Kale and Farro Salad

DSCF0001As the winter offerings at my local farmer’s market grow scarce, the bundles of kale grow bigger.  I think it’s a silent thank you for continuing to brave the winter winds to shop the market even after much of the color has vanished from the offerings.  There are still apples, cabbages, onions, and greens, but the vibrant hues of fresh produce has thinned.  In any case, I have an enormous quantity of kale in my fridge and so while I usually juice my kale, I thought I would try this unusual salad.

You must like coconut to proceed.  Toasted coconut flavor will dominate every mouthful of this salad and under that there will be a layer of Asian flare from the sesame oil and soy sauce.  I wasn’t certain after my first bite, but then I went for more, more, and eventually, a second helping.

This recipe, like so many of the ones I have been making lately, is from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day.

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 3 1/2 cups lightly packed kale, chopped (or a bit more, be generous with your kale servings)
  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut or 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, large-flake coconut (the first time you might want to go light on the coconut)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (alternative suggested by Swanson are shoyu or tamari sauce, but I have never cooked with either of those)

Directions

  1. Cook the farro and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  3. Whisk together the olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the kale and coconut.  Mix 2/3 of the oil mixture in and coat evenly.
  5. Spread the kale across a baking sheet or two.  Bake for 12 – 18 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown.  Toss occasionally and make sure the kale doesn’t become too brown.
  6. Mix in with the farro and add the remaining oil.  Serve warm.
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Sweet Quinoa Breakfast

This sweet coconutty breakfast is a new favorite of mine and good for you, too!

Ingredients for one serving

  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (or regular coconut milk)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of honey (use your judgment, it depends on how sweet you want it)
  • slivered almonds, a healthy palmful, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine the quinoa and coconut milk.  Bring a  boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 12 minutes (closer to fifteen if you double the recipe).  Check occasionally, when nearly all of the liquid has been absorbed, it’s done.
  2. Meanwhile on a small pan toast the almonds, coconut, and sesame seeds over a low heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning and to ensure that everything toasts evenly.
  3. Add the honey and cinnamon to the cooked quinoa, mix in the toasted ingredients and enjoy.

 

Why is this healthy?

  • Quinoa is a resistant starch which means it stays with you longer and makes you feel fuller.  Resistant starches are also good for your colon.  Additionally, quinoa is packed with vitamin B, vitamin E, and antioxidants.  It is also gluten-free.
  • Cinnamon, even less then a teaspoon, improves how your body handles sugar by turning on your insulin receptors.
  • Almonds are high in antioxidants, have vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Coconut flakes are a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and zinc.