Everyone knows that kale is a superfood, but the question is, are you eating your kale? I decided to make a recipe round up of my favourite kale recipes, which are easy to make and delicious. I hope you love them as much as we do!
I absolutely love kale in general. A nutrient powerhouse, one cup of kale has zero fat and only 36 calories and is high in vitamins and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Any time you see a dark green such as kale, it is a sign that it is highly concentrated with nutrients.
Here are just some of its wholesome features:
- Super rich in vitamin K (which translates into a super antioxidant!)
- High in fiber (assists in gut health)
- High in iron (per calorie, more iron than beef)
- High in vitamin A (great skin, yes please)
- High in vitamin C (great for your immune system)
- High in calcium (per calorie, more calcium than milk!)
I’d love to know, what is your favourite way of preparing kale?
1. Penne with Kale + Sautéed Vegetables
2. Cheesy Kale Chips
3. Lemony Lentil + Kale Rice Bowl
4. Scrambled Tofu + Kale Breakfast Burritos
5. Creamy Kale Salad
6. Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl
7. Black Bean + Kale Soup
8. Crispy Kale Rice Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce
One of my favourite meals to make in the kitchen is risotto. I actually don’t mind the laborious process, it’s quite meditative and helps slow you down. A little splash of water, a stir, a sip of wine – so relaxing! But it’s just not realistic on a weeknight when time is limited and there’s a lot going on (and you’ve been fighting a cold!). I had heard about people using cauliflower as risotto, which is not only super quick, but also so much more nutritious. It turned out so well, and unlike typical risotto which leaves you feeling a little guilty and heavy, this is incredibly satisfying, yet light and fresh. We had our risotto with a side of roasted asparagus (chopping it and stirring it in is also an option) but you can easily adapt this risotto with ingredients you have on hand; add mushrooms, peas, tomatoes, basil, or other veggies and herbs you may be craving.
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped to small rice-like pieces in a food processor
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and thyme and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
- Add beans, vegetable broth (and nutritional yeast if you are using it, gives a slight cheesy flavour) into the pot, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Using an immersion (handheld) blender, blend the ingredients to a creamy consistency.
- Add cauliflower and spinach, stir. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir, spoon into bowls and garnish with toasted pine nuts.
I am way too excited about this recipe. I have entered a time machine and gone back to my childhood. The only difference is, I’m not eating yellow #5 and #6. And it doesn’t come out of a box. Even if you’re not buying Kraft Dinner, homemade versions of mac and cheese are usually loaded with butter, cheese and other unhealthy ingredients. This mac and cheese is 100% vegan and so healthy! I’m just smiling ear to ear knowing what I used to make it, and seeing how much my family loved it. I think you’re all going to love this one just as much as we did.
The cheese in this recipe is a combination of roasted sweet potato, mustard and nutritional yeast. The result is a nostalgic mac and cheese with a grown up edge and a rich, creamy, and satisfying dish! My son pushed the mushrooms aside, but I couldn’t resist them.
Roasted Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
For the mac and cheese:
- 500 grams gluten-free elbow macaroni
- 2 sweet potatoes (about 3 cups), cubed
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 teaspoon tamari (or regular soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- For garnish: a handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
For the mushrooms:
- 8 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place sweet potato cubes onto lightly greased baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender, turning once half way through.
- In the meanwhile, boil your pasta according to packaging instructions. Drain and place pasta back in the pot.
- In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, dijon, garlic powder, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a small pan, sauté mushrooms in oil on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Remove sweet potatoes from oven (don’t turn off the heat) and add sweet potatoes to the bowl with all your seasonings and almond milk. Mash well, combining all ingredients. Don’t worry if you have a few clumps. If the mixture is a little too thick, add another splash of almond milk.
- Add macaroni noodles to the bowl, and fold all ingredients together. Spoon all into a casserole dish, top with mushrooms and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove and sprinkle freshly chopped parsley overtop. Dig in!
