Usually, salads are not considered winter meals. However, you can make really satisfying warm salads that are flavorful — just like this Satisfying Wintertime Salad that contains only 5 ingredients but is a firework of flavors, colors, and different textures. It indeed keeps you satisfied for hours. This recipe serves two, so remember it also on Valentine’s Day or in case you want to pamper your significant other!
How to make the Satisfying Wintertime Salad for Two
This salad requires a bit more than just mixing all ingredients together: to make a warm salad, you’ll need to steam the kale. (However, if you really want quick and easy options where you just mix all ingredients together, check the Tips for Variations section at the end of this post).
Steaming the kale makes it not only more palatable, but there are some other benefits that come with cooking. For example, raw kale (like other cruciferous vegetables) contains goitrogens that might impair thyroid function. However, usually, goitrogens are well-tolerated, but if you have any thyroid problems, especially hypothyroidism, you might want to cook your kale and other cruciferous veggies to reduce the goitrogens.
Talking about cooking, it generally reduces the vitamin and mineral content of vegetables. Steaming is the best method for cooking kale as it best preserves these important substances.
But, let’s take a look at how to prepare this tasty dish:
Take 3 cups (about 700 ml) of torn, tightly packed kale leaves. Ensure that the stems are discarded.
Steam the kale for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted, in a steamer or in a saucepan with a splash of water.
Pour away the water.
Take a small Belgian endive (about 7 oz = 200 g) and remove the outer leaves.
Slice the endive into thin slices.
Take a serving plate and add the steamed kale (that is still warm!)…
…4 oz = 115 g crumbled blue cheese…
…1/3 cup = 80 ml pecans…
…and 1/4 cup = 60 ml sugar-free craisins aka dried cranberries.
Enjoy! You can naturally drizzle some keto-friendly salad dressing or simply good-quality extra-virgin olive oil on top to make the salad even more satisfying.
How I came up with this Wintertime Salad recipe
The idea for this recipe is quite old. I came up with it about two or three years ago, so it has been hanging on my idea list for quite some time. Basically, the only thing that prevented me from developing the recipe was the lack of decent keto-friendly craisins, aka dried cranberries. However, that problem was solved in my last week’s post when I (finally!) took the effort to develop a recipe for proper keto-friendly dried cranberries.
Now, when I had finally genuinely sugar-free craisins, I was ready to work on this salad recipe. During the week, I came to the summer house to work in peace on my keto course. I thought I will also develop the salad recipe in the summer house.
Before coming to the summer house, I had to ensure that I have all the needed ingredients. The nearest decent store — and a shopping mall — is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away from here, so you won’t go and quickly grab some ingredient in case you are missing it. Well, there is a small store 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) away from here, but it’s not too well equipped.
I actually had planned this recipe really carefully: I knew I needed kale, Belgian endive, blue cheese, walnuts, and dried cranberries. I was sure I had these ingredients with me when I arrived in the summer house. However, as soon as I started preparing the salad, I noticed that I forgot to buy walnuts! Now what?
Luckily, I had taken several bags of mixed nuts that I was planning to use in my other experiments (like energy bars). Well, these mixed nuts didn’t contain walnuts. Instead, they had almonds, blanched hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and macadamias.
After a short pondering, I thought pecans would actually be even a better match with the salad than walnuts that I had originally planned. Pecans would accompany perfectly blue cheese and craisins — much better than walnuts! So, I picked enough pecans from my nut mix to be used in the salad.
Since my calculations were surprisingly correct, I didn’t have to do too much experimenting with the recipe. Anyway, with those great ingredients, you simply cannot go wrong!
However, my original plan was to cool the steamed kale until room temperature and then add it with the other ingredients. But, I realized the kale would be much better if used warm. The salad would be warm as well — which would make it even better for winter — plus the blue cheese would melt a bit, especially if you mix it with the warm salad. Who wouldn’t like oozing, melted cheese!
Now, I was completely satisfied with the recipe. It was so full of intense flavors and different textures — I was enjoying every forkful. Well, in the summer house, I didn’t have anybody to share the salad with me, so it made two satisfying meals for me.
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 3 cups = 710 ml (about 3 oz = 85 g) torn kale leaves, tightly packed (stem discarded)
- 1 small Belgian endive (about 7 oz = 200 g)
- 4 oz = 115 g blue cheese
- 1/3 cup = 80 ml pecans
- 1/4 cup = 60 ml keto-friendly craisins aka dried cranberries
- Steam the kale for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. Pour away the water. Set aside while you do further preparations.
- Remove the outer leaves from the endive. Slice the endive into thin slices.
- Take a serving plate and add the steamed kale, sliced endive, blue cheese, pecans, and the dried cranberries.
- Serve immediately. You can drizzle salad dressing (like vinaigrette) or good-quality extra-virgin olive oil on top.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases - without any extra costs for you.
Unsprayed Sprouted 2 lb Raw Certified Organic Family Recipe Crispy Sea Salt Texas Native Pecans-Fresh Direct Ship
Organic Pecans, 12 Ounces - Non-GMO, Kosher, Raw, Vegan, No Shell
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Pecans, 11 Oz - Mammoth Halves | Fresh | Raw
Homemade Sugar-Free Craisins aka Dried Cranberries
|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if 2 servings in total|
|Protein||31.0 g||15.5 g|
|Fat||67.5 g||33.8 g|
|Net carbs||11.2 g||5.6 g|
|kcal||792 kcal||396 kcal|
Tips for variation
For a quick and easy option, use mixed salad greens instead of kale. Naturally, in that case, the salad won’t be warm — which makes it perfect for summer or when you don’t fancy anything warm.
Belgian endive might not be easily available (at least here in Finland, I had to search for it a little), so feel free to use, for example, fennel, jicama, kohlrabi, or any other crunchy low-carb veggie instead.
Even I prefer pecans for this salad, other nuts are also a great fit — almost any nut or seed goes with the salad. Try, for example, walnuts, slivered almonds, salted peanuts, macadamias, blanched hazelnuts, toasted pumpkin seeds, or toasted sunflower seeds.
If blue cheese is not your cup of tea, choose another type of cheese. All flavorful cheeses — such as Swiss cheese, Feta, Edam, or sharp Cheddar cheese are perfect for this salad. Remember also Brie — it’s such a fantastic match with dried cranberries!
Talking about cranberries: you can make dried cranberries completely without sweeteners. They will lend particularly peppy and tangy flavor to this salad.
So, this week, I have been in our summer house — which is now practically a winter house. Even the location is in the middle of nowhere, the house (or ‘cottage’ as we call it) has all bells and whistles. Even we have electricity here, I’ve been heating the house mainly with wood.
I have been working a lot here, for example, I checked the layout of my newest Finnish book, which soon goes to print. However, mostly I have been working on my keto course that I’m going to give in the nutrition therapy school I also graduated from. It’s a full-day course, so I have to prepare lots of slides and other additional material.
I’ve also heated the sauna almost every day here. It’s a really welcomed break from my work and has undoubtedly helped a lot to relax.
I was also rolling in the snow after sauna – yep, we Finns do crazy things like that! (This is the place I was rolling):