We are inching closer and closer to Christmas… I cannot believe this year is coming to an end so quickly. Before it does though, I wanted to provide you with this festive creamy kale salad. Kale is a great, super-healthy vegetable that funnily enough Germans tend to eat at this time of the year heavily boiled including some bacon. Seldomly though is it seen in or consumed in its raw form here.
But Kale is absolutely delicious, especially (!!) in its raw form. This creamy kale salad is perfect for entertaining or a potluck. If you have never had kale in a salad before, it actually benefits from sitting for a bit. This also means that in comparison to a “regular” salad it does not welt as quickly and continues to retain its crunch. If you want to make this salad in advance, prepare the fennel, sauce, kale and chop all the vegetables, but keep separate. You can also already prepare the chickpeas and then pop into the oven last minute. Then simply toss the salad ingredients together and serve 🤗.
Why is this Creamy Kale Salad good for you?
This cruciferous vegetable has received quite a bit of hype in the last few years and there are some good reasons why. It is very nutrient-dense and high in fiber. Kale contains extraordinary amounts of Vitamin A, K, and C. It is also quite high in Manganese. As is a common theme on this blog and present in many vegetables, Kale is loaded with antioxidants. Two of them are called “Kaempferol” and “Quercetin”. In initial studies, these two have been found to decrease inflammation, along with protecting your heart, your cells from cancer and potentially having an anti-depressant effect.
This little bulb has a bit of anise tasting properties. It is loaded with Potassium, Calcium, and Vitamin A. Potassium is one of the most important minerals in our bodies. It helps in regulating fluids, signals to our nerves, and the contracting of muscles. The nutritional profile of fennel is particularly beneficial for our bone health.
Oranges are not only delicious but also contain a healthy, good-for-you dose of vitamins and minerals. They contain Vitamin C, Thiamine, Folate, and Potassium. Oranges are also high in dietary fiber, which helps to keep your bowels moving and your digestive tract healthy. Oranges may also benefit your heart health. The flavonoids found in oranges have shown in studies to make your blood thinner and reduce overall blood pressure levels.
Miso is slowly becoming more popular in the Western world. Originating from Japan, it is a thick soybean paste that has been fermented and is rich in Copper and Manganese. Miso is great for your gut as the fermentation process feeds your good gut bacteria and may at the same time decrease inflammation and irritability in the digestive tract. Strong gut flora is also associated with better immunity and reducing the growth of harmful bacteria. I sometimes find Miso a bit difficult to find in supermarkets so this Miso* is the exact one I buy.
How can I adjust this recipe to my dietary requirements?
This recipe is naturally gluten-free, plant-based, and vegan. For a paleo version – I have found a recipe that does sweet potato croutons, which you can access here. You could simply swap these in for the chickpeas. Also, Miso is technically not paleo, but is oftentimes accepted due to its health benefits.
And there you have it for this week 🤗. I hope you enjoy this festive, seasonal creamy kale salad and fall in love with it as much as we did 🥰. Let me know what you think over on Instagram under @life_and_lemons_foodblog and with the #lifeandlemonsfoodblog 🥳.
Creamy Kale SaladCourse: Starter, mainCuisine: EuropeanDifficulty: Medium
3 – 6servings
This creamy kale salad is plant-based, vegan, and delicious! The flavors of both fennel and orange also make it a superb addition to the festive season.
- For the fennel
2 fennel bulbs
1.5 tsp maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- For the chickpeas
1 can chickpeas (ca. 350 gr.)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
- For the salad
ca. 300 gr. kale
4 – 5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- For the creamy sauce
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp miso
¼ cup (60 ml.) water
Pepper to taste
- For the fennel: Start by pre-heating the oven (top and bottom heat) to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Cut the fennel really, really thin and in small, bite-sized pieces. Lay on the baking tray. Mix the honey and balsamic vinegar and brush onto the fennel. Put into the oven and bake for 20 minutes
- For the chickpeas: Drain the chickpeas from the can, wash and rub dry with kitchen towel. Do not skip this step and take some time to get as much moisture out of them as possible. This will ensure that the chickpeas crunch up nicely. Do not worry about the skin on the chickpeas – some of it wil fall off naturally but you do not need to peel it of each individual chickpea. Add to a bowl along with the spices and toss. Put into a baking dish. Once the fennel is done turn the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit) and bake for 15 minutes – toss and then bake for another 15 minutes
- For the salad: Wash and de-stem the kale leaves from the stem. You can simply do this by holding the stem with one hand and pulling along the leaf with the other. Finely cut and add to a bowl. Generously toss with apple cider vinegar and begin to knead the leaves. You want to break down the structure and the kale should fall significantly in on itself. This makes the kale more digestible and delicious. Work the salad for ca. 5 – 10 minutes. Once done, put aside. Finely cut the pepper, carrots and oranges and add to the salad
- For the sauce: Simply blend all the ingredients in a blender until creamy and combined. Add to the salad along with the fennel and combine all the ingredients.
- Last but not least, toss the crunchy chickpeas on top. Enjoy this festive, nutritious and delicious salad!!