Posts Tagged kale

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Oh, vegetables. I used to love you. Then, I got pregnant and everything changed. I no longer wanted vegetables. All I wanted to eat was chocolate chip cookies and grilled cheese sandwiches.

However, a girl can’t live on chocolate chip cookies and grilled cheese alone. (I mean, technically, I could. But I shouldn’t.) I’ve had to practically force myself to eat vegetables, and it hasn’t been easy. But, just when I thought I might never like vegetables again, I happened upon this kale salad. I don’t know what it was about this particular salad, but it completely snapped me out of my anti-vegetable funk. It just tasted so good. Frankly, I couldn’t get enough of it.

This salad happens to be incredibly good for you. It’s vegan and gluten free. It contains a whole bunch of super foods – kale, quinoa, and cranberries. And, most importantly, it tastes good to this pregnant lady. (For the record, my husband also loved this kale quinoa salad. He ate two bowls of it for dinner one night, and ate the rest for lunch the next day. I’d say it was a hit.)

Kale + Quinoa Tahini Salad |

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing


  • 1 bunch of black (dinosaur) kale
  • 1-2 small carrots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Water, as needed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1.5 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Optional garnishes: red chili flakes or avocado


  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. When the quinoa is fully cooked, set aside until needed.
  2. while the quinoa is cooking, prep the vegetables. Using a sharp knife, slice the kale into thin strips. (No need to remove the stems!) Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot into thin ribbons. Toss the sliced kale and carrots together, along with the dried cranberries.
  3. To make the tahini dressing, stir together tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. The mixture will thicken and turn a lighter shade. Begin adding water, a little at a time. Stir until the mixture is light and creamy, and the desired thickness. Stir in honey, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.
  4. Toss the kale mixture with 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa. Pour the dressing over the salad, and stir to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds atop the salad. Garnish with red chili flakes or avocado, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Potato and Kale Soup with Rosemary and Tomatoes

And just like that, it happened: summer turned into fall. The days are dreary and cold, and all I want to do is snuggle on the couch with fuzzy blankets and drink coffee and read books, etc. I want to hibernate.

In celebration of the season, I made a giant pot of potato and kale soup this week. I don’t generally eat soup during the summer months (it’s a weird rule I have), so I was really excited to make soup for the first time this season. I wasn’t disappointed. This soup is simple and rustic, the perfect soup to ring in the changing of seasons.

It’s been a strangely busy week, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

Adapted from Nicole Franzen

5-6 small red potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 carrots, diced
1 container chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt & pepper

Optional ingredients:
Parmesan, for garnish
Croutons, for garnish


In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic, fennel, and carrots. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with some of the red wine (about 1/4 cup) and add in rosemary and thyme sprigs. Allow the vegetables to cook in the red wine until the liquid has reduced. Add in the rest of the wine, all of the stock, potatoes, and the fire roasted tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.

Allow the soup to come to a boil, and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Let the soup simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, at least 30 minutes. The longer you allow the soup to cook, the better it will taste! (Note: you may need to add in a bit of water, as the potatoes will soak up a lot of the liquid.)

Shortly before you’re ready to eat the soup (10-15 minutes), remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs and add in the chopped kale. (I like the kale to retain some of it’s flavor and vibrancy, so I like to add it in at the end. It cooks very quickly.)

Once the kale is cooked (10 minutes, give or take), remove the soup from the heat. Serve while warm, and garnish with croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Pumpkin & Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing (Recipe Swap)

Last month, I wasn’t able to participate in the Recipe Swap, as I was driving across the country with my sister. In two years of swapping, this is the only post I’ve missed! I was bummed to miss out on all the recipe swap fun, but driving across the country isn’t exactly conducive to cooking. (On the contrary, driving across the country is conducive to eating a lot of crappy food and drinking gas station coffee.)

That being said, it’s good to be back.

There are times when Christianna emails the swap group our recipe for the month, and I’m completely inspired by it. This was not one of those times. This month’s recipe – “Russian Salad” is just plain nasty. It’s essentially a potato salad with veal and herring. (Yes, herring.) If I’m being truly honest, I got to the herring part of the recipe and decided to read no further. I am just not down with fish in my potato salad. So, I went in a totally and completely different direction. Really, the only thing my pumpkin kale salad has in common with Russian Salad is that they are both….salads. That’s it.

