, or 1 large bunch kale, chopped
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 400°. Chop sweet potato and carrots into ½-inch pieces. Coat with melted coconut oil, salt, and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes.
- While veggies are roasting, place water and quinoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover for 15 minutes until the seeds pop and have little tails. Remove from heat and let steam with cover on until needed.
- While both those are cooking, toast up the almonds and pumpkin seeds (optional) in a dry pan on medium heat until golden or fragrant.
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients except oil in a small bowl. Drizzle in the oil.
- Toss it all together!
Feel free to get intimate with your kale and massage it with the dressing before adding the remaining ingredients. This will help wilt the leaves slightly.