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11 February 2015

Warm Roasted Kale Salad

Serves: 2
Time: 1 hour
Warm Roasted Kale Salad 


I'm currently sitting here on my laptop, listening to music, drinking tea and blogging, I'm definitely in my element and it feels great. This past week at uni has been absolutely fascinating, our principles of nutrition lecture yesterday was focused on daily recommended values (DRV) for the micro nutrients we should consume, I was amazed to learn how low the standards are for the vitamins and minerals we are recommended to eat per day. To put it simply there are different levels of adequacy for various nutrients which either leave you feeling not so great or at optimum levels of health, the DRV for most vitamins and minerals are the bare minimum to not contract disease, rather than be at optimum health.
The exact top levels of nutrients for perfect health are not known, there are so many factors which contribute like age, sex, weight, absorption of nutrients within the body etc that it is impossible to know, but for the guidelines to be so far below the ideal for the majority of us, it really shocked me, especially when there are many individuals who fail to even consume a fraction of these each day. I'm not saying go crazy counting your micro nutrient intake each day, but eat a wide variety of different fruit and veg each day and you're unlikely to be deficient in these nutrients. I was also amazed to learn that the average consumption of portions of fruit and veg a day were 4.1 for adults, with only 30% of adults 19-65 achieving or exceeding the 5-a-day goal, more shockingly, girls aged 11-18 consumed 2.7 portions a day whereas boys 3.0, with 7-10% meeting or exceeding the 5-a-day goal. With all the advertising the food industry does to sell processed food, this figure shouldn't really be a shock, but when did we become so disconnected with our food that we can't even consume 5 portions of fruit & veg combined in one day?

Warm Roasted Kale Salad 

This next dish is a warm lemon roasted kale salad with herby chickpeas, baby plum tomatoes, peppery rocket and caramelized onion pearl barley. This was my first time trying pearl barley and I really enjoyed it, it's always good to mix up what grains you're eating and try something new every once in a while, the barley was a great addition to the salad, adding texture and flavour. This salad is not one of those that you sit there gnawing through like a rabbit because you know it's good for you & then still leaves you hungry after; it's filling, bursting with flavour and best of all warm! No one in winter wants to be eating a cold salad with leaves straight out the fridge, warm salads are great in winter, you can add roasted veg to them, different grains etc and they're actually enjoyable! When many people make salads they forget that they can actually be exciting and nutritious at the same time, enjoy what you eat and it will make you want to carry on a eating natural, clean, plant based diet, not to mention how much better you'll feel for it. Since Christmas I have been eating really well, however there has been the odd processed food every once in a while, which though won't do any detrimental damage, I never feel as energized the day after consuming them, I haven't had any processed foods in two weeks now and I feel amazing! It takes time to tell yourself that you don't actually want something that is chemically structured to make you crave it, however learning the truth about many of these foods during my lectures is definitely helping me stay on track! It also helps that I'm on such a tight budget that I really have to think before I buy something to whether it's a necessity or whether I just want it, I am almost out of peanut butter though and that I definitely NEED (can you tell that I like love peanut butter?).

Warm Roasted Kale Salad 

You'll need:

  • Frying Pan
  • Roasting Tray
  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Colander

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3-4 large handfuls kale
  • 1 large handful rocket
  • 10 baby plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme etc)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Dice the onion & mince the garlic, add to the frying pan with a drizzle of oil and fry on a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt & pepper and fry for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the onions caramelized. Add the pearl barley & water to the pan and simmer for 45 minutes, until the barley is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Add more water if needed during this time.
  2. After the barley has been cooking for 20 minutes, rinse the chickpeas and add to a baking tray with the herbs and spices, roast at 200°C for 15 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven, push the chickpeas to one half and spread the kale out on the other. Drizzle the kale with olive oil, lemon juice & a pinch of salt and return to the oven for 5 minutes. The kale should be slightly crispy but still tender after baking.
  3. Thinly slice the tomatoes and then begin to arrange the salad with the kale and rocket leaves mixed together to season the rocket, add all the elements to your serving dish and enjoy! Cassidy xx
Warm Roasted Kale Salad