I blame this salad on Pinterest. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a bit of a ‘pumpkin craze’ on Pinterest as of late. It’s all pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cookies and pumpkin cocktails, etc, etc. I hate it! You see, I love pumpkin. I love it in curries and soups and stews. I love pumpkin in salads, gratins, and casseroles. Pumpkin is an amazingly flavorful and versatile fruit. And, sure, I love pumpkin pie as much as the next person, I just happen to believe that pumpkin does not belong in coffee. ;)

So, this is my take on the Russian salad, as well as my official submission to the great pumpkin craze. I hope you like it.

Makes 6-8 servings

Salad ingredients:
1 small heirloom pumpkin (or 1/2 of a large pumpkin)
2 heaping cups of chopped lacinato kale
2 heaping cups of roughly chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup candied pecans*
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1 teaspoon nutmeg

For the Tahini dressing:
2 tablespoons sesame tahini paste
2 small cloves of garlic
the juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon water (more, if needed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper

*You could easily make your own spiced or candied pecans, or use plain pecans. I happened upon some candied pecans at Trader Joe’s that I thought were quite tasty in this salad.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a Silpat.

Using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and then cut each half in 2 or 3 pieces (whatever is easiest to handle). Using your knife, carefully remove the pumpkin skin from each segment. Once the skin is removed, chop the pumpkin into 1″ cubes. In a bowl, toss the pumpkin cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to coat. Spread the pumpkin pieces into an even layer on the baking sheet, and roast until fork tender, but firm (about 30 minutes). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

While the pumpkin is cooling, mix the dressing together. Stir together tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice. The mixture will thicken and turn a lighter shade. Begin adding water, a little at a time. Stir until the mixture is light and creamy, and the desired thickness. Stir in yogurt and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the chopped lettuce and kale. Toss with tahini dressing, and gently mix in the pumpkin cubes, pecans, and minced parsley. Toss with a bit more tahini dressing, until coated. Taste, and season with extra salt & pepper, if needed.

Kimchi Breakfast Bowls

Nich and I went out to brunch a couple of weeks ago and ordered a few things to share. I don’t recall anything else we ate that morning, but I do know we had a delicious breakfast bowl with a fried egg and kimchi. I’ve been craving it ever since.

The funny thing is that I’ve been making a similar rice bowl – Eggs in a Nest – for years. I just never thought to add kimchi into the mix.

I’m not sure why, but the kimchi makes all the difference. It’s tangy, it’s funky, and it’s good. (If you’re not a fan of kimchi, then you’re out of luck. But you should seriously reconsider. Kimchi is wonderful!)

In addition to the funky goodness of kimchi, this recipe is also great because it can be made a million different ways. I basically just sauteéd a few vegetables I had in the fridge (green beans, onions, red bell peppers, kale) and tossed them atop some brown rice. I then topped that with a healthy portion of kimchi and a fried egg. Lastly, I poured kimchi juice (the fermenty goodness left in the jar) and Sriracha over the whole thing.

I devoured the whole bowl in seconds and felt like a champ. I highly recommend you do the same.

Makes 2 servings

1.5 cups cooked brown rice
2 eggs
1 heaping cup of kale, roughly chopped
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly
Olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Various other fresh vegetables: zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, snap peas, etc.
1/2 cup kimchi, at room temperature (homemade or store bought. I’m a sucker for Choi’s Kimchi, which I get at the PSU Farmer’s Market in Portland. It’s SO stinking good.)

Optional sauces: Sriracha and/or Gochujang


If you made your rice ahead of time and left it to cool (or stored it in the refrigerator), warm the rice in the microwave or on the stovetop. If your kimchi has any liquid in the jar, pour a little of the kimchi juices into the rice to season it. Stir, and set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet. Once the oil is hot, add in the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes before adding in the rest of the vegetables (except for the kale). Season with salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Once the vegetables are cooked (and starting to caramelize), add in the chopped kale. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat down to low, and allow the greens to wilt. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the kale (and other veggies) are fully cooked.

