When I first heard of Kale salad, to be honest with you, I thought it sounded awful…. eating raw kale?!! Well, I’m now eating my words and I throw marinated kale into quite a few salads!
Having experimented in various ways, to achieve the best results, I remove some of the thicker, tougher stalks and then really make sure I work the kale through the dressing with my hands. If you take your time and allow the kale to soften in the oil and lemon, the resulting dish is beautifully tender and the salad nourishing and substantial. I like to make sure a salad has plenty of other interesting ingredients too, to provide variety and interest. Use the recipe as a guide to quantities and if you feel like you’d like more roasted butternut squash, pepper or chickpeas then pile them in and enjoy!!
This recipe was developed as part of the Bones & Joints Module of the Culinary Medicine Diploma I’m currently studying. You can read on at the end to find out how these ingredients will benefit the body specifically relating to maintaining the health and integrity of bones and joints.
about 450g butternut squash
1 red pepper
a generous pinch chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 handfuls of shredded kale, about 80-100g total weight
1 small red onion
40g mixed sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
½ of a 400g can chickpeas, drained
150g Halloumi cheese
Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Wash, but don’t peel the squash and cut into small chunks about 1cm thick. Wash de-seed and chop the pepper into similar sized pieces. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle over the chilli flakes and a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, turning occasionally.
Meanwhile, remove any tough thick stalks from the kale and wash in plenty of cold water. Drain and dry well. Break any large leaves up a little and place the kale in a large non-metallic bowl. Peel and finely slice the onion and add to the kale with the grated rind and juice of the lemon and a good glug of olive oil. Season well.
Now get your hands in there and turn and massage the kale through the dressing to coat it completely in the lemon and olive oil. Do this for a few minutes until the leaves begin to darken and soften slightly. Set aside and leave to continue marinating at room temperature. This will allow the kale to soften further. Turn over occasionally to coat in the dressing.
Toast the seeds in a dry frying pan until golden brown, set aside to cool.
Dry the chickpeas on a piece of kitchen paper. When the vegetables are golden brown, add the drained and dried chickpeas to the vegetables and return to the oven for a further 10minutes, turning half way through cooking, until the vegetables are cooked and the chickpeas begin to turn golden brown.
Slice the halloumi and cook in the dry frying pan over a high heat until golden brown. Turning over to cook evenly.
To finish, add the roasted vegetables and chickpeas to the kale with the halloumi and seeds and toss together to combine. Sprinkle over a little more black pepper and the salad is ready to serve.
Any leftovers will keep well, covered in the fridge for a day.
A little extra note!!
Having just polished off the leftovers for my lunch I had to add a little extra to this blog post. Taking a peek inside the fridge for inspiration, I decided to brush some aubergine slices with olive oil and seasoning and grill them until they were golden brown. I allowed them to cool slightly before quartering them and tossing into the salad. They were a great addition in texture, flavour and colour. I then served the remaining salad with some Autumn Slaw, (you’ll find the recipe here!) homemade sauerkraut (I’ll be working on a recipe soon!!) and a lovely big dollop of humous. It was so delicious, full of colour, flavour and goodness that set me up perfectly for an afternoon of writing!! I think the aubergine will be a regular addition for me!
Butternut Squash/Red Pepper/Red onion
Including a high proportion of bright coloured vegetables in the diet ensures the body receives a good dose of antioxidants. For example, red onions contain anthocyanins, which are an antioxidant, which assists in reducing inflammation. Butternut squash is a rich source of beta carotene, an antioxidant which has an anti-inflammatory effect which will relieve discomfort in inflamed joints.
Kale is incredibly rich in magnesium. We need magnesium to help facilitate the way in which calcium is utilized and laid down in the bone matrix. Magnesium also reduces the release of a hormone, (parathyroid hormone) which causes an increase in the release of calcium from bones. In the case of osteoporosis it is important to avoid this happening, as the bones will become even weaker. Kale is also very good source of calcium, which supports the health of bones and joints. Osteoporosis can occur if there is insufficient calcium in the diet.
The aim is to let the diet support the body in creating its own anti-inflammatory response. Including olive oil in the diet allows us to benefit from its omega 9 fatty acids. High quantities of meat and dairy cause the body to manufacture more prostaglandin series 2, which promotes inflammation and pain, therefore enhancing the discomfort from arthritis. Olive oil allows the body to produce prostaglandins that minimise inflammation so will help reduce joint pain.
Chickpeas are high in zinc and magnesium. Zinc is beneficial in bone health as it can stimulate production of osteoblasts. These are bone building cells that lay down the matrix of bone tissue. Magnesium is used extensively in the body for many functions. For bone health it facilitates the conversion of vitamin D into its active form, enabling great bone remineralisation thereby maintaining a stronger bone integrity.
Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
Seeds are a great source of calcium and zinc as well as selenium, a mineral with anti-inflammatory properties.
Seeds are also rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, which help to block production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for inflammation. In rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation is responsible for the pain and degeneration of the joint.
Cheese is a good source of vitamin D. There are very few food sources of vitamin D, so including a small amount of full fat cheese in the diet is beneficial. Vitamin D has to go through various enzyme changes in the liver before it can be used. Ultimately in the form, calcitriol, its function is to increase the concentration of calcium in the blood to encourage greater bone remineralisation, which will help give the bones rigidity and strength.