Kale and Quinoa Salad with low fat Caesar dressing

I've been craving Pi pizza's Kale-ifornication salad lately.  Perhaps that is my body's way of telling me I need to cut back on the baked goods.  So instead of heading out to the restaurant where I'll be tempted by their deep dish pizza, I decided to make a version of it at home.  

If you have never made kale salad before, a little trick to combat kale's bitterness is massaging the leaves.  Massaging with salt, lemon, or olive oil breaks down the outer coating on the leaf making it more tender and less bitter.  I recently learned that smaller and darker the kale leaves will have a milder taste.  I massaged my kale quinoa salad with a homemade low fat Caesar dressing, in which the base ingredient is nonfat Greek yogurt.  With the punch of freshly minced garlic and pinch of Cayenne pepper, you will not miss the extra fat.  Pi's salad uses a buttermilk dressing, so if you prefer, use that type of dressing instead.    

Kale is considered a superfood {a nutrient-rich food}.  Per Wikipedia, eating kale reduces the growth of cancer cells, lowers cholesterol, and absorbs dietary fat.  Sounds pretty amazing!  Let's get our healthy habit on before the New Year!  Here's to good food and gladness.

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  Serves 2-4.

Ingredients for Kale Quinoa Salad

  • 4 cups (about 1/2 bunch) Tuscan kale- wash, pat dry, then small chop
  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup toasted chickpeas - Saute a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas in 1 Tbsp of olive oil; remove from heat and sprinkle with Za'atar seasoning.  
  • 1/8 cup almonds
  • 12 grape tomatoes, halved 

Ingredients for low fat Caesar dressing

  • 5 oz cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp mustard (dijon preferred, but yellow is okay)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (reduced sodium)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste 
  • 1-2 pinches of Cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven = 375 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with non-stick spray.  Arrange halved tomatoes on half of the sheet and sauted chickpeas on the other half.  Lightly salt tomatoes and chickpeas.  Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes.  Bake 20-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.
  2. Make dressing:  combine all the Caesar dressing ingredients except the cheese into a medium bowl,  whisk together until smooth.  Stir in parmesan cheese.  Set aside.
  3. In a tupperware bowl add  the kale and 2-3 teaspoons of dressing.  Massage the dressing into the leaves for 2-3 minutes.  Place in the refrigerator while the chickpeas and tomatoes are in the oven. 
  4. Assemble the salad: Add the cooled chickpeas and quinoa to the kale in the tupperware bowl.  Shake together to coat.  Transfer to a large serving dish.  Add the roasted tomatoes and almonds.  Finish with a light grating of parmesan cheese prior to serving.