Divide the rice between two soup bowls. Portion the kimchi and the sauteed vegetables between the two bowls of rice. Set aside. In the same pan you used to cook the veggies, fry two eggs.

Once the eggs are cooked to your liking (I like the yolk nice and runny!), place a fried egg atop each rice bowl. Douse with a hefty squirt of Sriracha (or Gochujang. or both!). Add salt and pepper if needed.

Fennel and Kale Meatloaf (with Bacon)

There are two main factors that contributed to my decision to make meatloaf in the middle of the summer:

1. The overabundance of kale in my garden.
2. The meatloaf pan my father-in-law gave me for Christmas.

I really wish I could just leave it at those two (odd) reasons, but I feel that I should provide you with somewhat of an explanation.

As for the kale, I feel it (mostly) explains itself. The stuff grows like weeds. Try as I might, I just cannot keep up with it. I’ve eaten kale with cheesy polenta. I’ve eaten kale in a raw kale and apple salad. I’ve thrown kale on a pizza. I’ve used kale in pesto. I’ve taken to giving away bags of kale to my friends. And, still, the kale keeps on comin’…

So, it should go without saying that I’m always on the lookout for clever kale recipes. When I stumbled across Good Stuff NW‘s recipe for Kale and Fennel Meatloaf, I felt like I hit the recipe jackpot. Not only did it incorporate kale, but it gave me a chance to use my meatloaf pan.

This brings me to the second reason I made this meatloaf: the fact that my father-in-law bought me a meatloaf pan for Christmas and I had yet to blog about meatloaf! I think this makes me a bad daughter-in-law (I kid, I kid). To be totally honest, I’ve made meatloaf a few times since receiving the meatloaf pan, but I hadn’t gotten around to actually posting any meatloaf recipes. Let’s be honest…while meatloaf is one of the tastiest comfort foods of all time, it isn’t exactly pretty to look at or photograph. Since meatloaf is so very un-pretty, I haven’t exactly been inspired to blog about it. Until now, that is.

But, let’s rewind a second. You’re probably still wondering what on earth a meatloaf pan actually is.

I wondered the exact same thing the first time my father-in-law told me about one. He told me (in no uncertain terms) that every chef must own a meatloaf pan. I’d never heard of such a thing, much less purchased one. And then he gave me my very own meatloaf pan for Christmas and my eyes were opened. Essentially, it is a pan within a pan. Let me show you:

(Image courtesy of

As you can see, the inner pan rests inside a larger outer pan. The inner pan has handy holes which allow the grease to drain out of the meatloaf and into the outer pan. This ensures that the meatloaf cooks evenly and quickly, and the end result is a moist meatloaf that isn’t overly greasy.

However, like the great Alton Brown, I am not a proponent of single task kitchen gadgets. I hate things that take valuable drawer space and only do ONE thing, i.e. strawberry hullers, garlic presses, etc. So, I can’t in good conscience go tell you all to go buy a meatloaf pan. It is quite singular in its purpose. For the sake of argument, though, I will say that the outer pan could easily double as a bread pan (when it isn’t catching your meatloaf drippings). And, this was the best darn meatloaf I have ever eaten, and I feel I owe it all to the magical meatloaf pan. So take it for what you will.

So, a big thank you to my father-in-law for the gift of a meatloaf pan. And thanks to Kathleen from Good Stuff NW for giving me a fabulous meatloaf recipe to try (and tweak). I could not have been happier with the end result.

Fennel and Kale Meatloaf with Bacon
(Adapted from Good Stuff NW)
Serves 4

1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, finely diced
2 c. kale, sliced into chiffonade
2 lbs. ground beef
6 strips bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh minced herbs: I used fresh oregano and dried basil (use whatever you’ve got on hand!)
1 Tablespoon pork lard/fat*

*Note: traditional meatloaf recipes call for a mixture of ground beef and ground pork or sausage. I didn’t have ground pork or sausage so I substituted bacon and pork fat. It worked out wonderfully.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large frying pan or skillet, cook bacon pieces over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan, set aside to cool. Pour off excess bacon fat into a container, set aside for use in the meatloaf. Leave 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan.

