Recipe / Braised Kale + Roasted Chickpeas

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Rich, creamy braised greens and tahini meet their perfect partner with crunchy, smoky roasted chickpeas. I’ve been totally crushing on chickpeas this month. Some evenings i’ll casually leave a cup of dried garbanzos soaking. Some mornings I just wake up, open a can and see what happens next. It’s just me and you,  fiber-rich, protein-packed little legumes. What will this day bring us? (hint: better blood sugar regulation and lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol)

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It’s definitely been a good year for kale and at the brink of over-exposure, it still rules as one of the most versatile and reliable greens. It’s hearty enough to be the star of the entrée and healthy enough to play a supporting role. Keep greens interesting by switching up your cooking technique and finding inspiration from classic flavor pairings. Tahini and chickpeas (humus anyone?) are old friends, a great place to start a beautiful dish.

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Think about braising as a day at the spa for your favorite superfood. At the end of the day, your kale will still be vibrant green, relaxed, and ready to give you all it has to offer. Relying on heat and moisture, braising is the middle ground between sautéeing and steaming. Be careful not to overcook your greens, too much heat for too long and you’ll lose nutrients and end up a with lifeless mushy mess.

Ingredients / you might already have these on hand

2 bunches of kale – 1 lacinato and 1 tuscan

1 yellow onion

5 cloves of garlic

juice of 1 lemon (no more than 3 tbsp)

1/4 cup tahini

1 can or 2 cups cooked organic chickpeas

1 tbsp smoked paprika, pimenton la vera

1 tsp cumin

3 tbsp olive oil or high quality grapeseed oil

 

Directions : Easy as 1-2-3-4

Part One : Roasting the Chickpeas

1. Preheat oven to 400 F

2. Drain and rinse one 16 oz can of organic chickpeas. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp pimenton de la vera (a smoky spanish paprika), 1 tsp cumin. Thoroughly coat the chickpeas adding more pimenton if necessary.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and roast chickpeas for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  They should be crunchy but not blackened.

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Part Two: Braising the Kale

1.  Wash and de-stem kale. Hold the base of the kale stem and run your fingers along the spine to easily remove leaves. Lay leaves flat and chop. I used a bunch of lacinato kale and a bunch of curly kale to create a more dynamic flavor and consistency.

2. Dice onions and thinly slice garlic.

3. In a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven, warm olive oil or high quality grapeseed oil. Add in onions and garlic. Sweat out until translucent, about one minute.

4. Add in kale. Sautée for a minute or two allowing all of the leaves to get contact with the heat momentarily. You might have to do this in increments if your pot is not very large. Season with salt, pepper or red chili flakes.

5. Add in vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer immediately.  Cover and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

6. Remove lid and let any remaining liquid steam off. About 3 minutes.

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Part 3 : Making the Dressing

1. Combine lemon juice and tahini. There should be slightly more tahini than lemon juice or else it taste too acidic. Experiment, taste, and trust your palate to create the perfect balance. 

2. Whisk together until creamy. You might need to add a little water or sesame oil to get it to your ideal consistency. Finish with a few turns of  a salt mill.

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Part 4 : Creating the Dish 

1. Toss braised kale with spoonfuls of dressing. Combine well and add in more until desired creaminess is reached.

3. Serve in individual bowls topped with crunchy chickpeas. Don’t toss the chickpeas with the kale too much, you want to keep their crunchiness. Creamy and crunchy together at last.

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From Scratch / Kale Pesto Vol. 1

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Why hello there sexy, vibrant greens! Smooth and creamy, rich and light, this pesto gets around. It’s delicious versatility is matched only by it’s abundance of nutrients. The trick is to add in (some might say, sneak in) greens like creamy steamed broccoli and earthy, bold kale. Approach is key, by steaming the broccoli and kale you can create a rich and fluffy texture that eliminates the need for excess amounts of high- fat and calorie-dense oil and cheese.

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Rich in calcium as well as fiber and protein (that’s right there is protein in vegetables!)  kale and broccoli add something special to the classic pesto. Health-hero Walnuts add protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc to the mix.  Let’s not forget the foundation of flavor, Basil. High in vitamin K ( your bones best friend), Basil is much more than a garnish.

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LEAN GREEN KALE PESTO

Ingredients / what you’ll need

1 cup Raw Walnuts

1 cup Basil packed, destemmed

1 cup Broccoli florets

1 cup Kale, destemmed

2 medium Garlic Cloves

1/2 Lemon, juiced

2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

Black Pepper, to taste

1/4 cup cold pressed Olive Oil

Directions / fresh and easy

1. Chop broccoli and kale. Bring water to boil and steam until veggies become vibrant green, about 3 minutes with lid on.

2. Chop walnuts and garlic. Pulse in a food processor with olive oil.

3. Add steamed kale and broccoli, chopped basil leaves, and lemon juice to food processor. Pulse until smooth.

4. Add water incrementally until desired consistency is reached.

5. Add salt, pepper and honey to taste.

This recipe is simple enough to whip up for quick Quinoa Pasta & Veggie dinner and tasty enough to impress your guests with a pesto Socca Flatbread. It’s delicious as a spread, a dip or a dressing.  Enjoy!

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