Avocado & Sesame Kale Salad

I just recently discovered where to buy kale in Istanbul and have since been making all my favorite kale recipes. From kale chips to salads to sautéed kale, I’m loving this kick. This recipe combines Asian flavors with avocado and kale to make a flavorful and savory side-dish or lunch. It has enough personality to have you not looking for more.

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Kale: contains nearly 20 percent of the RDA of dietary fiber in just one cup, is packed with carotenoids and flavonoids that fight against cancer, is anti-inflammatory with its omega-3 fatty acids content, prevents colon, bladder, breast, prostate, ovarian and gastric cancer, promotes cardiovascular health, is essential for detoxification, strengthens the bones, boosts immunity, lowers blood pressure, promotes a healthy immune system, and contributes to healthy vision.

Kale Salad with Sesame and Avocado

by Aylin @ Glow Kitchen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: salad vegan vegetarian kale sesame soy sauce avocado

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 5-6 stems kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, stemmed and halved
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado

For the Dressing

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Juice of half a lemon

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, juice of half a lemon and teaspoon of mustard. Massage with clean hands into the cut kale in order to help break down and wilt its toughness. Next, add the remainder of the ingredients, saving the avocado for the end.

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Serve with slivered avocado and enjoy a nutrient-packed, flavorful dish.

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Delicious!

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Bon Appetit!

xo Aylin

Buddha Bowl

A “Buddha Bowl” is essentially a kitchen sink salad. It includes whatever raw vegetables you have on hand—avocado and carrots are usual suspects—and a grain. My version is a bit different in that it emphasizes the grain over the greens and if I’m using carrots, and not grating them, I like to cook them slightly, so overall the veggies in the dish aren’t entirely raw.

This dish is wonderful in that it can be repeated in so many different ways. Simply by substituting the grain with, say, quinoa will change the entirely aesthetic, taste and overall experience. I like to use heavier grains, like millet or brown rice. And, because I love spices and all things spicy, I usually add a touch of red pepper flakes (or sometimes even cumin) to give an entire new dimension to the outcome.

Here’s my Saturday night’s version:

The GK Go-To Buddha Bowl

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Ingredients:

– 1 cup cooked brown rice

– 1 cup spinach or kale, without stems

– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 cup carrot, chopped

– 1 clove garlic, chopped

– 1/4 cup scallions, chopped

– 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

– handful chopped parsley

– Salt and pepper, to taste

– pinch of red pepper flakes

– 1/4 avocado per serving

Serves: 1

Directions:

Always wash rice before cooking—it gets rid of some of the starch that makes the result less sticky and gluten-y.

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You could easily eat the carrots raw, but I like them lightly cooked and infused with some garlic taste, so I like to toss them in a pan with some olive oil and fresh garlic for a few minutes or until slightly browned.

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While the brown rice is cooking away, assemble the rest of the ingredients next to a salad bowl with the green of choice – I used spinach – already in place.

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When the brown rice is ready, put 1 cup into the salad bowl, atop the greens. The heat from the rice will help the greens to wilt. Then add the remainder of the ingredients, EXCEPT for the avocado, which will be used as a garnish once served. You don’t want the avocado to get mushy or overheated.

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Incoming: Nutritional Yeast.

Say what?

Nutritional Yeast: an inactive yeast that has a distinct nutty/cheesy flavor. It is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you’re vegan, it’s a good idea to add some to your food regularly.

You can find it in most health food stores. It has been gaining popularity in health-food circles and is breaching the mainstream. I find it absolutely delicious and recently it has become a staple in all of my salads and sprinkled atop cooked veggies. It’s unreal on popcorn with some salt and garlic and also a star when used in vegan “cheese” sauces, because it gives it that taste you crave for in cheese without the dairy.

But, we digress…

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Serve from this…

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…to this:

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Hearty, earthy and tasty!

