It’s cranberry season! I cannot begin to express my love for cranberries. They are super tart, mildly sweet little fruits that bring bite to savory dishes, chocolate treats and magic to Thanksgiving dinner. These little beauties are chock full of antioxidants, beating out most other fruits and veg in this area. They are one of my favorite superfoods; containing a large amount of vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin K1, Manganese, Vitamin E and Copper. They help boost immune system, ward off UTI’s and are also known for decreasing both blood pressure and bloating because of their anti-inflammatory properties. The latter is very helpful for yours truly at the moment as I’ve been doing WAY too much recipe experimenting with keto and paleo treats and not filling up on much needed nutrients. You can read more about the benefits of cranberries here.
If you saw my last post for massaged kale salad you’ll have the base for this one. To it I have added spinach, cultured red onion, avocado, pumpkin seed, hempseed, and roasted cranberries drizzled with my favorite garlic tahini dressing (again). This salad is a veritable super-salad of Omega fatty acids, manganese, probiotics, minerals and vitamins. It takes only a few minutes to throw together (if you already have the cultured onions). I removed the kale leaves from their stems last night and massaged them with olive oil and a spritz of lemon and left them to further macerate overnight. Because frankly, I am an impatient person and don’t love standing there with my hands in greens for minutes on end when I’m hungry.
I would encourage you to read up on the ingredients as each of them is a superfood in their own right but for now I’ll run you through why I benefit from them, which in all honesty only covers a fraction of their benefits. As I covered the benefits to kale and pine nuts in my last post I’ll simply cover the other ingredients in this one.
Hemp hearts! Most people know that they are high in protein but did you know they also help speed your metabolism, regulate your hormone balance and decrease inflammation? Yes. I know. Food is amazing.
Avocados as we know are high in proteins and healthy fatty acids but they are also rich in antioxidant phytochemicals, which aid in with eye health, and phytonutrients that help with inflammation and more importantly, help reduce the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders throughout the body. Think of it as a yummy grease in your kogs.
Pumpkin seeds are chockers with nutrients, antioxidants and magnesium, which helps you sleep! They help lower your blood sugar and are super heart healthy and as an added perk they help keep a healthy prostate. They are also loaded with phosphorus and zinc and thereby help with sperm quality and E.D. Yes, I said it. If you like babies… pumpkin seeds are sexy as.
Spinach is full of iron and high in vitamin K, manganese, magnesium and acts as yet another anti-inflammatory.
It’s no wonder I feel so vibrant when I’m eating gorgeous loaded salads all sunny summer long. I need to remember that these super foods are all the more necessary when the sun is scarce and it’s cold outside. I certainly feel the difference when I do. And if you can make a big batch of kale salad as a base it’s fairly easy to throw whatever toppings you like in and go… busy mom style.
- 1 bunch curly or dinosaur kale
- baby spinach (optional)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2-1 avocado
- pumpkin seeds
- hempseeds (hemp hearts)
- pine nuts
- fermented red onion
- tahini dressing
If you can prepare your kale ahead of time and take the slow route in roasting the cranberries, I would recommend it (350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes) I was hungry and impatient, so I put them in the oven on a pan sprayed with coconut oil and set them to broil on high for five minutes until the skins burst.
Wash and dry the kale, dabbing it with a tea towel. Strip the leaves off the stems and break them into small pieces and lay them in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and a squirt of lemon and “massage” the leaves for at least two minutes until the leaves soften and relax. Some kale is more stubborn than others and it could take up to ten minutes. After two I tend to get bored and pull out my french rolling pin or a wooden spoon to smash it to bits. When it is soft, drizzle with the tahini dressing and set aside.
Slice your avocado in half and if you plan to eat the whole thing, remove the pit. If you don’t, rinse the pit half in water and wrap it in clingfilm to prevent oxidization (browning). Carefully slice the other half in the skin and then scoop the whole thing out with a spoon.
In a bowl, combine the dressed kale and spinach and top with pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, pine nuts and fermented onion. Pull your hot cranberries out of the oven and scoop them into the salad. Drizzle with more tahini dressing and you are good to go. This is incredibly comforting for a salad in winter, and is hearty due to the greens, seeds and tahini. The hot cranberries add a warmth that is akin to cuddling a cup of hot soup.