Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Power Salad: Kale, Cranberries, Miso and more…

I prepare a variation of this amazing salad several times a week. The dressing can also be used as a marinade and is super simple to make. I never measure. Just mix it to taste.  Follow the general guideline of two to three parts oil to one part vinegar, add a healthy amount of white miso and a dash of something sweet. I like using mirin, an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine, consisting of 40%–50% sugar. It is a kind of sake (with a lower alcohol content).

The salad pictured here was made with curly kale, red cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, radishes, cranberries and hemp seeds.  Kale leaves can be thick and tough.   After removing the stems and tearing the leaves into very small pieces, I like to blanch the kale in hot, salted tap water followed by a quick rinse in cold water.  After a few quick spins in the salad spinner, I added the kale to matchstick carrots and radishes, scallions cut on the bias, thinly sliced cabbage and small-diced cucumber (seeds removed).

For the dressing, I used umeboshi vinegar, sesame oil, white miso and mirin.  Whisk the ingredients, pour on the salad, and toss.

Super easy, super delicious, super nutritious.
  • Kale is rich in phytonutrients, carotenoids, pro-vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber and vitamin E. It detoxifies and is anti-inflammatory.  
  • Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of glutamine, an amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Radishes are rich in ascorbic acidfolic acid, and potassium. They are a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, and calcium. 
  • Carrots get their characteristic and bright orange color from beta-carotene, which is metabolized into vitamin A.  They are also rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.
  • Cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, phytochemicals under active research for possible benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system, and as anti-cancer agents.
  • Miso is a very good source of manganese and B12 as well as a good source of zinc, phosphorus, copper, protein and dietary fiber.
  • Hemp seed is high in protein and all nine of the essential amino acids. It contains a high amount of fatty acids and fiber as well as vitamin E and trace minerals. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats.

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