Friday, June 1, 2012

Kale chicken salad

Remember when I said I was going to stop relying on my phone to capture pictures, and make friends again with our camera?  Well, that hasn't happened yet.  Apparently the camera and I are on a break, so forgive the awful quality of these food pictures.  Phone or not I've never been great at photographing food actually (I'd love to get better at this, someone teach me!)  It hardly makes me look credible when it comes to delicious things but trust me when I say that this salad is delicious.  And you should be making it, or some variation of it.

The idea came from here, but I didn't really follow a single direction.  I don't care much for measuring or being careful, which is probably why I am a terrible baker, but love to cook.  It still turned out well, though!
I love kale and I've been wanting to make more salads recently.  My hope is to find more ways to spice up a salad and pack one for work every day for a few weeks. Regular green salads get boring after a while.  I stumbled upon this one earlier today and decided to practice tonight.
I started by sending the husband to the grill with a couple of chicken breasts that were marinated with some combination of olive oil, tamari (soy sauce essentially), garlic, a splash of rice vinegar, and a little salt and pepper.  I'll be honest when I say that I'm not a big meat cooker, so I had zero idea of what to put on there but it turned out delicious.  Meanwhile I rinsed and chopped half a bunch of kale, used a vegetable peeler to shave a couple of carrots, and chopped about a quarter or a red cabbage and mixed it all in a bowl.  I then melted a little spoonful of smart balance in a small frying pan, and toasted a package of crushed ramen noodles and a good handful of tamari pumpkin seeds and tamari sunflower seeds ( I bought both already flavored from the bulk section of the grocery store, which saved me a few steps in the kitchen!) We would both love to just eat a warm bowl of that combination, yum!  Don't be skimpy on the seeds, I wish I had put more in.
Those went into the salad and it all got mixed together.  I sort of remembered that the dressing was supposed to be a basic vinaigrette but I forgot exactly what she used.  Reading back now I realize that I just swapped rice vinegar for balsamic.  I just mixed olive oil (I didn't have any flax oil at the time), rice vinegar, Bragg's liquid amino's, and oregano together in a small bowl.  If you don't want to use Bragg's, just soy sauce is good!  When I had Eric taste it, he said it was oily and needed something to cut it a little, so I grabbed the lemon juice and put a little splash in there. The salad is uber crunchy and good on it's own, so I just put a little dressing on it, it didn't need much.  Chopped the chicken on top and voila!
The best part beside the flavor is the fact that everything is so crunchy it won't wilt right away in the fridge.  It's going to be a perfect salad to take to work, when usually salads are kind of underwhelming when they've gotten soggy waiting to be eaten at lunch time.  Henry and I ate it with some roasted sweet potatoes just for a little bit extra.  It was filling enough that I felt perfect after dinner, but not so stuffed that I won't be in the mood for my late night snack... just the way I like it! :)
It was a really easy dinner that I'll be keeping on hand for busy weeknights, and it was cheap which is extra exciting.  A big bunch of kale is only a couple of dollars, and all three vegetables last forever in the fridge so we can use them on something else.  Success!

Since Henry can't chew any of the vegetables in the salad while they're raw, he had sauteed carrots, the chicken from the salad, and the sweet potatoes instead. Strawberries for dessert!

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