Garlic Crouton Kale (Yeah) Salad

For this month’s link up the theme was croutons.  I happen to love the crunch of croutons in salads, soups, or even as a plain snack.  While there are several ways to make croutons,  I prefer mine pan-fried because this creates a crouton thats is crispy on the outside but moist on the inside.  However, if you prefer a crouton that is crunchy throughout, then use an oven to make and bake your croutons.  I like to use pumpernickel bread for my croutons because I love the texture and flavor of this hearty and bold bread.

These garlic-infused croutons are packed with flavor and super delicious.  They paired perfectly with my kale salad. I like the dressing I created for this salad, but if you are a Caesar dressing fan – which I am not – I think that would actually be a great dressing for this salad.  Matt and I first started eating Kale several years ago when we joined a CSA.  We got an exorbitant amount of kale on a bi-weekly basis, which truly tested our creativity: kale chips, kale salad, kale soups … kale ice cream. Just kidding..  This is when Matt developed his saying “Kale Yeah”.  He still thinks it’s funny years later.

Garlic Crouton Ingredients

  • 2-3 slices of day old pumpernickel bread
  • 2 tablespoons high oleic safflower oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced

Garlic Crouton Instructions

Step 1: Stack the bread slices on cutting board and remove crusts from each side. Cut into 1 inch cubes.

Step 2: Heat safflower oil in skillet over medium heat with garlic slices. Tip: Safflower oil has a high smoke point (not easily damaged by heat) and is an ideal oil to use when cooking over medium to medium high heat.

Step 3: Add in bread.  It will need approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.

Step 4: Remove bread and garlic slices and transfer to a  paper towel lined plate to drain. Season with salt and sprinkle with parsley while still hot.

Kale Crouton Salad Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale- washed and dried and tough stems removed. 
  • Shaved parmesean cheese (said in an Italian accent)
  • Homemade garlic croutons and fried garlic slices from above
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Kale Crouton Salad Instructions:

Step 1:  Place olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon juice, dijon mustard, apple cider, and honey in a jar.  Whisk together and set aside.

Step 2:  Here is the #1 tip when making a kale salad.  Are you ready?

The kale needs some TLC – place kale in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.  Then massage the kale mixture for 3-4 minutes.  You will notice that the kale begins to soften and will reduce by approximately half.  The kale should look a little shiny and the green a little brighter.

See pic for before and after:

Step 3: Toss in parmesan cheese to your liking and drizzle salad with dressing.  The nutty tone of the parmeasean and the mildly bitter tone of the kale= great combo.

Step 4: Top with croutons, fried garlic slices, and dig in.

Health points: Kale is high in vitamin A and C. Safflower oil is high in monounsaturated fat which helps keep HDL cholesterol (the good one) high.

xoxx Team Kale Yeah

Click on the blue frog below to check out the other kosher blogger’s “Crouton” recipes.

Beluga Lentil, Tomato, & Asparagus Salad

When I was shopping at the local health food store the other day, I noticed a package of black beluga lentils and was quite intrigued. I am not a huge fan of lentils, but I just thought they were so cute and would look pretty when plated with some colorful veggies. They are easy to prepare, have a mild flavor and are packed with vitamin B and protein. For the dressing, I used Shiri Zimmerman’s tomato salad dressing recipe with some minor changes (she’s my sister-in-law and fellow lentil lover). The salad turned out to be a huge hit when we served it at her home in Deal, NJ, and is something  that will definitely make multiple appearances over the spring and summer.

Tomato Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar (lower glycemic index then white refined sugar- basically it doesn’t cause the sugar highs and lows that refined sugar is guilty of doing. It provides a slower release of energy. Measure it just like sugar 1:1 ratio.)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 pint yellow and red grape tomatoes halved

Instructions

  • In a small jar whisk all ingredients together (except tomatoes).
  • Place tomatoes in dressing and let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad- this allows it to absorb all the delicious flavors of the dressing.

Asparagus Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch Asparagus rinsed
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Asparagus Instructions:

  • Place water and salt in a pot and bring to boil
  • Trim off the tough end of the asparagus (Tip: Take 1 asparagus stalk and snap off the tough end where it naturally breaks.  Place all asparagus together and use the broken asparagus as a guide for where to cut the rest). Discard the tough white end.
  • Place Asparagus in boiling water and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until tender.
  • Once tender remove immediately plunge into bowl of ice water

Black Beluga Lentils Ingredients & Recipe:

I just followed the package instructions for this…

  • Sort and rinse 1 cup lentils. Place in pot. Add 3 cups water. Bring to boil and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

Garnish with Parsley (as always I need my fresh herb fix) and plate to your liking.  The first time I served this I placed the beluga lentils on a plate. Topped neatly with asparagus and then with tomatoes soaked in dressing.  I then drizzled the remainder of the dressing over the dish (as pictured below).  The second time I made this dish I cut the asparagus into about 1 inch pieces and mixed all ingredients in a bowl and served as a salad for lunch at Shiri’s house (as pictured above). It was a big hit!

Health points: Beluga lentils are packed with fiber and protein. Asparagus is loaded with folate, vitamins A,C,E,K, and antioxidants.

xoxo almost caviar lovers

Spinach and Strawberry Spring Salad

strawberry 8x10

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When the weather gets warmer it means we move our workouts to the outdoors and add some fruit to our salads. My sister Jeni’s spinach and fruit salad is the perfect way to start off a springtime lunch! Strawberries are key in this salad since it is now peak strawberry season and they add a delicious burst of flavor. If you are a sweet and salty person, crumbles of feta cheese is the perfect addition.

Ingredients:

12 strawberries: stem removed and sliced

1/2 red onion- thinly sliced

1 avocado- sliced

1lb spring mix or spinach

handful of toasted and chopped walnuts – this adds a nice crunch to the salad

6 oz feta cheese – adds a nice salty flavor.

1 garlic clove, minced

1tbsp honey (Jeni uses sugar)

4 tbsp mayonaise low fat: although I am not a fan of using mayo I think it is fine in moderation, plus this addition really enhances the salad.

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

Place spinach, strawberries, avocado, onion, and walnuts in a large bowl.

Whisk together honey, mayo, balsamic and garlic – drizzle on salad.

Finish it off with fresh pepper, toss, and dig in.

Serves 6-8 sweet and salty people

My sister makes this salad wherever she goes and it is always a hit! Here is a pic of the salad being made at my bachelorette party with the addition of mango. So make it for your friends and family and enjoy!

xoxo luvin fruit in salad season