You know when you come back from vacation and your kitchen feels a bit like foreign territory because you haven’t cooked a meal in it for so long? That’s sort of how I felt when I woke up on Monday morning. Normally my cutting board and favourite knife barely have time to try before their next use, but on this occasion both were tucked away in their respective homes – not a common sight in this house.
Even though my 4-day weekend was very much a staycation, and my friends and I stayed in my teensie weensie little 475 square foot condo (thank goodness for air conditioning), somehow we managed to avoid eating a single meal at home. It’s not a difficult thing to do in Vancouver – there are heaps of restaurants and I’m sure you could enjoy meals at a different one every day for months. But despite the variety, and despite being a food blogger whom you’d think would be checking out new places constantly, the vast majority of my meals (around 85-90% depending on the month) are made in my own kitchen.
Even with Vancouver’s plethora of choices to get one’s eat on, my Seawheeze house guests and I always seem to be magnetically drawn back to Heirloom several times in the same weekend. This visit was no different.
I waxed poetic on Monday and in previous posts about how great Heirloom is, so rather than going on about a place that many of you are hundreds of miles away from, I thought I’d try to re-create my favourite dish on the menu – with a little twist. This way, you can enjoy it at home in your kitchen as well. If we all had it on the same night, it would be like a virtual kale slaw party. Does that sound fun? I think it sounds like fun.
Now you may be thinking, “I wish I liked kale, but it’s bitter, it’s tough, it’s blah blah blah….” and I tooooooootally hear you. That’s what I used to think as well, before discovering the art of massaging kale. But guess what?! This Goji Kale Slaw doesn’t even need massaging because it uses baby kale. Hold onto your chef’s hats, friends, because baby kale is going to be your new best friend.
In addition to not having tough stems to cut out like regular curly kale, baby kale leaves are nice and easy to chew, and you still get all the awesome health benefits (think fibre, vitamin K, iron and antioxidants) that the more mature leaves offer. Winning, no?
Heirloom’s Kale Slaw is made with kale, cabbage, carrot, red onion, dried cranberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, avocado, hemp hearts and tahini apple cider dressing. But because I was short on a few ingredients due to my kitchen having been neglected for 4 days, I made a similar version using what I had on hand.
These days my pantry is stocked with a bunch of organic superfoods from Prana, including raw organic pumpkin seeds, organic almonds and goji berries. It’s ingredients like these that have become pantry essentials over the past couple of months because they’re super nutrient dense, and perfect for adding excitement and flavour to so many recipes.
As I’m sure you’ll know if you’ve eaten kale before, it’s one of the more bitter greens – another reason why a lot of people aren’t keen on kale salads. Heirloom balances the bitterness in their Kale Slaw with dried cranberries, but I swapped in goji berries (soaked for 10 minutes to plump them up) to create the same amount of sweetness. These little berries help to boost the immune system, contain 18 amino acids, and are a great source of antioxidants, making them a really good choice if you’re training for any athletic endeavour… or if you just want to give your health a boost!
I’ve created this recipe to serve 2 as a light yet satisfying lunch, but if you want to make it into a more complete meal, here’s a few suggestions:
- Don’t share – make the whole thing for yourself! ?
- Add more vegan/vegetarian protein: Add 1 cup of cooked chickpeas, shelled edamame, grilled tempeh or marinated tofu cubes. Or, add 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (also high in protein), and a few tablespoons of nuts and seeds (hemp seeds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds would all work well.)
- Add animal-based protein: Serve the salad topped with grilled or baked salmon (or other choice of fish), or shredded chicken.
Goji Kale Slaw
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
- 5 cups packed shredded baby kale
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup organic goji berries soaked in 1/4 cup warm water for 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp mild miso paste
- 2 tbsp water (plus more to thin if needed)
- juice of 1 lime
Place the goji berries in a small bowl with 1/4 cup warm water and set aside while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Make the dressing by whirling the ingredients in a Vitamix or other blender/food processor. The consistency should be thin and smooth, so add a bit more water if needed. Transfer to a jar.
Shred the kale, cabbage and carrot, and chop the almonds. Add them all to a large bowl along with the remaining ingredients, including the soaked goji berries and their liquid.
Pour some of the dressing on top and toss to coat.
Divide between two plates and serve.
So tell me…
- Kale: Fan or not a fan? Have you ever tried baby kale?
- Are there any dishes you’ve recently enjoyed in restaurants that you wish you could re-create?