Berry Salad with Sweet Chipotle Dressing

Berry Salad with Sweet Chipotle Dressing

I can’t believe we’re now at the end of June. This means it’s time to get serious about summer. And that means it’s time to eat lots of berries.

I would be a fruitaholic if I could be so I try to stick to fresh, local, and seasonal fruits as much as possible to keep my sugar intake low and get the most nutritional value. And right now in Seattle, it’s berry season.

This salad was inspired by a half-flat of fresh local strawberries from the farmers’ market. If you’ve never had fresh local strawberries, they will absolutely blow your mind. I promise that these are nothing like the large, slightly bitter, and air-y strawberries at the grocery store. No way. Local strawberries picked at their peak are small, deep red, tender, and incredibly sweet.

What could be better than pairing these local berries with fresh greens? Topping them with a sweet honey chipotle dressing, of course. As strange as it may sound, the spiciness from the chipotle dressing livens up this salad and adds something unexpected.

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How to Make Healthy Lunches in Under 60 Minutes

How to Make a Week's Worth of Healthy Lunches in Under 60 Minutes

I’m a busy person and even though I’m a food blogger, I completely understand the feeling of not wanting to spend your entire night in the kitchen preparing meals. However, I also believe that home-cooked and freshly prepared food is important enough for my health that I’m willing to dedicate some time and energy into preparing it.  That’s where this post comes in.

Monday through Friday I work in a typical office setting. This means on Sunday night I can be found preparing my meals for the week. As my schedule, career, and life has gotten busier and busier, I’ve looked for ways to spend less time in the kitchen, but still get the same results of delicious and healthy food.

I’ve been packing my own lunches for over six years now and I’ve found that it’s far healthier than eating out, saves a ton of money, AND it’s honestly not as hard as you think. Today my goal is to show you how quick and easy it can be to make healthy lunches for the entire week — all in under 60 minutes!

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Kale, Parsnip, and Pineapple Salad

Kale, Parsnip, and Pineapple Slaw

Last week I returned home from my dream vacation to Miami and the Bahamas. The only catch? Part of my dream vacation involved a 3-day cruise where I felt stranded in the middle of the ocean because my only access to food was Cruise Ship Food. Oh dear.

In case you’ve never been on a cruise, this means I didn’t have access to anything that wasn’t deep fried and the greenest thing there was iceburg lettuce. Shudder.

I managed to survive the weekend, but let’s just say I’ve been making up for it ever since. And, since I was extremely disappointed I didn’t get to try any tropical fruit on the island, I had to make up for this as well.

…And so I give you kale, parsnip, and pineapple salad.

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Collard Green Coleslaw

Collard Green Coleslaw

It’s that time of year again.

It’s that time of year where life starts getting hectic, schedules get busy, and dark, leafy greens are everywhere.

Do you ever get bored with collard greens? I hear from a lot of folks that they just don’t know what to do with them. If this is you, let’s talk about some inspiration:

And, for my newest collard green favorite: collard greens coleslaw. I love the texture of collard greens in this salad, especially when paired with fresh parsnips and carrots.

Most coleslaws add sugar or honey in the dressing to sweeten it, but I left out the extra sweeteners and opted to add a fresh grated apple into the mix instead. Whether you’re looking for some healthy options for a weeknight side dish or planning something special for the holidays this salad fits the bill! And you won’t have to be bored with your collard greens any longer!

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(End of) Summer Green Bean Salad


Green Bean Summer Salad

Can I be honest and admit something to you? I don’t want summer to end. Ever.

Right now I feel like a toddler, kicking and screaming, and having a complete temper tantrum because the leaves are turning orange, it’s cold and foggy in the mornings, and there was a giant thunderstorm over the weekend that made me not want to leave the house the entire day. It just doesn’t feel right. Or maybe it does. But I still want to have a temper tantrum.

And in protest, I decided to it was time to round up the last bit of summer produce and throw it into an (end of) summer green bean salad to trick my tastebuds into believing that it’s still sunny and 80 degrees. A gal can dream, can’t she?

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Zucchini Caprese Salad

Zucchini Caprese Salad

I’m currently planning a trip to Disneyland… (!!!!)

Since you’re sitting at your computer and can’t see me in person, just know that as I type this, I’m so ecstatic that I am literally jumping out of my chair.  It’s scaring my cats.

In case you can’t tell, I am a huge Disney fan and I don’t get to go often so the fact that I am going this year is about as exciting as it gets.  But, the fact that I am only going for one day? That just brings out my type-A tendencies.

I have our entire schedule for the day planned… along with timetables for rides, restaurant recommendations, and even the best spots to rest if we get tired. I mean, if I only get to visit for one day, I’m going to be there all day. Let’s be real here.

