Kale Chopped Salad with Feta and Balsamic Dressing

My friend Jenna has an obsession with the recipes a fellow food blogger posts, and I honestly cant argue with her. Iowa Girl Eats posts some of the most delicious recipes ever!

Every so often I’ll find a new recipe in my inbox that Jenna has forwarded to me. Finally I had some to recreate something she came up with.

I am a big fan of going to the gym, and trying to “eat clean” as people call it. This salad fit perfectly in my wedding-ready-diet! Those of you who havent tried Kale yet, Im not quite sure what you’re waiting for … but its delicious! And soooo good for you.
I have to admit though, I’d never used a shallot until today *gasp* I know, I know..

For this recipe, I made some changes to fit my taste and what the grocery store offered. So, after the gym I swung by the store and picked up these ingredients. Adding fresh avocado, crispy salty bacon, sliced almonds, creamy crumbled feta, and sautéing the shallots and brussel sprouts together made for an amazing, and huge, lunch salad!

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Ingredients

Kale
Shallots – 3 medium
Avocado – 1 large, ripe
Brussel Sprouts – 2 cups worth
Bacon
Garlic
Sliced Almonds
Feta Cheese
Dressing of your choice

My local grocery store didnt have the type of Kale Kristen used in her salad, Lacinto Kale, so I just picked up a large bunch of regular kale. Hey, for .99 you really cant beat that.

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I rinsed and dried my kale before cutting the hard veins out of each stalk. Then chopped the greens into bite sized slices. Setting that aside in a large mixing bowl, I got to work on my shallots.

Shallots, if you dont already know, are from the onion family. Very good flavor, and easy to use. I peeled and sliced them as thin as I could get them. Now, Kristen fried hers crispy, but I decided to keep mine just sautéed and only cooked in a very tiny bit of oil.

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Start those in a sauté pan with a very small amount of oil. Add a little sea salt for taste if you’d like. And then start on the Brussel Sprouts and Garlic. Cutting the hard ends off and, again, slicing them as thinly as you can. So they’re similar to shaved, like a mandolin would give you. As you get through each one, pick out the hard core pieces, those aren’t too tasty unless they’re cooked much longer. Mince the garlic as small as you can, I use a miniature food processor for mine – wayyyy easier!

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Add both minced garlic and brussel sprout “shavings” into the pan with your shallots and stur until everything is coated with “juice” from the onion. Turn heat to low and let it all wilt together for about 3-5min, depending on your stovetop.

As for the bacon, I precooked that and sliced it into bite size pieces. And the almonds were purchased pre-sliced. Im not looking to chop any fingers off just for some crunch in my salad lol Cut your avocado in half, and take the seed out. Peel and slice however you would prefer it for your salad.

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When your shallots and sprouts are tender, add them to your mixing bowl of kale. Toss so that the warmth of the onion/sprouts/garlic helps wilt the kale somewhat. You dont want it sad and droopy, but just enough to make it less tough.
Toss in the desired amount of toppings, drizzle with your favorite dressing, and enjoy!

This salad really was amazing. All of the flavors and textures combine so well together, and it is bangin healthy!!

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If you’re interested in the original recipe, from Kristen, you can find it here –> Kale Chopped Salad with Maple Almond Vinaigrette 

Shaking Things Up A Bit!

Smoothie

Lately Ive really been trying to get healthier. Not just working out, but my whole lifestyle. Eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, eating non-processed foods etc. You get the picture.

I’ve really given a lot of thought about going Paleo but its pretty hard, as well as unreasonable, to expect my family to make that transition also. So I’ve done what I can for now, until they decide they’re into it.

More protein, fish, veggies, fruit, and water.
Less bad carbs (picture me bawling) – no white bread, no white rice, minimal white potatoes, and a very minimal amount of sugar. Whats too bad about that?

My wonderful fiancé got me a Ninja Blender that is out of this world! As of two weeks ago, I have started each day with a GREEN SHAKE!

Load that baby up with everything good for you, and on gym days you can even add your protein powder to it! I personally prefer the frozen fruit because it makes it thicker and colder, it doesn’t rot like fresh fruit does, and its way more affordable.

Here are the main ingredients I use daily:
Fresh Spinach (Target has the cheapest bags $1.99, and its freezeable)
Bananas
Carrots
Kale
Celery (you get used to the taste after the first drink)
Frozen Fruit Mix (no added sugar or sodium. Target has the most affordable $10 mixed bags)
I usually get three bags of varying mixes to have a variety during the week. Blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries. Mango, pineapple, peaches. Strawberries, mangos, bananas.

When you make a smoothie you need some sort of liquid. A friend of mine suggested I use warm brewed Green Tea, which is GENIUS! Not only is it wonderful for you, but it helps melt the frozen fruit.

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Daily Smoothie

1 Cup Spinach
1 Carrot (cut in a few pieces)
1 Banana
1 Stalk Celery (cut in pieces)
1 Cup (sometimes more) mixed frozen fruit
About a 1/2 cup liquid. I add it slowly until my smoothie is the consistency I want.

Blend until smooth, and add to whatever glass or bottle you want! These smoothies are so very filling, and healthy! You get a huuuuge dose of veggies and fruits. I have replaced my breakfast with them, and they keep me full until about 12pm (drinking smoothie at 7am).

Enjoy! 🙂