By Simone Jennings,
Registered Dietitian with Interior Health
We had a staff potluck recently and the theme was local food. I remembered about the potluck at the last minute so I missed my chance to plan and source ingredients for my contribution.
Instead I found myself wandering my kitchen, checking out my ‘local’ foods and trying to figure out what I might be able to quickly create. I decided on two items: a bag of kale that I bought at the farmers market and some apricots picked from our back yard tree. Next I turned to Google to see what recipes exist using these two ingredients.
I gained inspiration from scrolling through a few salad recipes and decided to try a kale and quinoa salad with fresh apricots and nuts. Admittedly the quinoa and nuts are not local but my dish just needed to ‘contain local ingredients’ so I was good to go! I substituted some ingredients with what I had on hand and I made one of my favourite dressing recipes from the WhiteWater Cooks cookbook (best cookbook ever!).
The result was better than I expected. I used apricots that were ripe but firm and they held up well without turning to a mushy texture. The nice thing about kale is it doesn’t go soggy if it sits for an extended time with dressing on it, so kale salads can be made in advance and eaten multiple days in a row. A great left over for lunches.
This salad is packed with nutrition. Apricots are a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and fibre. Kale is considered a nutrition powerhouse and is an excellent source of vitamin C, A and K. Quinoa is a source of complete protein and is high in fibre, magnesium, and other minerals. Adding nuts to the salad provides a good source of healthy fats and more protein.
Kale, Quinoa and Apricot Salad
1 cup quinoa
1 ¾ cups water
4 cups kale, washed and chopped
4-6 apricots, pitted and sliced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/3 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped and toasted
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 tsp olive oil
Rinse quinoa with a fine sieve, drain well. Combine quinoa with 1¾ cups water in a small-medium sized pot. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 18-20 minutes. Fluff and allow to cool.
Choose apricots that are ripe but firm. Remove the tough spines from the kale before chopping into small pieces. Massage the chopped kale with a small amount of olive until thoroughly coated.
Chop the nuts then toast them in a small frying pan stirring frequently. Combine all ingredients and toss with the dressing.
Maple Balsamic Dressing (source: WhiteWater Cooks)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp pepper
½ cup olive oil
Whisk together all ingredients or blend in a magic bullet.