Lightly toasted warm leaves with a hint of garlic--just imagine yourself biting into this lightly baked kale salad. It’s a twist on traditional salad, but only slightly so, just enough to offer you some subtle and unexpected flavor. This salad is filling yet not overly so, a great meal bolstered by some highly nutritious ingredients.
Kale is very high in nutrients and very low in calories, making it one of the most nutrient dense foods ever.
It is also one of the best sources of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that serves many vital functions in the body’s cells. Vitamin K, also present, is imperative for blood clotting.
Kale is very high in antioxidants, which are substances that help counteract oxidative damage, the leading cause of many diseases and aging. It is also high in powerful nutrients that protect the eyes. Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that help lower the possibilility of macular degeneration. If those weren’t enough reasons to start snacking on some kale, here’s one more important one: studies have indicated that including it regularly into your diet may significantly lower the risk of several cancers.
I used heirloom carrots, which not only add a fresh burst of natural flavor and color, but impressive health benefits as well. Heirloom carrots are grown from seeds that are open-pollinated, meaning they rely on natural pollination from insects or the wind.
Generally, heirloom plants are grown on a small scale using traditional techniques. Unlike heirlooms, hybrids are uniform in appearance and flavor, offering a high-yield at a relatively low cost. I prefer the taste of heirloom anything- especially carrots. This probably stems from the fact that they are my very favorite vegetable in the first place.
Studies have shown carrots reduce the risk of many types of cancer, including lung and breast. They also prevent infection. They can be used on cuts, raw and/or boiled.
The high level of beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant to cell damage done to the body through regular metabolism, helping to slow down the aging of cells.
The vitamin A in carrots protects the skin from sun damage, premature wrinkling, acne, and dry skin.
They are high in fiber, helping to regulate digestion and bowel function. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain a high amount of antioxidants, such as carotenoids in bell peppers. They fight the cell damage that could result in cancer and heart disease. Regular consumption of peppers will also help to protect your eyes from age related macular degeneration and cataracts.
With all these health benefits to reap, why not give the warm salad experience a try? If you’re familiar with eating cold kale, you’ll be surprised to experience how light and delicately crunchy it becomes with just a few minutes in the oven.
1.) Pre-heat Ove to 250F
2.) Remove skin for garlic cloves.
3.) Thinly slice the cloves of garlic
4.) Place the oil in a frying pan
5.) Add garlic and sautee about two minutes on a medium heat. You want it to brown not burn. Turn down the heat if you see or smell it cooking too quickly.
6.) Cut the stem off the kale then break into small palm-sized pieces
7.) Cut up carrot and orange pepper. You’ll need about ¼ cup of each, slice thinly.
8.) Take a large plastic bag, I used the gallon size. Place the kale, peppers, carrots, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into the bag. Shake vigorously 7 to 10 times.
9.) Remove then arrange the vegetables on your baking sheet, making sure to line the sheet with either silver foil or baking paper.
10.) Bake for 3 to 4 minutes. Check at three minutes, if the edges have curved slightly upwards, they are ready. Please don’t overcook. Kale is delicious when lightly baked, when left too long in the oven, it becomes completely brittle and flakes apart.
11.) Enjoy warm.
If you can’t find heirloom carrots, regular carrots will work. I love the color, texture, and flavor of heirlooms much better. If you ever get the opportunity, give them a try!
You can add other ingredients such as multi colored peppers, thinly sliced tomatoes, and/or thinly sliced onions. I suggest sautéing with the garlic for optimal taste.
I made several versions of this salad. I decided on sharing this particular version with you because of its simplicity. Especially if this is your first experience with warmed kale, I thought it best not to overwhelm you by offering you too many flavor experiences at once. If you enjoy the salad, why not try adding a few extra vegetables next time? I think you’ll enjoy this salad enough to experiment with multiple variations in the future.
Try a warm kale salad and rise above the ordinary salad experience. 🙂
Alexandra Kudukis is a freelance journalist currently writing for Dirva, Draugas News, and Draugas Newspapers, contributing articles in both English and Lithuanian.
She began her informal journalistic training at the tender age of four when she began attending concerts with her mother’s best friend Jane Scott, the premier rock music reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Everything she knows from the structure of a good article to conducting an engaging interview- including how to be gracious and kind even in the most difficult of situations, she learned from Jane.
She has completed her first novel, a dynamic struggle of a woman letting go of childhood dreams while attempting to balance a horric home life and burgeoning career.
Alexandra has also just completed her first full-length screenplay chronicling the young adult lives of children from Eastern European families, misfits trying (and failing) to find success as first generation Americans.
She has an M.P.A. from Cleveland State University, which has provided her a broad base on which to base her career.Her blog details the trials and triumphs of an aspiring writer. She studied German and Russian as an undergraduate and loves to travel. Alexandra currently resides in Fountain Valley, CA with her animal companions, two cats Isabella and Victoria and Pierre, a rescue pigeon.