By Krista A. Parr, R.H.N.
Spring is a time when our bodies are naturally trying cleanse and detoxify. We can support this process by eating foods that stimulate the liver to do its job effectively, such as kale, green onion, radish, and lemon, all featured in this hearty Spring salad.
So, why the ‘massaged’ kale? While famously healthy, kale is actually pretty difficult to digest when it’s not cooked. Massaging raw kale with a bit of salt and oil begins to break it down, allowing the body to more easily absorb the nutrients. It also makes kale more delicious, in my opinion. Farro, a whole grain similar to wheat berries, has a chewy texture that lends itself perfectly to marinated salads like this one. Alternatively, you could easily use quinoa, buckwheat, or even brown rice in its place. With the whole grains, feta cheese, and walnuts, this salad is filling enough to stand alone as a quick lunch, but also makes an ideal potluck or BBQ side dish.
1 bunch of kale (any variety will do), washed, leaves removed from stems, & chopped fine
2 medium/large watermelon radishes (or 1 bunch regular radishes), chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped into matchsticks
3 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons (approx) minced lemonbalm leaves, optional
½ cup raw walnuts, chopped
½ cup dried unsweetened cranberries or cherries (if using cherries, chop in half)
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup farro
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Place the following ingredients in a jar and shake until well mixed…
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Fresh juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup liquid honey
Rinse the farro in a colander under cold tap water, drain well, and place in a pot with 2 cups water. Add just a touch of coconut oil to keep the grains from sticking together. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer & cover. Check for doneness after 20 minutes by tasting a couple grains. They should be soft and chewy. Strain excess water if necessary & give a quick rinse with cold water. Cooking time may be as long as 40 minutes. Place in a bowl in the fridge, lightly covered with a tea towel, to cool before adding to the rest of the salad.
While chopping all the veggies, get the walnuts roasting on low heat in your toaster oven. About 250F for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every so often. Be careful not to burn the walnuts, as this damages the delicate, healthy oils. You’ll know they’re’ done by the lovely fragrant aroma J
Place the kale in a large bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and drizzle with just a touch of olive oil. Then get in there and massage that kale! Work in between your fingers, squeeze & rub. It will transform very quickly into a brighter green, soften, and shrink immensely. You only need to massage for about 3-5 minutes.
Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the kale bowl and mix well, sprinkling with a bit more sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Then mix in half of the dressing. If it looks like you need more, add it in. You don’t want your salad swimming in the dressing.
Cover and allow the salad to marinate in the fridge for as long as possible (overnight is great) but at least 30 minutes.
Krista A. Parr is a Vancouver Registered Holistic Nutritionist and founder of Root to Fruit Nutrition, specializing in fertility. She is passionate about guiding women onto a nourishing, supportive diet. www.RootToFruitNutrition.ca