Sunday, October 23, 2016

Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Quinoa

I have been beyond obsessed with kale salads lately.....I literally crave them! My friend, Elle, and I came up with this fun salad together by basically tossing a bunch of yummy stuff in with the kale. The results were so good I had to recreate it again for my husband tonight. He said, "this is blog-able" - which is his way of giving me a big THUMBS UP!

**This salad makes enough for two as a meal. Add chicken sausage, shredded chicken or crumbled bacon if you want to incorporate some extra protein.

1 bunch of curly kale, stems removed, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 cup of COOKED white or red quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 dates, pitted & chopped
1/3 cup slivered almonds OR chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup blue cheese OR feta cheese (I like blue!)
Olive oil for roasting chickpeas and massaging kale

**See not above for suggestions on adding meat

1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 heaping Tbl honey
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F

Spread the chickpeas on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook for 15 minutes; check on chickpeas and shake the cookie sheet or toss with a spatula. Return to oven and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Just keep checking on the chickpeas until they are roasted to your liking. I like mine crispy on the outside and a bit soft in the middle.

You can toast the nuts for about 5-8 minutes in a 400F oven. Check on the nuts after 5 minutes to make sure they aren't burning. Almonds toast more quickly than walnuts - just keep an eye on them!

When the kale is cut and cleaned, place it in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Now it is time to massage the kale. Get your hands in that bowl of kale and rub it gently in between your fingers.....massaging the kale will break down the bitterness of the leaf and make it delicious! You can let it sit for awhile before you actually make the salad and dress it; or you can eat it right away!

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

Once the chickpeas are roasted, the nuts are toasted and the kale has been massaged, you are ready to put it all together. Divide the kale between two large salad bowls and add the quinoa. Stir the quinoa into the kale so it is evenly distributed. Then add the chickpeas, dates, nuts and cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

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