Toasted Kale + Coconut Salad

180360KaleCoconutSaladAs much as I love travel, I do not love eating out for every meal. No sooner did we return from our last trip to Tucson, had we decided a week of Vegan cleansing was mandatory. Some of you may remember we did this in 2009 with varied success. (I might have been a bit over-zealous in the bean department. Bloat central!)

Truthfully, removing meat from our diet isn’t that big of a deal, but taking away cheese and other dairy, well… that’s a little trickier.

So this time, I focused on the bigger spectrum — eating half of our meals as if they weren’t Vegan. We tried products like Tempeh and Seitan as meat substitutes. Although they tasted fine, I felt like they were so processed they were probably worse than just eating a piece of meat! The other half of our meals were plant and bean based. My husband complained that he felt just as bloated as last year, but I felt much better this time around.

Although I have no intentions of ever going completely Vegan, it’s a fun exercise. I don’t diet. I can’t just drink juice for a week. And while I eat healthily and mindfully 98% of the time, it’s good to have to really think out of the box sometimes. No butter, no parmigiano, no bacon, no chicken broth, no milk. Conversely, you find recipes that are in your repertoire that are Vegan and you didn’t even realize it. I’d like to share one with you. 

I’ve been steadily working my way through the new Super Natural Every Day cookbook and out of all the recipes I’ve tried so far, the one that I keep coming back to is the Toasted Kale Salad with Coconut, Sesame Oil and Tamari.

If you haven’t tried it, you must. It’s perfect.

Toasted Kale + Coconut Salad
  1. 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  3. 2 TBL tamari, soy sauce or shoyu
  4. 3 1/2 cups of lightly packed kale (that has been washed, trimmed, center stems removed, cut into bite-size pieces)
  5. 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened, large-flaked coconut (found at Whole Foods or other natural food store)
  6. 2 cups of cooked whole grains (I used quinoa, but you can use farro, wild rice, etc.)
  1. Prepare your whole grains if you don't already have some made. (Quinoa takes about 25-30 minutes to make, so start it first.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350℉, with 2 racks in the top third of the oven.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil and tamari in a small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup.
  4. Put the prepared kale and coconut flakes in a large mixing bowl and toss well with about 2/3 of the oil mixture.
  5. Spread the kale mixture evenly across a large baking sheet (or 2 smaller ones).
  6. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until the coconut is deeply golden brown, tossing once or twice along the way. (If the mixture looks like it's browning too fast, move it to a lower rack.)
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer the mixture back into the mixing bowl.
  8. Place your grains on a platter and top with the kale mixture. Drizzle remaining dressing over the top. Serve warm. ENJOY!

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