Monday, March 28, 2011

Gluten Free Superfood Salad...The Jury is Out

I have been reading up a lot on nutrient-dense foods, and the same few foods keep coming up in the articles. Kale, cranberries, edamame, quinoa, and other deep, dark foods are high on the list for vitamins, protein, and fiber. Some even go as far as to call them "superfoods." And kale must be really high on the list (or really trendy), because almost every food magazine I've looked at in the last six months has had at least one recipe with kale as an ingredient. I'll be honest. I've never tried kale before. It's not that expensive and it looks really great in the produce aisle. The epitome of a dark, leafy green. But really, kale is gross. I sauteed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, which would make any vegetable I've ever eaten taste delicious. Kale? Not so much. It basically tastes like dirt. This is coming from a girl who loves brussels sprouts, people. But it's supposed to be so good for you! Now I know how people who hate broccoli feel when their mom makes them eat it. One day I was in the kitchen and I thought I'd experiment a little bit with some quinoa because it is such a great grain to eat. I thought I'd make some up and eat it for lunch throughout the week. A brainstorm that included kale ensued, and here is the saga as follows:

1. I put 1 1/2 cups quinoa and 1 can of chicken stock + enough water to get it to the "2" line into my rice cooker. On top of that I added a handful of chopped kale and diced onion.

2. After it was done cooking in the rice cooker, I added some frozen edamame and let it steam in the rice cooker with the lid on for a few minutes, just enough to get it thawed and warm.

3. When I tasted it, it was pretty good, but I thought that the unexpected addition of some dried cranberries would round out the dish.

Here's what I did right with the salad: a) I used really delicious versions of highly nutritious foods. b) I steamed the heck out of the kale, which made it actually palatable (the chicken flavor was probably the reason). c)I love edamame in any dish, and the tangy cranberries were a great surprise.

Here's what I think this recipe needs to be stellar: a) This dish tastes really salty to me. I think less chicken stock would solve that problem. I'm just not sure how much yet. b) I'm sure the steaming of the kale for so long removed any possible trace of nutrition from it, so what's the point of adding kale? c)Although I was really proud of myself for adding these ingredients together because they are so good for me, the flavor is incomplete in my opinion. It needs some sort of herb/spice mixture added to the mix, or red peppers or Mrs. Dash or something. It's a work in progress.

All in all, it wasn't a total loss. I did eat it, reheated, for three days for lunch, so that's saying something! What about you? Have you cooked with quinoa or kale and come up with a winning recipe, if so, leave a comment telling us about it. I'm sure all of us would like to try it!

Happy eating!


  1. I just spotted Kale at the grocery store over the weekend and snatched a bag because it was the last bag. I am going to try making Kale Chips. We'll see how it goes!

  2. I've ground up kale in my protein shake or berry smoothie in my vitamix and it made it taste really "green". I put in two or three things of it though, so maybe just one stalk/leaf would do?? Spinach seems to work better cuz it doesn't have such a strong flavor. I've eaten quinoa with honey or agave and milk for breakfast which is pretty good! A few months back I tried a sort of southwestern mix at Harmon's in their deli/salad area. They mixed quinoa, corn, black beans, red peppers, onion, craisins, with a little bit of agave nectar (there may have been something else in there too) and it was really good!


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