Return pan to heat, and cook onion, garlic and fennel bulb in bacon fat for 2-3 minutes. Add in kale and continue to cook, until vegetables are soft and the kale is wilted (5 minutes). Remove from heat, and allow mixture to cool.

Combine ground beef, egg, milk, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste and herbs in large mixing bowl. Add in bacon pieces and stir in reserved bacon fat. Gently using your hands, mix in the fennel and kale mixture, until everything is combined. Gently press into a meatloaf pan or bread pan (or form into a loaf and place on a baking sheet).

Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part reads between 140-150°. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serve with mashed potatoes (or whatever else you want to eat it with!). I doused my slice of meatloaf with just a dash of Lucille’s BBQ sauce.

Kale & Green Garlic with Cheesy Polenta

Going into this month, I knew it was going to be nuts. I had a baby shower to throw, the Montavilla farmer’s market Grand Opening to plan and attend, a wedding to coordinate, and my own wedding anniversary to celebrate.

All of these are incredibly wonderful things. I’m going to be an aunt for the second time! A dear friend got married to a man who makes her so very happy. The farmer’s market that I volunteer for opened for another great season. And last, but certainly not least, I get to celebrate being married to my best friend for two years. I’m a lucky lady.

But all of these wonderful things do require a bit of time and energy, and somehow I never seem to have much of either. In the midst of all of this, I’m working full time, attempting to write a food blog, and am desperately trying not to kill my garden. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. But when life hands you crazy, just whip up some kale and polenta. That’s what I always say. OK, if I’m being honest, I’ve never said that before in my entire life. But, the moral of the story is this: when you have an incredibly busy schedule and you have kale growing like weeds in your garden, you should take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and make a delicious and satisfying kale dinner.

So that is precisely what I did. I picked a big bunch of Red Russian Kale from my garden, and quickly sautéed it with bacon, green garlic, onion, and lemon. I whipped up a quick batch of polenta, stirred in some freshly grated parmesan cheese, and proceeded to eat a large bowl of cheesy-bacony-polenta-and-kale goodness. The meal was so satisfying, flavorful, and comforting. And, it took all of 15 minutes to cook!

In the midst of all the craziness, I took the time to sit down to dinner with my husband, enjoyed a glass of wine, and allowed myself to breathe. It was just what I needed.

I know I’m not the only one out there who struggles with being over-committed and busy. Its the world we live in. I’m sure many of us are are in the same boat – scratching our heads, pouring over our calendars and wondering how we managed to book up the whole summer before it even started. Life has a funny way of quickly spiraling out of control. It happens. So, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of life, I challenge you to slow down. Take the time to sit down to dinner; to enjoy a meal with friends or family. Everything else can wait.

And, of course, if you’re in need of a little inspiration I do declare that this is the perfect meal to make when you’re pressed for time. Its so good, in fact, that I’ve already made it twice this week!

Kale & Green Garlic with Cheesy Polenta
Serves 4

1 large bunch of Red Russian Kale (or other green, such as Chard), washed, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped.
4 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 heads of green garlic*, minced
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
Red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

*Note: Green garlic can be found at farmer’s markets at this time of year. It is much milder than regular garlic, so it isn’t overpowering. If you can’t find green garlic, substitute 1-2 cloves of regular garlic.

Heat large pan or skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add bacon pieces. Cook until fat has rendered and bacon has begun to crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a paper towel.

Return pan (with bacon fat) back to the stove. If you have really fatty bacon, you may need to pour off some of the fat (You want about 1 Tablespoon of bacon grease left in the pan). Cook onions and diced green garlic in the bacon fat until tender, about 3-4 minutes. At this point, add in kale and squeeze lemon juice over the whole pan. Cover, turn down to medium-low, and allow kale to cook and steam for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally, checking to make sure everything is cooking evenly. Once the kale has fully wilted (8-10 minutes), add bacon back into the pan. Squeeze a bit more lemon juice over the mixture, and season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.

Remove from heat, and serve kale and green garlic mixture over cheesy polenta.

For the polenta:
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup polenta (or corn grits)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Combine water, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, pour polenta in a steady stream into the water, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to whisk. Stir until polenta is thickened, but creamy (8-10 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and butter, mix until incorporated. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed (Note: I like my polenta to be quite peppery.)