Remember all those veggies I brought home from the store last week? I used a lot of them over the weekend, and I’m going to show you what I did!
I got invited to a small little get-together to watch the Golden Globes on Sunday. I gladly agreed to contribute a vegetable, side or salad, and I came up with something that serves all those purposes. And it started with roasting a ton of vegetables.
Pictured above are three trays of veggies, before they went in the oven. Brussel sprouts (halved) on the left, broccoli florets in the middle, and 3 zucchinis, 2 red bell peppers, and 1 onion, all sliced, on the right. I lined the trays with foil for easy clean-up, and spritzed all the veggies with a healthy dose of PAM before sprinkling them liberally with the Onion and Herb variety of Mrs. Dash.
After 40 minutes in my 400-degree oven (during which I rotated the trays and flipped the veggies once), they looked like this:
They looked and smelled great. They tasted great too – tender, with lots of crispy edges and charred bits.
These veggies were going to be the main ingredient in a Roasted Vegetable and Kale Salad. Now that the veggies were taken care of, time to focus on the kale! I decided to saute the kale with some other goodies, and I was able to do that while the veggies were roasting.
I pulled out my big skillet, slicked it with PAM, put it on medium heat, and dumped in a couple of handfuls of Trader Joe’s Healthy 8. This is a prepared assortment of diced vegetables that’s a mix of broccoli, carrots, red cabbage, green cabbage, jicama, green bell peppers, celery, and radish.
If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can use some onion, garlic, carrots, or whatever you have lying around. I just wanted to add some flavor to the kale… which was my next ingredient.
I used an entire pre-washed and chopped bag of kale. After the Healthy 8 cooked for a minute or two, I started piling in the kale. The bag I used had pieces with the thick stems, so I did my best to remove those. You can eat the stems, but they take longer to cook, and I wasn’t planning on braising these for hours, like you can do with kale and other hearty greens. You can see the stems on the right in this picture:
Once the kale was in the pan, I added about a cup of water. I remember reading or seeing on TV that water can help you cook down kale, so why not? Had I had an opened container of broth, I would’ve used that. Kale, like spinach, wilts down when you cook it, and after a few minutes, you have a fraction of what you used to have:
Cooking the kale only took about 5 minutes. When the kale was wilted and cooked, I removed it from the heat. For a dressing, I added 1/2 a jar of black bean and corn salsa (the version that Trader Joe’s sells is called Cowboy Caviar):
I stirred that in, and here’s what I had: kale, sauteed with Healthy 8, and coated with salsa:
This alone would make a fine side, or a tasty warm salad to start your meal. But it got even better once I added in the roasted vegetables. Here’s the finished Roasted Vegetable and Kale Salad:
The salsa adds a little heat, and the variety of vegetables means a lot of textures and flavors. Between the roasted veggies, the kale, and the Healthy 8, this dish has 13 different fresh veggies in it! And it’s versatile as well: I ate the bowl pictured above warm for lunch, but by the time I got to the party a few hours later, it was cold… and still delicious.
And here’s another tip! My friends put together a taco bar (I chose to add the salsa so it would play into the Southwest/South-of-the-Border theme), and they had a bowl of Queso Fresco as a taco topping. Queso Fresco is a light, mild Mexican cheese, similar to Feta. I sprinkled a couple tablespoons of Queso Fresco on the salad, and it tasted even better! I wish I thought of that earlier! Oh well, I can add that next time. If you can’t find Queso Fresco near you, you can use Feta, or even a little Ricotta.
The salad was a hit at the Golden Globes party, and I had leftovers that would be great for my next couple of lunches. Nothing like a super-healthy salad that I can munch on for days!
Keep it up, David!
For more recipes, check out my recipes page!