Being a vegan, plant-based foods are my life. But you don’t have to fully commit to eliminating animal products to enjoy an amazingly healthy and delicious plant-based meal. In fact, I recommend my patients enjoy vegan or vegetarian days 2-3 times a week to balance out the body’s acidity and reduce inflammation.
During the summer months I love to highlight some go-to, one-bowl salad meals to show you just how easy it is to stay light, healthy and keep your tummy satisfied.
This recipe brings to life one of my all-time favourite super foods – kale. This beautiful deep green, ruffled leaf is rich in a number of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, C, K, iron, manganese, copper, potassium and calcium. And unlike many leafy greens, this one is low in oxalates, which is known to prevent nutrients from absorbing. Kale’s thick leaves are also dense in fibre making it fantastic for a leftover salad too!
A common question I get is whether or not to buy your kale organic. To that I answer a resounding, “YES”! Kale is unfortunately one of the most pesticide-laden veggies out there. This makes this nutrient-dense food also toxic. If you cannot find organic, pre-soak your kale in water with 2 tbsp of white vinegar for 2-5 minutes to rid most of the topical toxins.
This Crunchy Kale and Quinoa Salad also packs heartiness with fluffy quinoa and the mix of coconut, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. These provide an excellent source of healthy vegan fats and protein.
- 1 head of organic green or red curly kale (or mix it up with both or add half dino kale) – rinsed and dried
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp natural pink sea salt
- ½ cup chopped green onion
- ¾ cup dried naturally sweetened cranberries
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- ¾ cup raw walnuts
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp natural pink sea salt
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 lemon squeezed
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard (can use honey dijon if looking for a little sweeter dressing)
- Cook the quinoa according to instructions and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Remove and discard kale stems. Chop kale leaves and green onion and place in large bowl.
- Combine in olive oil and salt and set aside (allowing leaves to soften)
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- When cooled, add the nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, yeast, oil and salt to a mini food processor (if you don’t have one you can finely chop the nuts/seeds and stir in the remaining ingredients). Process until consistency is a coarse crumble – just a few 2-3 second pulses. Be sure not to pulverize into a flour. Place in a bowl.
- Dressing: Add all ingredients to a blender or mini food processor. Process until a creamy consistency.
- Add the cooled quinoa, berries and dressing to the kale bowl. Mix evenly.
- Serve individual bowls allowing guests to add desired amount of nut mix (I like a lot!)
Dr. Michelle Cali is a licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctor and graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. In addition, she holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Cali maintains a private practice in Guelph, Ontario. She is truly passionate about helping her patients develop and achieve their health goals. She implements patient-centred care utilizing a variety of treatment modalities including: clinical nutrition and diet counseling; acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine; herbal medicine; homeopathy; and lifestyle counseling. She has also received additional training in Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, Natural Fertility and Applied Kinesiology. Her practice includes particular focus on women’s health, pediatrics and digestive health.
Her mission to inspire and reinvent wellbeing was reinforced by her trip to Kenya and the naturopathic work she completed with the organization, Foundation for Integrative Medicine in Africa (FIMAfrica).
Dr. Cali also enjoys engaging her local community through specialized talks and outreach. In addition, also maintains the role as National Scientific Advisor for the professional nutraceutical company, Cyto-Matrix.
She has a personal interest in plant-based foods and continually expands her vegan culinary skills in her kitchen. She frequently shares her cooking journeys with her patients to show them accessible ways to prepare hearty, healthy and delicious whole food dishes. She encourages clean eating while maintaining the importance of passionate eating.
Michelle is registered with the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy (BDDT-N) and is an active member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) and Association of Perinatal Naturopathic Doctors (APND).