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Kale Salad with Currants and Walnuts

by Deliciously Organic on January 2, 2012

My 3rd grade daughter came home from school recently tearfully reporting the other kids have been making fun of her for eating vegetables. What? As kids grow, you expect classmates to mock their clothes or hair, but their lunch? We sat and had a little chat about making good food choices and why it’s important. We hugged and she walked away with a smile.

The next morning she woke up and asked me if she could pack kale salad for lunch. Wow. I got a bit choked up. Even though she knew she might be made fun of again, she made a healthy choice. I think there’s a lesson to be learned here. If a young school-girl can make the right choices, then I think we can too.

There are many ways we can make healthy changes this new year. If you’re new to the world of organic, unprocessed food, I suggest you start small. Make one change a week. Start by going through your pantry and fridge, reading every label, and identifying the foods with processed ingredients, preservatives, and additives. This will help you identify the foods you want to eventually replace. When you’re ready to start the process, begin by making one change every week. Discard one item and replace it with one new organic/unprocessed item in your pantry. After six months, youll be amazed at how much change has occurred, and in a year or so, your entire pantry and fridge will be completely transformed. This was the approach I took six years ago because at the time I had two little kids and trying to convert everything at once was too daunting. My cookbook, has guidance and encouragement to help you make the change (plus 85 delicious recipes!).

If you’ve made lots of changes to your diet, but you want to take things a step further, how about making chicken stock once a week and using it in your cooking. Homemade chicken stock/broth has many health benefits. You might try making your own kombucha. It’s a fizzy, sweet tea full of probiotics, live enzymes, polyphenols (they fight free radicals – free radicals damage the cells of our body), glucuronic acid (a powerful detoxifier) and many other nutrients. Kombucha was on my “I’ll never try that” list for a while, but last year I took a step of faith and started brewing my own. I’m completely hooked. You could also start reading more about what’s in our food through books like, Eat Fat, Lose FatThe Omnivore’s Dilemmaor Nourishing Traditionsjust to name a few. 

You could also go a bit deeper - giving up grains for a period of time then seeing how you feel. I gave them up 4 months ago and have never felt better. The book Wheat Belly and this post explains it all. My personal grain-free journey brought me to the end of 2011 twenty pounds lighter, with more energy, and much clearer skin.

Here’s what other readers told me about their lives without grain:

“It was so much easier than I thought it would be to stay grain-free today!” Claudia

“After just a few days, I’ve already noticed that I haven’t even wanted to snack. It’s too soon for the benefits of what I’m doing to show, but just knowing that I have a plan has somehow satiated my appetite!” Wendy

“But here’s the best part. I have had allergies and for many months I haven’t even been able to slice tomatoes and carrots without my hands itching and breaking out in bumps. I also can’t eat so many foods raw without coughing and triggering my asthma. Well, last night (after being grain free for over a week), I had a bit of carrots and tomatoes in my salad. And yes, I sliced them up. And no reaction. Nary an itch or cough. I told myself, “I’ve got to tell Carrie!” Ashley

“After eight weeks, I’ve lost 14 lbs and hubby has lost almost 20. Amazing!” Amy

Do you need help with day-to-day cooking? A meal plan subscription complete with shopping list and recipes could be the answer. Start by downloading a free weekly meal plan sample. Start your New Year with a plan!

Many have asked for help obtaining good, healthy ingredients at affordable prices. I compiled a list of my favorite sources, brands, and foods along with links. Just “like” the Deliciously Organic Facebook page and you’ll see my list of sources on the left. Click and download!

There are so many ways to make improvements in your health. Let this year be the year! 

Kale Salad with Currants and Walnuts

Serving Size: Serves 6

Kale Salad with Currants and Walnuts

Make sure the kale is finely shredded.

Adapted from Epicurious.

Ingredients

    For the currants:

  • 4 tablespoons dried currants

  • 4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar (or coconut vinegar for a grain-free option)

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • For the salad:

  • 1 large head kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise

  • 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano shavings (shave with a vegetable peeler) - omit for Paleo

Instructions

Place currants in small saucepan. Pour 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar over the currants and heat over medium-low until just simmering. Remove from heat. Drain currants, reserving liquid. Cool.

Whisk 2 tablespoons of the reserved white balsamic vinegar (from the currants), rice vinegar, honey, oil, and salt in large bowl. Add kale, currants, and walnuts; toss to coat. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with sea salt. Sprinkle cheese shavings over salad and serve.

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{ 30 comments }

the urban baker January 2, 2012 at 8:54 am

great post, Carrie. Thanks for articulating it so well. Love kale salad of any kind and the addition of rice wine vinegar is a winner for me!!

HeatherChristo January 2, 2012 at 8:58 am

Carrie- this looks beautiful. I am launching a massive health kick. Maybe I will go buy Wheat Belly- it sounds spot on.

Bev Weidner January 2, 2012 at 8:58 am

Thiiiiis is gorgeous, Carrie. I could inhale kale. Oh that rhymed!

LiztheChef January 2, 2012 at 9:08 am

So happy to find you and your site. I have kale in the fridge I was planning to sauté with our supper tonight. Instead, I will try your salad – no white balsamic but think sherry vinegar will work.

Lori @ RecipeGirl January 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

I love, love LOVE Kale salad. Can’t wait to try your version. I feel so sad that kids made fun of your daughter for eating veggies. My son was teased for having a homemade treat in his lunch every day (of all things!) so he came home and told me “no more treats.” Okay by me!

