Loving your lunch lately? I usually don’t. I suppose you could call it a new challenge of mine, but I’m not getting crazy and calling it a resolution or anything. Dreading my lunch has a lot to do with a lot of things, but it mostly whittles down to a lack of good options. What can I eat that is good for me and actually tastes decent, and how do I keep enough of whatever that is in my house with 5 eaters. Let’s face it, more often than not this combination doesn’t come together very easily.
With all that said, here is a salad to change your life, or at the very least, your relationship with your lunch.
Yes, that’s right. I’m not saying you will feel like you are eating hazelnut butter cake with salted caramel sauce, our family’s Christmas high point, but I’m serious when I say this salad tastes so good that I actually look forward to my lunch.
Buy some Kale. I’ve been buying 2 bunches, washing, ripping and storing it.
This first step can actually take effort, I’ve bought plenty of Kale from unsaid stores and had to throw it away. Don’t give up. I’ve found it consistently crisp and fresh at Whole Foods, and the effort to find what lasts has been well worth it. If I wash and salad spin it right away, or store it in a bag with a paper towel or two, it seems to stay fresh and crisp the longest. And if you are like my friend Ben, you may even grow this in the dead of winter in Minnesota. What?? It’s on my list for 2016 or something to be mentored in this.
Take some almonds, chop and toast them.
I use about a 1/2 tablespoon of oil, toss in 1 cup roughly chopped almonds, sauté until fragrant and lightly toast for about 2 minutes. Obviously you can skip this step and buy toasted almonds, and normally that is what I would have done. But having tried this the recipe way, I am kind of hooked.
Slice or shred up a wedge of Pecorino cheese (sheep milk) or parmesan (cow milk) both are delicious Italian cheeses.
(The original recipe calls for Pecorino, and it’s also worth the effort to find it if you can at some point. Yummy!)
Buy a bag or a few large handfuls of fresh whole brussels sprouts. Cut off the ends and throw the brussels left whole in a food processor fitted with slicing attachment if you have it. If not, just chop them up however you’d like. The point is to get these babies shredded or chopped.
Make a salad dressing with 1 lemon squeezed–about 1/4 cup, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallot, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove crushed, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together and let these items sit and blend while you prepare the rest of the salad. When ready to serve, whisk or shake in 1/2 cup olive oil to complete the dressing.
For lunch, take a big bowl with room to mix, toss together 2 cups of kale, 1 cup of brussels and a tablespoon or two of dressing.
Toss the greens until dressing has covered your hearty greens. Dump it on a large plate and add a sprinkling of nuts and cheese as you wish, I usually do a large tablespoon or so of each. On a day when I’ve worked out or need/want a bit more protein I’ve added eggs, hard boiled or fried, or grilled chicken.
This salad is seriously the most satisfying salad I’ve had to date. The thought of salad for lunch has never thrilled me, but this may be my breakthrough. It is special enough to feel just a tad bit indulgent and easy enough to prep and store.
If you want to make it for a side like I did this past friendsgiving, the full recipe is below.
|kale and brussels salad with pecorino and toasted almonds|| |
- 1 large bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves washed and ripped or cut into bite size pieces
- 1 bag of fresh brussels sprouts or 4 big handfuls of fresh brussels, about 12 ounces
- ⅓ cup of raw almonds, roughly chopped
- olive oil for toasting almonds
- 1 cup finely grated, or ½ cup thinly sliced and broken into bits, pecorino or parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon squeezed, about ¼ cup
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- ¼ teaspoon of salt and a few cracks of freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Let this mixture sit while you prepare the salad so the flavors can blend.
- Set oil aside until the end.
- Take a teaspoon or 2 of olive oil and heat in a sauté pan, add chopped nuts and toast until lightly colored and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes or as you like.
- Remove almonds to a paper towel and lightly salt.
- Toss together your greens.
- When ready to serve, whisk the ½ cup of olive oil into the lemon juice dressing mixture.
- Add just enough dressing to the salad to coat the greens as you like, sprinkle on the cheese and almonds and lightly toss.
- Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Taste salad and season as needed.
Consider this the first, of what will hopefully be many more, love-your-lunch ideas. And by all means, if you have a great healthy lunch idea or salad, send it my way.