Today’s post is my way of spreading a little Christmas cheer, and sharing one of my own tricks to surviving the cookie, wine-laden holidays. Christmas is in three days, my parents are visiting from Canada, I have two children who are dying to make gingerbread men with me, and I would really like to do some proper relaxing before this year is over, if possible. But I have to share this recipe I came up with, in an effort to combat the heavy, lethargic feeling you get from inordinate amounts of cookies and wine (or whatever your Christmas poison may be).
So if you are feeling a little worse for wear from having one too many gingerbread men yourself, or one too many glasses of champagne, I encourage you to make this salad. And more broadly, if you are wondering how to survive all the parties and yuletide festivities without gaining a million pounds or just making yourself feel like crap, I would suggest that you choose to see every meal that you eat alone or just with your family, as an opportunity to flood your body with primarily vegetable goodness. Eating fresh veggies of all colours and varieties is the best way to ward off sickness and keep yourself regular. If you don’t have any gut issues, and can handle raw vegetables, I would definitely recommend making this salad for your lunch a few times during the week (this recipe actually makes a very large batch, and it tastes even better the next day, so make this once and you’re all set for a few days).
I know I mentioned that my own body could probably do with less raw vegetables, especially during the colder months, but I just can’t help myself. I LOVE raw stuff. And climate change has seriously done a number on Brussels- the temperature has averaged about 13/14 degrees all week. So eating a little raw vegetable goodness can’t hurt can it? Especially if it’s all seasonal. This recipe features kale, kohlrabi, red and yellow beets, ginger, carrot and apple and is really simple to make. The one thing is you need a decent food processor with a grating function, because the majority of the veggies need to be grated. If you don’t, but want a great arm workout, you can always do it manually too, but the glorious simplicity of making the salad will be lost. In any case, I love this salad for the marriage of flavours, the freshness, and especially the colours. It is chalk full of antioxidants and goodness that will wake you up and clean you out, which, if you’re anything like me, is probably just what you need right about now. Also, it uses kohlrabi (the light green, knobby thing pictured above), which is awesome, because how often does one use kohlrabi, and who even knows how to prepare it? While beets are higher in sugar and carbohydrates, low carbers would do well to discover this funky root vegetable, as it is incredibly low in carbs, and calories more broadly.
So, how does one actually massage kale? Remove the fibrous stems and tear the leaves into bite size pieces. In a big bowl, with a drizzle of olive oil, use a kneading action, much as you would do for kneading dough, to massage the kale. Massage the kale for 5-10 minutes, depending on how wilted you want it. You will notice it will quickly become deeper in colour and more tender. Taste it to see if it's to your liking. You essentially want it to get to the point where chewing isn't an enormous workout for your jaw.
- 2-3 large handfuls of kale
- 1 small red beet
- 1 small/ half a large yellow beet
- 1 head kohlrabi
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 small, sweet and crispy apple
- 2 inch knob of ginger
- 1 small red chili pepper
- juice of 2 limes
- 4 tablespoons cashew butter (I actually used a homemade cashew-almond butter, but use what you have- almond butter or tahini would work well too)
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- splash tamari (about 1 tsp)
- room temperature water
- To begin, cut the red pepper down the middle, remove the seeds, and mince as finely as possible and throw into a wide jar/cup. Add the lime juice and maple syrup and let infuse while you make the rest of the salad.
- While you red pepper is infusing, tear the kale into small pieces, removing all the thick, fibrous stems. Wash and dry, and throw into a big salad bowl, and drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Take at least 5 minutes to massage the oil into the kale. Set aside.
- Run the root vegetables, the apple and ginger through the food processor with a grating blade. Pour them on top of the kale in the salad bowl.
- Now return to your infusing red pepper/lime juice/maple syrup mix and add the nut butter and the tamari. Mix thoroughly with a small whisk/fork. Add some water, a small splash at a time, until you get the consistency you want- I like mine to be thick, but “drizzle-able”, not too thinned out. Taste it to see if it’s too your liking- you may want to add a wee bit more tamari or maple syrup- however, try to be judicious with these ingredients as the goal isn’t to overwhelm your taste buds.
- Drizzle the whole jar over the salad and gently mix it all together. Serve into bowls and top with your favourite toppings to beef it up. Myself, I like to add everything, because I’m quite the gourmande.
black sesame seeds
a soft boiled egg (as you can see I added everything for myself because I was huunngry).