Oh kale how I love thee! I can honestly say that lacinato kale is my favorite green if not favorite vegetable. It’s full of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. This cruciferous veggie relates to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, and the like. These veggies are known for their sulfur-containing phytonutrients which have been studied to reduce certain cancers. Although it is good to be aware that if you have a hypothyroid condition it is best to steam your kale because of the thyroid inhibitors present in raw cruciferous vegetables. Even though kale is a harder green best during fall and winter months- it is still great for the beginning of spring and even summer. I like to use kale as my base green for salads. Due to its sturdy nature it can last up to three days dressed. It can be softened by simply “massaging” the chopped leaves with a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette or other dressing. I also like to add lighter greens to the mix like baby arugula- although when storing I like to keep these undressed.
As for beets I love beets in salads as they add tons of blood-building nutrients. And a funny thing to note is that beets were used as an aphrodisiac medicine during ancient Roman times- the rich amounts of boron in beets is linked to the production of sex hormones in the human body. What!!?? Who knew! As for roasting beets simply wrap them in recycled tin foil with skins on at 350 degrees for up to an hour for larger beets. Smaller beets need less time. When they are done just rinse them over cold water and skins come off. I then cube them and either marinade with apple cider vinegar and olive oil or just add to the dressed salad.
Fennel is great for digestive ease and actually suppress your appetite when eaten raw. In this salad you can use fennel raw or lightly sautéed. A quick toss in a pan with a little olive oil on low-medium will do. You can go ahead and add the sliced asparagus to the mix. What I really love about spring and summer is the abundant fresh herbs like in this mint dill vinaigrette. I add parsley, thyme, and garlic as well- to please the aromatic seeker. Again reminding us of renewal and lightness. Spring is a time for more cleansing food- so focusing on getting fresh organic greens of all kinds is best..especially for cleansing the liver which can be bogged down from heavier foods of the winter. Beets are also an amazing liver cleanser. Cooking times should be less in spring- to insure that fare is not overcooked as overcooking food destroys the nutrients. So keep it fresh!!
Remember to use organic produce-4 cups of chopped lacinato kale (dinosaur) 4 stalks of asparagus- sliced on a diagonal half bulb of fennel chopped 1 whole beet 2 handfuls raw soaked almonds (optional) 1 cup alfalfa sprouts (optional) 1 cup baby arugula (optional)
-Roast the whole beet with skin on by wrapping in foil and roasting on 350 for 1 hour.
-In a large mixing bowl add the chopped kale- massage the kale with the dressing.
-Sauté the fennel in a little olive oil in a small pan for 2 min., then add the sliced asparagus for 1 more min., adding salt and pepper. When the beet is done roasting rinse it with cold water taking off the skin. Toss everything together with the rest of the dressing.
Herbal Vinaigrette1/2 cup of olive oil juice of 1 lemon 1 teaspoon parsley 1 teaspoon thyme 1 teaspoon dill 1 clove garlic salt and pepper to taste -Blend in a blender