My all time favourite way of preparing vegetables is roasting them. Depending on the vegetable, it could be a short or long process. This salad includes roasted asparagus and grape tomatoes which really don’t take long at all. Hence, a perfect weeknight meal. If you follow Love and Lentils, you’ve probably realized my appreciation for simplicity, and I think that is seen in my meals as well. Although this is so simple with few ingredients, the flavours are delicious together, and the best part is, you’ll have this on the dinner table in 25 minutes. We had our bean salad with vegan smoked apple sage sausages by Field Roast (side note; best vegan sausages ever). Not a single weird ingredient and absolutely delicious. So, it was a lazy(ish) Monday…but it tasted amazing.
Mediterranean Style Bean Salad
- 2 small 398 ml cans organic cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, rinsed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped
- kosher sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Place asparagus and grape tomatoes onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and freshly ground pepper overtop.
- Place asparagus and tomatoes in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until asparagus is slightly tender and browned.
- Prepare your vinaigrette by combining olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix with a fork to combine.
- Chop the asparagus into 2″ long spears and combine in a large bowl with beans and tomatoes. Top with vinaigrette and mix gently to combine.
- Serve with grilled lemon wedges (I did this using a pan on the stove).
If your mornings are anything like mine, they don’t offer too much time before we need to scurry off to preschool and work. My son, like me, also doesn’t have much of an appetite first thing in the morning. Smoothies have come to the rescue, for both of us. He’s always liked fruity smoothies, who doesn’t, but he was a little reluctant when he saw a bunch of baby spinach leaves going into this morning’s smoothie. I guaranteed him this drink was packed with all the awesome things that make him strong and healthy. Moments later we had a green-smoothie-guzzling boy. You really don’t taste the spinach in here, it’s just an added antioxidant bonus! It also doesn’t need any sweetener, as the fruit is sweet enough. If you don’t have flax seeds, go ahead and use chia seeds, but don’t skip this ingredient. It’s another one of those amazing hidden ingredients which you do not taste but are bursting with nutrients like omega-3 and fiber.
Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie
Makes approx. 2 cups
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup organic baby spinach
- 1 cup organic strawberries
- 1/2 cup organic blueberries
- 1 small organic banana
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- Combine all ingredients into a blender. Let your child do the whizzing, it works wonders in helping them eat/drink what they help prepare.
- Drink immediately, enjoy!
I’ll start by saying that this is not ideally something that you would cook up like I did on a weeknight after work. It’s best done on the weekend, in big batches, and reheated throughout the week for a super delicious, hearty, vegan chili. I say this because the cooking time is a little long, and the longer it cooks, the better it tastes. So squeeze it into your weekend plans instead, k?
The second thing I must tell you about this chili is that it is most definitely the best vegan chili I’ve had. My husband was skeptical, kind of bored of the idea of beans, but the addition of bulgur gives the chili a fabulous texture. This recipe was created because we all needed a little bit of warming. With temperatures close to -35ºC in Montreal, we needed some heat! And heat we got! My son is used to spicy food, so he enjoyed this, but you can always use less jalapeño to satisfy the whole family if they’re not used to the heat.
Spicy Bulgur Chili Recipe
Makes 12 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
- 10 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
- 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 cup bulgur
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapeño and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add the bulgur, chili powder, and cumin and stir until well combined.
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. If you find it too thick, add a splash of water.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro.
So, what better way to kick off post #1 on my newly named blog, Love and Lentils, than with featuring, of course, lentils?! This one is a fan favourite around here, as the flavours and textures in this salad go so well together. It’s packed with protein (Jen, this one’s for you), and it was thoroughly enjoyed by the wee one. Although it’s absolutely freezing in Montreal with close to -40ºC temperatures, I fancy the day that I will pack this along for a summer bike ride picnic. A girl can dream, right? At least 90 days to go…..
The ingredient list may look long at first sight, but rest assured that it’s mostly spices which I’m sure you have in your pantry and which make this salad irresistible and addictive! I whipped this salad up in less than 30 minutes, and had leftovers for lunches and even dinner.
Sweet Lentil Salad & Greens
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup capers, drained
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse lentils well and drain. Place in a pot and cover with a 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check on the lentils after 15 minutes and if they are al dente, they are ready. You do not want overcooked, mushy lentils.
- While the lentils are simmering, make the vinaigrette by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.
- When the lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop them from continuing to cook.
- Place lentils in a large serving bowl. Add onion, spinach, capers, pine nuts and cranberries and toss with dressing.
- Serve and enjoy! Leftovers can stay in the fridge for up to three days.