New year, new me.
Isn’t that what we all say? Yes, it may be cliché, but I do think the start of a new year is a great time to perhaps not necessarily make “resolutions” but rather goals or aspirations for the next twelve months.
This year I splurged and bought myself one of these planners to help map out my life and my goals for growth in 2016. Last week I sat down and started writing out all of my intentions, and I must say it was such an inspiration for me and the great way to end 2015. Even if you don’t use a Day Designer like I’ve decided to (although I highly recommend it), I encourage you to take a moment and write down what you hope to accomplish in three, six, nine and 12 months and put it all on a calendar, so it’s there for you to see every single day.
I am so excited for this next year, not only for what I believe it has in store for this little blog of mine, but because I also get to marry my best friend. As soon as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, Chris and I looked at each other and said “We get to get married this year!” We’ve been planning our special day since May, so it’s exciting when the calendar finally turns to the actual year in which the big day happens.
Because our wedding is this summer, we decided that the turn of the new year would be the perfect time for us to start cleaning up our eating habits a bit and focus on becoming as healthy as we can be for not only our wedding, but to start out our lives together as a married couple. We generally eat fairly healthy (with a strong focus on whole, homemade foods rather than packaged foods riddled with extra preservatives) but we all know what havoc the holidays can wreck on those habits. I mean, you just can’t turn down holiday M&M’s or all of the baked goods that get thrust upon you in the last month of the year.
Our goal for the New Year is to simply limit our guilty pleasures (I’m looking at you, cheese) and focus on creative recipes incorporating clean and tasty foods. Hence, the reason I am sharing this incredibly taste Winter Kale Salad with you today. When I lived in Napa, one of my chef friends (hi, Izzy!) taught me a great template for making a kale salad bursting with flavor, and not one that tastes like you’re chewing on cardboard.
The main techniques that make this particularly taste kale salad are:
- Making it at least a few hours (and even better, a day) in advance to let the dressing really marinate the kale and soften it up.
- Including a combination of strongly flavored ingredients such as shallots and fresh herbs.
- Chopping everything up into bite-sized pieces makes it easier to get the perfect balance of flavors in every bite.
As you can see, the outline is basic and you certainly do not have to stick to all of these EXACT same ingredients every time you make a kale salad. I used a variety of winter vegetables (mainly root vegetables) for this version, but come spring, summer and fall I’m sure I’ll be bringing this recipe back and sharing some other variations with you.
I brought this Winter Kale Salad over to my brother’s house last night and let me just say it was devoured. There is a perfect balance of flavors: a slight sweetness from the roasted beets, a crunch from the slivered almonds, and acidity from the lemon juice to name a few.
If there’s a particular vegetable you’re not too fond of, by all means substitute in something else. I love kale salads because they are hearty and can be made in advance (as I mentioned, they even get better with time, up to a point.) They can hold up to quite a bit, and are a great showcase for so many different herbs and vegetables. This Winter Kale Salad is great with a warming soup for a light and healthy dinner, or just add some grilled chicken or other protein to the salad itself and you have a filling lunch to take to the office.
Do you have a favorite winter salad recipe that you love to kick off the New Year with?
Here’s to a healthy, happy 2016 and to realizing all of our goals and intentions!
- 1 golden beet peeled and diced
- 1 bunch kale chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 watermelon radish peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 1 large carrot peeled and diced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- ½ cup sliced almonds toasted
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a small jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray or coconut oil spray. Place diced beets on pan and drizzle with olive oil or spray with more coconut oil spray. Sprinkle on salt and pepper.
- Place beets in oven and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until you can easily poke a fork in them. You may want to check on them about halfway through and give them a little stir for more even cooking. Remove from oven when done and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, add all of the vegetables, fruit and herbs. Squeeze on lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over top. Toss to coat and then add salt and pepper to taste. Place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to a day.
Wine Pairing Notes: Because of the fresh and yet hearty qualities of this salad, it would pair equally well with a light Pinot Noir as it would a grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
I feel the healthiness just looking at it!