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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Best of 2011: Kaleslaw with Red Pepper

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I kicked off January's Best of 2011 Challenge (click the link for details on how I'm challenging myself in 2011!) with two recipes from The Best 12 Foods Cookbook. As I mentioned in my introduction to the challenge, each month that I'm cooking out of the cookbook (as opposed to trying and reviewing a "Best of St. Louis" restaurant) I will select two recipes, so that by the end of the year I've made a recipe including each of the twelve foods. As a reminder, those twelve foods are: broccoli, black beans, tomatoes, salmon, soy, sweet potatoes, oats, blueberries, onions, walnuts, spinach, and strawberries. Today, I'm bringing you a recipe that involves ONION. Below, I've listed a few health benefits of onions that were mentioned in the cookbook:

  • Good for the heart (thin the blead and help raise "good" HDL levels)
  • Contain quercitin and other antioxidant flavonoids not found in garlic (protect the lungs against cancer and asthma)
  • Source of potassium, calcium, and fiber
Although this kaleslaw contains onions, the main star of the dish is definitely the kale. I was immediately drawn to this recipe because I absolutely love kale (and think kale is probably missing from the list of 12 Best Foods--it has stellar nutritionals!). I've used kale in soups, enchiladas, and as chips, but I've never eaten it raw.

Raw kale is typically pretty bitter and tough. However, when mixed with olive oil or a dressing base and given time to soften, it takes on a more edible taste and texture, as was the case with this dish. I loved how vibrant this dish looked with the contrasting colors! It is definitely not your typical salad; kale haters might have a hard time swallowing this one. The kale has more of a "crunch" than what you might expect in a normal salad. Still, I really liked the curry flavor of the dressing and you can't deny how chock full of nutrients this is! While I still prefer kale cooked, this is a good variation on how to eat it. It's also nice because it can be made ahead of time and keeps for a few days in the fridge (softening more and increasing in flavor over time!).

I'd call recipe #1 from The 12 Best Foods a success. I really like the cookbook so far--beautiful pictures and creative recipes, none of which seem too complicated or difficult. I'm excited to try recipes for the remaining 10 foods (come back tomorrow for recipe #2...the ingredient of choice is OATS and it's not a breakfast food!).

One Year Ago: Three Bean Salad

Kaleslaw with Red Pepper
adapted from The 12 Best Foods Cookbook

-1/2 bunch kale, stemmed
-1/2 small head green cabbage, finely shredded (approximately 4 cups)
-2 medium bell peppers (original called for red, I used red and yellow), cut into 1/4" strips
-1 medium red onion, halved and cut vertically in 1/4" crescents
-1/2 cup buttermilk
-2 tbsp plain yogurt (original called for low-fat mayo)
-1/2 tsp curry powder
-juice of 1/2 small lemon
-1/2 tsp salt
-freshly ground pepper

1. Stack kale leaves 3 or 4 high. Cut the stacked leaves horzontally into 1/4" strips, making about 3 cups. (I sort of stacked them and just roughly chopped them into small pieces). Place kale in large bowl. Mix in cabbage and red pepper.
2. Run the sliced onion under cold running water for 30 seconds. Drain and pat try with paper towels before adding to the bowl.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, curry powder, lemon juice, and salt. Season to taste with pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
*will keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 days!