I like a lot of stuff in my salads.
Like texture, crunchy, sweet, salty, and chewy….. the more dynamic the salad the more fulfilled I am. I spent far too many years being unsatisfied by salads. For so long, all I thought to put in them was veggies – and dressing. What’s up, boring?! Fill that bowl with not only veggies, but nuts, seeds, fruit, healthy fats and anything else that sounds delightful. Ever wonder why fattoush salad is so amazing?! It’s those crunchy pita chips. They take a boring salad straight to amazing town. (If you haven’t tried fattoush salad, get out there and get you one.)
Living in northeast Ohio, I don’t have the pleasure of frequenting Kroger. I did in college (Miami of Ohio ftw) – and maybe that’s why I get nostalgic when I enter a Kroger – but either way, this was the grocery of choice while we were in Hilton Head last week. My dad came home for lunch one day with ‘a salad I thought Meghann would like.’ That’s what inspired this salad here. I loved the idea of what they had going on… but I didn’t like all of the additions (sorry onions… i don’t like you in my salads) and really felt we could make this an easy, summer staple.
So naturally, on the plane ride home- while wrangling a cranky 1 year old who should have been napping – I was plotting this recipe in my head. We got home at 1pm on a Saturday…. and I might have been at Aldi’s by 2pm picking up the ingredients to give this salad a whirl. Call it what you wanna call it…. nerd or creative genius…. now I’m sharing with you!
Why do I love this combo so? Kale and blueberries are in season and easily accessible plus cheaper right now. We grow kale in our garden, but it’s not quite ready yet, so I love the pre-cut bags of kale from Aldi’s. Edamame are found in the freezer section and an awesome high protein, high fiber staple you can keep in your freezer at all times. Not only is it great in salads, but also delish in stir fry, rice dishes, and eaten plain. You can buy edamame in the pods or shelled. Do yourself a favor and buy it shelled for this recipe. It’ll save you a lot of time. But, the kind in the shell is super fun to eat also. Edamame newbies: don’t eat in the pod! My husband found out the hard way.
Summer Blue Kale Salad
Servings: 4 big bowls
6 cups chopped kale
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded or matchstick
1 1/2 cups edamame
1 cup blueberries
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
a couple turns of fresh ground pepper
- In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients (kale, carrots, edamame, blueberries, and sunflower seeds.)
- In a blender, combine all salad dressing ingredients and blender until well combined. If you don’t have a blender, feel free to whisk by hand.
- Pour dressing over salad and mix gently but well. Don’t wanna disturb those blueberries!
- Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight before eating. The kale will thank you.
- Find the edamame in the freezer section – buy the shelled kind for faster prep time. We love edamame – high in protein and fiber and so fun to eat!
- This is naturally gluten free and vegan.
- If you like onions in salads, add in some chopped green onions or red onions.
Athletes: There are some serious antioxidants happening here. Pair this salad with grilled salmon or another protein for a solid weeknight meal. Big training session planned for the next morning? Add in another carbohydrate-rich side, such as a baked potato (sweet or regular) or throw some brown rice in the salad. Feeling super lazy? Eat a banana on the side.
Healthy Eating: This is a fabulous salad to pack for a summer picnic or to share at a summer get-together. Everybody is looking for something new to share and get people talking. Guys… I think this might be it!
Kids: If this mixed together is too much for your kiddo to handle (i get it – my 2 year old feels the same way), deconstruct the salad for them to eat and play around with. Remember the more we expose them to foods, the more likely they are to try them.