Maria January 2, 2012 at 9:55 am

I love kale! This salad looks perfect! Happy New Year!

aida mollenkamp January 2, 2012 at 10:15 am

Kale salads are a favorite of mine this time of year and this one looks fabulous!

Kim January 2, 2012 at 10:19 am

I’m so trying this recipe… it looks incredible.

My daughter came home from school one day and asked me not to put peppers in her lunch any more because one of her friends said she would not sit with her any more because — the friend thought pepper were yucky! So sad. The friend wasn’t even eating them… anyway… made me think of that.

Deliciously Organic January 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Wow. It’s crazy how mean kids can be. I hope she can hold her head up high knowing she’s making good choices for her body!

Brooke @ Food Woolf January 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

What an inspiring post for the new year. I like the idea of making one change a week in all of your life–diet, exercise, and even spirituality. Meditating has made a huge impact on my life, eating healthy, making my own chicken stock, not drinking…all of it is contributing to a much happier and healthier life for me and those around me!

Alisha January 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I love this post! When I look back at my family’s food journey, it has happened in small steps. But we have come SO far! Can’t wait to try this salad! I made a kale salad for Christmas w/ green apples and pecans that my family loved. I’m sure they’ll love this one too! Thanks for sharing!

marla {family fresh cooking} January 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Carrie, what a great way to start the year. You really capture the essence of healthy living through whole foods in this post. Thanks for always being a great source of inspiration & great recipes.

Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry January 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I never thought to use currants with a kale salad before-GREAT idea! Can’t wait to try out this recipe in the near future.

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen January 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I love that she asked for a kale salad! You are making such a difference in setting a good example and teaching them information that will serve them a lifetime. By the way I just got my hands on Wheat Belly, loving it already!

Amy (Savory Moments) January 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Great post and I love that your daughter wanted a kale salad. If only more kids she goes to school with were being exposed to these healthy foods. I have not tried raw kale yet, but will soon.

jenjenk January 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm

i don’t even think i’ve realized how much my diet has changed over the last year that I’ve known you…i’ve actually incorporated a lot more veggies into my diet!! I’ve changed little things in my cooking, too!! and of course, as you know, I’ve started the grain free diet. It’s actually a lot easier than I thought it would be even though my New Year’s was a bit tough with all the rice that was floating around me. I was able to stay wheat free, though so that counts for something, right?? :)

Looking forward to being grain free with you this year!

Deliciously Organic January 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I’m so glad you are having success with your wheat free/grain free diet! And more veggies is always a plus!

Lucy Lean January 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Loved this post – so sad how mean kids are. I started the New Year grain free and more importantly for me sugar free – so far feel great. Minty decided she was going to eat “less sugar” and Rémy decided he would be my personal trainer – he ran me to the top of Runyon last night – so adorable when he turned to me and said “Now let’s jog!”

Krista January 10, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Kids can be so funny. Making fun of eating vegetables!? Crazy! Making a small change can make all the difference. This salad looks delicious!

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. January 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm

love this one!!

Diane {Created by Diane} January 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm

this salad looks wonderful. I will have to start using more Kale.

Viviana January 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I just found your blog looking for kale recipes and I am so glad I did :) I am starting the process to change my eating habits and eat more organic but its hard. I just got kale in my organic box which I had never eaten before and did not even know what to do with it. I read your post and I understand because my daughter gets made fun of too because of her lunches and she is in first grade. She tells me that everyone says her food is ewwwww but that they love her fruits and try to take them from her and her nickname is “Organic girl”. Personally I think its a great nicknamE :). Anyway I am glad I found you and I will start following your blog. thanks a lot!!!!

Sofia January 18, 2012 at 9:20 am

Sounds great.. I was just wondering, by grain free do you mean wheat free(I.e gluten free) or just grains in general including the gluten free type? Do u think the same health benefits can be possible if eating gluten free?

Deliciously Organic January 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

Grain free is also wheat and gluten free. It depends on what kinds of health benefits you are looking for, but in my opinion, you can’t get the same health benefits by going gluten free as apposed to grain free. From my understanding, if you deal with any sort of inflammation, it’s best to stay away from grains (even gluten free grains). It’s made a huge difference in my life and health! Here’s the post that started it all: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/chicken-piccata-recipe-30-day-grain-free-challenge/

Chris January 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I just found your blog through Pinterest and am loving it! My husband and I have recently gone 100% organic and have been documenting our experiences on my blog, it’s been an awesome life change. I’m sorry that the kids gave your daughter a hard time, it doesn’t get much better as an adult. My husband said the folks at work give him a hard time about all the fruits and veggies he eats for lunch every day. I just tell him they just don’t understand how good it feels to be healthy.

Thanks for blogging, I’m looking forward to trying out some of your recipes!

Aggie January 26, 2012 at 11:26 am

I made a kale salad last weekend and I adored it! This looks delicious!

dawn February 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I’ve tried kale once, in a smoothie, and couldn’t get it down, it was so bitter! Is there more than one type of kale? Its probably a dumb question but im scared to try it again!!

Deliciously Organic February 27, 2012 at 6:43 am

This recipe isn’t bitter at all. Yes, there are different kinds of kale, but it was probably the way the smoothie was prepared that made it taste bitter. This salad is actually sweet. You should give it a try! :)

Georgia January 23, 2013 at 8:21 am

Carrie,

I just have a sec. I want to make this salad. I have raisins will it be ok to substitute for the currants. Can you use red wine, apple cider or balsamic vinegar for the dressing. i don;t have rice vinegar and cannot get to the store today. Thanks so much!

Deliciously Organic January 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

Raisins and balsamic vinegar will make for great substitutions. Enjoy!

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