The crunch of the apples. Creaminess of the feta cheese. Tartness of the pomegranate. The textures within this salad complement each other very nicely and make for easy substitutions.
Recently, when I’ve been looking for healthy recipes I have two goals in mind:
1) easy prep
2) visually appealing
This kale apple pomegranate salad hit both- it was easy to make in less than 20 minutes and is a work of art. Pair it with protein like shrimp or salmon, or even quinoa and you can make this salad as meal prep for the upcoming week. Whip up stress-free salad as the perfect finishing touch to your dining table!
Did you know? Kale has twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange!!
Kale Apple Pomegranate Salad
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bunch of kale (about ½ lb, leaves thinly chopped, stems removed)
- 1 large apple, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- seeds from one pomegranate
- ½ cup feta cheese (2 ounces)
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the kale and toss to coat.
- Rub the apple slices with lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Toss the kale with the pecans, pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate seeds. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad and arrange the apple slices along the edges.
-Add grilled chicken, salmon or shrimp for more variety
-If preparing the salad for meal prep, make the vinaigrette on the side and put in little containers.
-If you don’t have pecans, swap it for walnuts or almonds
-Kale is relatively inexpensive (I bought a bunch of kale for $0.98, or for easier prep you can buy a bag of shredded kale)
-Try to find a block of feta cheese as it is more flavorful compared to the pre-crumbled kinds. Other types of cheese like blue cheese can be substituted.
Late nights studying. Early mornings driving to the hospital. Maybe an espresso before you head out. Or not, if you spent too much time steaming your scrubs. Breakfast is usually the last thing on your mind until you hear your stomach rumbling during rounds and wish you had grabbed a banana for a quick bite earlier. A quick filling breakfast is just what you need and unfortunately, many people end up skipping this meal. It turns out, the meal that we pay the least amount of attention to, may be the most important meal of the day. A perfect way to get in your morning nutrients includes making these creamy overnight oats!
Skipping breakfast has been associated with overall lower diet quality, leading to individuals consuming almost half their daily calories from snacks. One study showed that British children under the age of 10 years, ate over half of the daily recommended dose of sugar at breakfast. First off, not only is the act of even eating breakfast important, but the actual content of what you eat is worth paying attention to. This concept is nothing new and a famous nutritionist and author, Adelle Davis, in the 1960s even said “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”.
Trends surrounding breakfast are turning away from the traditional cereals and orange juice and towards convenience foods (sandwiches, protein packs, breakfast bars). This is likely due to more people not eating breakfast at home and more on the go or at work. A survey in 2015 even showed that 40% of millennials didn’t like eating cereal since they had to clean up afterwards (1).
Why Eat a Healthy Breakfast?
- May have a link to decreased risk of heart disease
- Leads to more stable blood sugar control throughout the day
- Improves concentration and memory and for children, performance on exams
- Keeps energy levels up and get essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber
- Less likely to snack throughout the day
Try this overnight oats recipe below to jumpstart your way to a habit of eating breakfast every day! It is one of my go to recipes and I love making variations to it whether it be chocolate based, peanut butter, or even cinnamon apple.
Base Recipe for Overnight Oats
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats!)
- 3/4 cup milk (almond milk, coconut, or regular milk)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Toppings/Mix ins (your choice): handful of fruits (blueberries, strawberries etc), nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds), flax seeds, honey, peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract
- Optional for extra creaminess: 1/4 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)
- Mix all ingredients together in a jar or container. Add your favorite toppings and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours
- Enjoy in the morning for a quick and stress free breakfast option!
-After you have made overnight oats a few times, you will figure out the consistency that works for you. A good rule of thumb to follow is 2:1 for milk:oats if you prefer it more porridge like or 1:1 if you want it a firmer texture.
-Chia seeds absorb liquid so take that into account if not using them! You may realize that you need to adjust the ratios of oats to milk.
-No need to microwave these oats! Grab it out of the fridge and start your day with a no-effort breakfast.
-They will last for a week so you can meal prep and put your overnight oats together on Sundays.
There are some people who are always on the lookout for a quick and easy meal. One that tastes just as good as the time that was saved. Even better- a recipe that can also be used for meal planning!
The creamy texture of the avocado blends well with the crunchiness of the cucumbers peppered in with the occasional cayenne spiced shrimp. To elevate the experience, consider adding some sliced almonds or feta cheese.
The elements of this salad are very simple (serving size varies based on amount of ingredients):
- Salad greens: spinach leaves, spring mix (neutral), romaine lettuce (crunchy) or try arugula (spicy bite)
- Avocado: diced (Pro tip: you can tell a ripe avocado by removing the nub of the stem; if it is ripe it will be green underneath, if overripe then it will be brown, and if it isn’t ready then the nub wont come off)
- Cucumber: peeled and diced
- Shrimp: 1 pound seasoned with cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, pepper, and tossed in a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice; sauté for about two minutes per side or until pink
- Other options: sliced almonds, raisins, cranberries, figs, feta cheese, black beans, tomatoes
Simply toss all of these ingredients together and drizzle with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper!
**Remember: avocados have more potassium than bananas! Remember that the next time you hear someone say they are low on potassium and need to eat more bananas (which are carb heavy!).
Click here to read about my Asian Inspired Shrimp Salad with a Peanut Sauce for another variation.
Hope you enjoyed today’s simple recipe of the day!
What other quick meal plan ready recipes would you like to see posted on the blog?
After making my trip to the grocery store to get everything for this recipe, I had all the ingredients except one. Of course. It had to be the couscous that I just could not find. I made my way to an ethnic grocery store in hopes that they would carry the pearl couscous I was looking for. No luck. Third try was the charm. Without it, I don’t think this dish would have tasted quite the same. Persistence and motivation has never tasted so good!
This one pot Moroccan Spiced Chicken Couscous is a savory, flavor packed dish perfect for meal planning and it only takes 15 minutes to prep. The other hour is where you just wait for it to finish and can take care of other errands during that time!
Couscous Fun Fact:
-Couscous is a sugar free and fat free semolina wheat staple popular in North African cuisine. It is surprisingly not a whole grain like brown rice or bulgur. While similar to pasta, it is made from crushed semolina wheat while pasta is more refined and made from ground wheat.
Moroccan Spiced Chicken Couscous
- 3 tablespoons Moroccan spice blend (recipe below)
- 1 ½ pounds of chicken breasts, skinless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 14 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 14 ounces fire roasted tomatoes (1 can)
- 1 cup pearl couscous, dry
- 1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
Moroccan Spice Blend
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat: 375 F
- Mix together the spice ingredients. Season the chicken breasts with 2 tablespoons of the spice blend.
- In a dutch oven or oven safe pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and sear each side until golden, for about 2 minutes. Set the chicken aside on a plate.
- Add the onion and garlic to the dutch oven and saute for about 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the rest of the spice blend and mix.
- Mix in the chickpeas, chicken broth, fire roasted tomatoes, couscous. Stir in the kale. Heat up to a boil and then add the chicken breasts on top.
- Cover the pot with a lid and place in the oven. Bake it for 30 minutes covered then uncover the pot. Bake for an additional 30 minutes uncovered.
-If you don’t have pearl couscous, you can also try making this with quinoa
-You can add sautéed almonds after it is done cooking for some extra crunch
-Raisins, chopped apricots, or chopped prunes can be added in step 4 for some sweetness
-Chicken with skin can be used for extra flavor
Recipe adapted from JoCooks