The new year is upon us, and usually the motivation to make healthier choices is higher. As a private practice dietitian, I have found that, instead of making drastic changes all at once, incorporating small changes consistently is usually more sustainable for my clients.
In general, adding in more vegetables to your daily diet is a good practice. Cruciferous vegetables in particular are very supportive for detoxification and hormone health, due to their sulfur-containing phytonutrients. Cruciferous vegetables include kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc. For liver support and hormone health, aiming for one cup of cruciferous veggies per day, most days of the week, can be a great starting point for most.
This massaged kale salad is a great way to get in your daily serving of cruciferous greens without the usual digestive side effects, like gas and bloating. By massaging the kale with sea salt, you gently break down the fibers without heat. This practice makes the kale not only more tender and easier to digest, but it also makes it more enjoyable to eat because it soaks up the flavors. Even if you are not a kale fan, try this recipe — it’s been a hit with many kale newbies.
Massaged Kale Salad
- 1 bunch green curly kale (~8 leaves)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons unrefined cold-press extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar (white or brown)
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted maple almonds or walnuts (see below for recipe)
- Crumbled gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese
- Dried cranberries, raisins, or currants, chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
- Wash your kale and shake off any excess water. You can also shake them in a clean kitchen towel.
- Devein each kale leaf by pulling down along the stem towards the tip of the leaf.
- Chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces and toss into a large bowl.
- Add the sea salt and gently massage the kale for about 1 minute, or until the kale leaves begin to break down and look shiny. Do not over-massage, otherwise the greens will wilt too much.
- Add the olive oil and the vinegar and toss well.
- Finally, add the chopped almonds, cheese, and dried fruit of your choice, and mix until combined.
- Add as much of the cheese and dried fruit as you like.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest if desired.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variation: You can swap the cheese with diced avocado.
Roasted Maple Almonds
Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup almonds (or walnuts/pecans)
- 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Generous pinch sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place almonds onto a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Make sure to watch that they do not burn.
- Set aside to cool.
- Heat a cast-iron pan over medium. Add the butter and the maple syrup.
- Stir the mixture until it bubbles a lot, becomes syrupy, and reduces in amount.
- Add cooled nuts and pinch of salt. Mix well to coat. Be careful as the syrup is extremely hot.
- With a spoon or spatula, spread the almonds onto a plate and allow to cool.
- Break into pieces. Serve with the massaged kale salad or eat alone as a snack!
For more recipes, check out our Taste section here.