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Kale, brown rice and bean salad

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I like 15-minute meals. Some days, 15 minutes is all I have to prepare a meal. Other days, 15 minutes is all I’m willing to spend in the kitchen.

Last weekend was one of those times where, either I’d make something very quickly or we’d go out for lunch. I chose the former. This salad took me 15 minutes to make using kale, brown rice, and beans as the main ingredients. Since I had leftover cooked brown rice I didn’t need to cook the rice.  If you need to cook your rice, add about 30 minutes to your cooking time. You can buy instant pre-cooked brown rice from the supermarket or do what I do, make a large batch of rice in advance and then freeze them. They keep for about 3 months in the freezer and it takes about 2-3 minutes to defrost in the microwave.

Why I love this salad

This kale, brown rice and bean salad not only easy to make, but it is also nutritious, delicious, and satisfying. It’s very ‘hands on’: you start by ‘massaging’ kale with a bit of oil to break down the fibrous structure of kale, making it softer and more palatable (i.e. so it won’t taste like grass). Then you just add the remaining ingredients, toss around for a bit and voila, the meal is served.

Kale is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits, cancer-preventative compounds, cholesterol lowering properties, vitamins and minerals. It’s low in calories (a cup of fresh kale has only about 40 calories) and rich in insoluble fibre which is good for digestion. Beans are an excellent source of antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, and soluble fibres. They help maintain your blood sugar levels, keep you full for longer, and are a great source of plant-based protein. Nutritional medicine not your thing? Just eat this, your body will thank you.

Easy kale, rice, and bean salad

Kale, Brown Rice and Bean Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 can of 4 beans mix, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, flesh removed and diced
  • 3 cups of kale leaves, stem removed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Juice from half lemon
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
Method
  1. Place shredded kale leave in a large bowl.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and gently massage the kale with your hand (just like kneading bread dough) for about 2 minutes or until the leaves are softened.
  3. Add rice, beans, tomato and avocado into the bowl.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Gently toss to mix.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me so I can see you creation.

Love and greens, 

Keren x 

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Roasted pumpkin and lentil salad with shiso leaves

I’ve only started using purple leaves or shiso leaves (also known as perilla leaves) a few months ago when I discovered this interesting looking plant amongst all the familiar herbs in the vegetables section. It has a very fragrant smell and it has this striking purple colour on one side of the leaf and a deep green colour on the other side. If you’re familiar with Japanese or Korean food, you may have come across this item without realising it (which I did). It is very popular in Korean cuisine in particular and is usually served pickled.

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It tastes somewhat like coriander (has a fragant note to it) but not as strong. At first, I didn’t know what to use it with so I experimented a fair bit. It seems to work on a lot of things. At the very least, it never ruined anything to which I added the shiso leaves. It adds an interesting flavour to Chinese stir-fries and it gives any salad I make a nice herbaceous twist.

It turns out that shiso leaves are rich in dietary fibre, essential minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium, and vitamins A, C and riboflavin, and the leaf components are undergoing research for potential anti-inflammatory properties. Needless to say, there are many reasons to try this delicious herb.

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One night recently I was rushed for time and had to make something quickly for dinner. So I made pumpkin and lentil salad with shiso leaves (among a few other things) and I was really surprised with how well it turned out. There’s not much preparation involved with this. Just roast the pumpkin (you can even leave the skin on if you can’t be bothered peeling it), cook the lentils, chop the shiso leaves, and combine everything in the bowl with olive oil and some seasonings. It is a great salad to have when you need something quick but more substantial than just salad greens.

Roasted pumpkin and lentil salad with shiso leaves
 
A delicious and comforting salad that equally light and satisfying. It's low in fat, high in fibers, vitamins and minerals and full of fresh flavours and aroma.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Glutenfree, sugarfree, vegan and paleo
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Half of butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into big chunks
  • 4 sprigs of shiro leaves (about 10 medium size leaves)
  • 1 cup of green lentils, rinse well
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ⅓ cup of roasted pinenuts (optional but highly recommended)
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked pepper
Method
  1. Place pumpkin onto a nonstick roasting pan. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and generously sprinkle with sea salt. Toss to mix. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 25 minutes or until cooked (if you can pierce it using a fork, it’s done).
  2. Meanwhile, transfer the lentil into a pan and cover with water, add ½ tsp of salt. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse in cold water
  3. When the pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes until cool enough to handle. Chop into cubes.
  4. Pick shiso leaves from the sprigs. To chop the leaves,stack them on top of each other, roll them into a cigar and then slice thinly.
  5. Transfer all ingredients into a bowl, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Devour!
Notes
To roast pine nuts:
You can roast them in the oven for 15 minutes at 170C but the quickest way is on the stove. Heat a dry non-stick pan (no oil, no nothing) over medium heat for a couple minutes and add the pinenuts. Allow the pinenuts to toast for 30 – 45 seconds and then toss them in the pan. Repeat this process every 30 seconds until you start seeing them just turning brown, then remove and let them cool.

Be careful not to burn them.  They can go from nicely browned to burnt very quickly, so keep an eye on them.

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