It’s that time of year again – the turkey, the dressing, oooh lawd the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top! (fanning self) I’ve gotten together with some fellow foodies to help you out a bit this year by hosting a #healthyholidays blog carnival. Starting today through December 20 I’ll be sending out recipes with a twist. These recipes are healthier and are designed to appeal to the soul food lover in you. Doesn’t that sound just fabulous?? So here is the first one, submitted by Chrystal and Amir of The Duo Dishes.
A Different Type of Greens for the Holidays
Winter’s vegetables are in full force with kale winding its way to the top of the list. It is one of those vegetables that goes a long way, but it was never one that frequented either one of our family tables. Kale popped up once we found the farmers markets and restaurants of L.A. Kale chips and kale salads were the winners that swayed folks in the direction of this green. Kale salads are fairly easy to find on restaurant menus, but they are also very simple to make at home. The dark, rich greens stand up well to a tangy, sweet vinaigrette and a variety of stir-ins to add a variety of textures to each crunchy bite.
Typically, holiday meals include collards, mustard greens and perhaps turnip greens. Although most of our families have moved away from stewing them in butter and ham hocks, those bunches of greens have usually been stewed to oblivion, lacking many of the nutrients the fresh greens held before going into the pot. The best way to keep the beneficial minerals and nutrients in your greens is to eat them raw or lightly steamed, blanched or sauteed. Once they’ve been cooked for a couple of hours, all you have is green mush. Don’t compromise the flavor, texture or healthy elements of your greens this year! Try something new that will satisfy your cravings for the green goods.
If you want to switch things up this year, poke around your grocery store for fresh kale. Kale just might be addictive. You can judge for yourself once you take a bite. Who can feel guilty after swallowing a big bowl of greens? It’s nearly impossible thanks to the punch of vitamin A, vitamin C, lutein and beta-carotene. Kale can be eaten raw or lightly cooked. Look for the deep green, large curly bunches, and be sure to wash the leaves very well before cutting out the fibrous stems down the middle. Once you have the hearty leaves, where you go from there is up to you. Sautee it with garlic as a side dish, drop the leaves into any soup, add it to your mashed potatoes or drop some in your juicer for a big kick. We suggest a salad for starters. Here’s one that will set you on a delicious path, not only for the holidays, but hopefully a long time afterwards.
Massaged Kale Salad with Caramelized Onions, Cranberries and Pine Nuts – Serves 4 to 6
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds kale (approx. 3-4 bunches of kale), stems removed and leaves very thinly sliced 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon water
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
Parmesan cheese, shaved
1. Whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and red pepper flakes together in a large bowl. Add the kale, and toss to coat. Using your fingers, rub the kale gently for 3-5 minutes or until the greens begin to wilt and soften. Set aside.
2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar, tossing all of the ingredients in the pan. Season with the salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the water and continue cooking for 15 minutes, then remove from heat.
3. Top the wilted kale with the warm onions, pine nuts, cranberries and Parmesan cheese before serving.
About The Duo Dishes
We are Chrystal and Amir, otherwise known as the Duo–two passionate eaters, experimental cooks and college friends based in Los Angeles, California. We mix family traditions, regional fare and new ethnic flavors to create dishes that emphasize our love for a quick fix meal or an elaborate feast. We have been featured on NPR.org, The LAist.com, CulturePOP.com, and KTLA.com, in addition to working with national and international brands–Bertolli and Alexia Foods–for recipe development projects. Follow us on Twitter