Bon Appetit!

xo Aylin

Light Lemon Pepper Quinoa

A recent find:

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Kale chips! The taste was a big “meh”. They had a soggy texture. I like my kale chips crispy. The spices gave the chips a smoked taste, which is unlike the kinds I’ve tried in the States. But I’d rather crunch through them, not chew. Maybe I’ll make my own soon.

While I was munching away on the kale chips, I was also making a side dish. Turkey doesn’t have quinoa, except for the imported kind. And since most things are locally-sourced around here, it was a huge surprise to see one of my usual staples hiding in my local grocery store. From Italy.

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I love quinoa, but I am not a huge fan of overly-flavored quinoa. Usually, I cook it with a little salt and call it a day, but sometimes a fragrant touch gives it an oomph without the clouding effects of numerous vegetable, spice or oil additions.

Lemon Pepper Quinoa

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Ingredients:

– 1 tbsp lemon zest

– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/4 tsp lemon pepper (or just regular pepper)

– 1 shallot (I used 4 abnormally small shallots), diced

– 1 cup quinoa

– 2.5 cups water

– lemon zest for garnish

Servings: 3-4

Directions:

Let a medium-sized pot head to medium.

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Zest the lemon.

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Add the salt to the lemon zest and smear into the table surface with the side of a knife, allowing all the juices of the lemon zest to release more flavor. The salt will break down the cell walls and extract the juice of the zest.

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Dice the shallots.

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In a heated pot, add the olive oil, lemon zest, and shallots.

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Sautee for 2-3 minutes.

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Add the quinoa and mix until well combined.

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Add the lemon pepper in this step, just before the water.

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Add the water and cover the pot until the mixture reaches a boil, then reduce the temperature to low, allowing it to simmer until finished.

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Serve.

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Add more lemon zest for garnish and additional flavor.

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Voila!

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Bon Appetit!

xo Aylin

Raw Carrot & Avocado Kale Salad

YUM is all I can say.

Salads are fun because you can eat them in an infinite amount of ways by just changing the dressing up, but let’s face it–it’s easy to be bored by them.

The key is to make sure every dressing tastes like Jesus, but without divine, hard-to-get/expensive ingredients. By keeping it simple and working with strong flavors and chewy textures, you’re bound to love a salad any day, any meal.

I used to hate kale. It’s a rough one to nosh through. There is nothing wrong with chewing, but to chew and chew and chew on something that doesn’t seem to be breaking down is a bitch. So, once I realized how to soften this frigid foliage up, it has become my favorite green!

The dressing was inspired by my go-to salad, which is essentially greens massaged in guacamole.  This time, however, I wanted the dressing to be more mellow and sweet, hence the carrot!

The result=to die for. This salad is so filling, because kale is denser and thicker than most greens, and the dressing is full of flavor.

Raw Carrot & Avocado Kale Salad

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale
– 1 tbsp sea salt
– 2 carrots
– 1 avocado
– 1/2 lemon’s juice
– 1 clove garlic
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper

Serves 2

Directions:

Gather your kale and begin to pick the leaves from the stems. The stems are rough and not fun to eat, so get rid of ’em.

Now that you’ve washed and de-stemmed the kale, it is now time to massage 1 tbsp of sea salt into the kale until juices are released and the kale becomes softer. Don’t worry, we will rinse the salt away after we massage, so there will be no salty taste left behind.

Massaging requires a few minutes to break the kale down.

Let the kale sit a bit before you rinse. Meanwhile make the dressing.

Combine 2 carrots and 1 avocado in a food processor with 1 garlic clove, 1/2 lemon’s juice, and salt & pepper.

Blend this bad boy up until it is a creamy consistency.

And that’s all there is to it!

Rinse your kale thoroughly and then add this dressing.

You can mix with a spoon or get right to it and use your clean hands to massage and coat each leaf evenly with the dressing.

My favorite part of this salad is how the dressing gets caught in the ruffles and grooves of the kale, collecting chunks of avocado and carrot deliciousness that is captured with each bite.

And plate. I like to add some color contrast with tomato.

Delicious darlings, simply yum.

xoxo