Kale & Blueberry Salad + On Being Healthy

Jan 18, 2016 | Recipe, Side + Snack

Super delicious and easy to throw together, this kale & blueberry salad is the perfect way to add get more fruits and veggies!

Hi! Sorry I’ve been a little MIA recently… it’s been harder than I expected to get back in the swing of things after the holidays! I totally meant to post this last weekend, but then we started talking about finally resuming decorating our apartment (after like a year of doing nothing), so I spent the weekend looking at lamps and side tables instead of taking pictures of salad. Sorry.

But I’m here now with a delicious, nutritions salad! I’m kind of ashamed/baffled at myself for not having a salad recipe on here by now. For all you know, I just eat pizza & cookies all the time. Not that that’s too far from the truth… but I at least need to have a salad with my pizza!

 

My relationship with salad is definitely “it’s complicated.” I went from hating vegetables as a kid to eating almost exclusively salads in college while I was vegetarian. Which is good, you know, vegetables are good for you, right? I thought I was being healthy – which I was, in the general sense of the word – but I wasn’t eating the best things for my body and felt miserable because of it. When I got diagnosed with IBS my doctor gave me lots of good advise, but as a second semester senior in college, I had other things on my mind. At one point she mentioned that raw vegetables were harder on my system, and for some reason that stuck in my mind. I basically cut out salads entirely, only eating vegetables when they were cooked (which was a lot less frequently).

Again, I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was unnecessarily depriving myself of vitamins from the vegetables I wasn’t eating (while still eating things like wheat and garlic, I might add). I clearly still didn’t understand what was healthy for me. There’s one story I tell as a perfect example from this time in my life. My friends and I went out to dinner. We went to this pizza place, and I got a glass of beer. My friend asked if I wanted to share a salad with her and I remember thinking, well I don’t really eat salads anymore, but just a little can’t hurt. Needless to say, I felt miserable afterwards. But hilariously, I thought the problem was the salad, not realizing it was actually the pizza and beer!

 

I’ve learned a lot since then, thought lots of trial and error (heavy on the error). I’ve realized that my body needs balance – somewhere in between all the vegetables and none of them. (I also learned not to eat wheat too, that was important!) If I ate a salad as a meal every day for a week, I’d still feel miserable, even if they only had low FODMAP ingredients. My body needs those filler carbs from bread and rice and the like to be happy. But obviously if I only ate bread & rice I’d be malnourished and probably overweight. “Healthy” isn’t a one size fits all thing, which can be frustrating because it takes time and mistakes to figure out what’s best for you personally. I’m still figuring it out too, but it’s important to look back on past experiences and see how far I’ve come! Plus, I can eat salads again, which is a very happy thing indeed!

 

So… Here’s to eating salad with you pizza! And this salad is a perfect and easy way to start. I know some people are suspicious of salads and they have a bad reputation for being boring. But that’s one thing this salad is not! It’s super nutritious (kale, blueberries, pumpkin seeds), but also super easy to throw together. So often in our house it’s like 8pm and I’m starving and still making dinner… and then I realize I never put the green beans in the oven or just plain forgot about making a vegetable. Enter the side salad: dinner saver.

 

I discovered this dressing awhile back and it’s quickly become my standard. It’s basically an oil + vinegar dressing, with a secret ingredient: mustard. I’ll admit, I’m normally a mustard-hater. Please don’t put it on my sandwich, ugh. I just don’t like it. BUT. Just a little in the dressing somehow transforms it to next-level deliciousness. I don’t understand it, so it must be magical. So don’t ask, just do it. Another thing you must do: massage the kale. I know it sounds stupid, and maybe you’re a little intimidated of kale? But massaging the stuff is the difference between it tasting like normal lettuce and it tasting like you just pulled up some grass and stuck it in your mouth. So: massage your kale. Plus, it sounds fancy.

 

Kale and Blueberry Salad | Go Messy or Go Hungry
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Kale & Blueberry Salad

Course Side
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 handfuls kale stems removed and torn into small pieces
  • Pepitas
  • ~20 Blueberries
  • Parmesan cheese or similar

Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar red wine would also work
  • Dash lemon juice
  • Dash maple syrup
  • Small squirt mustard check for no garlic or onion
  • Salt + pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small jar that has a lid. Shake vigorously until all ingredients are mixed.
  2. Divide kale into two bowls and pour dressing over. Start on the light side with the dressing; you can always add more later. Using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale until it is soft and evenly covered with the dressing.
  3. Top salad with blueberries, pepitas, and cheese, or any other ingredients you have on hand.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Obviously I didn't really measure anything, use your best judgement and adjust things as you see fit!
You must massage the kale or it will taste like grass.
Feel free to add anything else you have on hand – carrots, other types of nuts or cheese, etc. Just make sure they're low FODMAP!

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