Loaded salads are my favourite dinner dishes, and there is so much you can do to turn a boring salad into a satiating meal. Approaching to my 40’s, I know that my body needs more protein to support the brain function, hormone production and so many other important activities, so I try to eat quality plant protein and/or eggs at every meal. This kale salad with avocado is a great way to rich your 75 g protein a day, because it’s packed with greens, beans and a nutritious tahini sauce, all of these being quality amino-acids sources.
CAN YOU EAT RAW KALE IN A SALAD?
If you are wondering about this, you must be discouraged by the stiffness of a kale leave, but you shouldn’t worry at all! Kale is one of the best candidate for a filling salad, exactly because of its fibre-rich texture and of course, because of its exceptional nutritional load.
I always apply a simple trick for taming the kale leaves – massaging. Simply add the chopped kale leaves into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and use your hands to massage them until their texture becomes less stiff. This will also help for an easier digestion.
HOW TO MAKE A KALE SALAD?
Although I named this recipe “kale salad”, for me the kale leaves are just a starting point for building a nutrient-rich and protein-packed salad. I love plant based protein, because it enables you to combine your favourite ingredients to get all the amino-acids your cells need for building the protein blocks.
Here are some nice combinations to get complete protein – hummus+whole wheat bread, legumes+nut butter, whole wheat bread+nut butter. If you add fresh greens of any kind to these combo, your body cannot be happier, because it will get all the amino acids it needs, together with fibre, minerals, vitamins, prebiotics and enzymes.
So, here are the ingredients I used for creating this raw kale salad (it’s only the kale leaves that are raw, some of the other ingredients are cooked):
- Raw kale leaves – I used Lacinato kale, because I love its deep green colour, but you can use any other kale variety. Among the most important health benefits of kale are its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and its cancer preventing benefits, due to its high load of the activite compound glucosinolate.
- Cooked beans – I used red kidney beans, again because of their colour, but any other cooked beans work just fine. Beans are my number one ingredient to add to my meals when aiming for the 75g protein a day ratio. Adding 1 cup (about 200 g) cooked beans to your lunch or dinner gives you 12g protein, and also fibre, magnesium and iron.
- Avocado – I make my plant-based dishes more satiating by adding healthy fats such as mixed nut butter, tahini sauce or avocado. The monounsaturated fats of avocado supports the hormone production and brain activity, while its magnesium+B6 combo regulates the sleep cycle, helps you relax, stimulate the progesterone production and improves your mood. Sounds like a keeper!
- Toasted nuts and seeds – this is another trick for making filling salads, and also for boosting their protein load.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – when bought from a verified source, this simple ingredient is a nutrient powerhouse. Think vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, B6, fibre, alkalising potassium and yes, protein, about 5g protein per 2 cups.
- Tahini sauce – for its healthy fats and protein load (17g protein per 100 g).
- Other tasty add-ins – cucumbers for fresh enzymes and a bit of crunch, pickled red onion, micro-greens.
Protein-Packed Kale Salad
- 2 cups raw kale leaves chopped
- 1 cucumber cut into large cubes
- 2 cups red kidney beans cooked, from can
- 1 avocado peeled, cut into slices
- 1/2 cup quality sun-dried tomatoes diced
- 1/4 cup pickled red onion
- 1/2 cup lightly toasted almonds crushed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Micro-greens to garnish
For the Tahini Dressing
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast
- Add the chopped kale into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and use your hands to massage them for a minute, until their texture gets softer.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except avocado and toss to combine.
- Add the dressing ingredients into the blender and process to obtain a creamy liquid.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, then mix to combine.
- Divide into the serving bowls, top with avocado slices, garnish with micro-greens and serve.