In addition to scaring my cats, I’m sure that my extreme overplanning might be scaring you a bit. It’s cool, I can scale it back.  And, in fact, let me show you my Type-B side. The one that’s chill, and calm, and who usually writes this blog (kinda).

Type-B Sonnet likes lazy days in the kitchen when dishes come together without a lot of fuss or ingredients. Type B Sonnet made you this zucchini caprese salad. It’s easy to make and doesn’t involve cooking. After all, who has time to cook when there’s a vacation to plan? ;)

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Roasted Fennel and Spring Vegetable Salad

Someday I’m going to write a book called 101 Ways to Make Tacos because tacos are what we have for dinner. Seriously. Every. Single. Night.

Okay, maybe not every single night, but certainly most weeknights. At this point, my partner has basically stopped asking what’s for dinner because it’s obvious: beans and something else that’s going to go inside of corn tortillas. Any questions?

Someday I’m also going to write a book called 101 Ways to Make A Salad because salads are what I have for lunch practically every single weekday.

The key to making a good salad is this: it has to have a good protein source (I usually opt for beans or lentils), a variety of vegetables with complimentary flavors and textures, and a good dressing. For most salads, I usually dress the leaves in a little plain balsamic vinegar, but the classic balsamic vinegar and olive oil mix is fabulous for almost any salad.

And if you eat an oil-free diet, subbing avocado in for oil is a fabulous way to still enjoy a creamy dressing. This sweet and tangy mango salad dressing and this jalapeno avocado lime dressing are great oil-free options.

My personal challenge to enjoying salads is that I don’t typically crave raw veggies because Seattle is cold most of the year. However, I can get around this by roasting vegetables and adding them (while still warm) to a bed of cold greens. This salad is my newest favorite and it’s a fabulous meal during these cold, drizzly days of spring.

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How to Make Massaged Kale Salad

How to make massaged kale salad

What was the hardest part of your week last week?

While you ponder that, let me share mine: having to watch as a teacher took kale away from a preschooler and made him cry. (Yep, ladies and gentleman, apparently I am so good at getting kids to love kale that they cry when it is taken away.)

Last week I was making my famous kale smoothie for kids with a group of preschoolers. One of the boys was so excited about getting to try the smoothie that he started eating one of the raw kale leaves that had been passed around the classroom for the kids to touch and explore. After taking a bite of the kale he liked it so much that he continued to gnaw his way through most of the leaf. (I was quite impressed!)

Of course, a child snacking on a germ-y piece of kale caught the attention of one of the teachers who promptly took it away from him. Sure enough, crying ensued. Which actually seems pretty fair because if someone tried to take my kale away, I would probably cry too.

Luckily, the nice thing about being an adult is that you can eat as much raw kale as you want. Especially if you massage it and turn it into a delicious salad. Just wash your hands first. :)

By now you might have heard of “massaging” kale and wondered what all the fuss was about. Massaging raw kale transforms it from a tough, somewhat bitter leaf into a sweet, delicate salad. And it only takes a few minutes!

Let me show you how!

How to make massaged kale salad
Massaging kale only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand. I typically use a simple mix of a little salt and fresh lemon juice to help tenderize the leaves and some olive oil for flavor. The salt and acid in the lemon juice helps to break down the cell walls in the kale, softening it while making it sweeter.
 
Once you’ve gathered your supplies, get to work! De-stem the kale and tear it into bite-sized pieces. 
 
Add the kale to a bowl along with the salt and squeeze of lemon juice.  
 
When you massage the kale, think of the motion used to rub someone’s shoulders. (Hey, even kale needs some love.)  Get in that bowl and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.
In the photo below, the kale on the left has been massaged for 1 minute and the kale on the right has been massaged for 5 minutes. You can see that the kale has decreased in size and the texture is softer after being massaged for 5 minutes.
How to make massaged kale salad

Test the kale as you go along. When the kale begins to taste sweet and you can see some kale juices (e.g. liquids extracted from the kale) accumulating at the bottom of the bowl, your kale is ready!

Add the olive oil, give it one more good massage, and it’s ready to eat!

raw kale vs massaged kale

 

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How to Make Massaged Kale Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and torn or chopped into pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Any desired toppings
Instructions
  1. Add the kale to a medium mixing bowl along with the salt and lemon juice.
  2. "Massage" kale for five minutes, or until leaves are sweet and tender.
  3. Add the olive oil and give one more quick "massage."

 

And don’t forget to add any additional toppings as desired.  Some of my favorites are roasted nuts, fresh fruit, dried fruit, sprouted quinoahomemade croutonsroasted squash, or sprouts.

What are your favorite toppings for massaged kale salad?