I’ve got Thanksgiving on my mind! Do you? I’ve already begun teaching the Thanksgiving Menu in my healthy cooking workshops, which always gets me excited for the upcoming holiday. I host Thanksgiving every year, but my family doesn’t let me sneak in too many menu additions…..so developing recipes for my classes allows me to get a bit more creative in the kitchen. I focus on adding nutrition, and taste and variety. We all know there will be plenty of high calorie, high saturated fat beige food on the Thanksgiving buffet…..it’s the other stuff that I consider fun….and usually it’s those other menu items that make it back onto our table long after the holiday is over. This kale salad with beets and quinoa is one of those. I’ve been obsessed with it for awhile now….making it all the time and I think it would make a lovely addition to a beautiful Thanksgiving table.
Whenever I find Chioggia beets in the grocery or at a farmer’s market, I buy them. On the outside, they are just a bit lighter in color than red beets, and on the inside they are striped, which is why some people call them candy cane beets. They are a bit milder in flavor and softer than red beets which makes them ideal for shredding and eating raw. If you can’t find Chioggia beets, red beets work well in this salad too. (Note: Red beets can be shredded in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Chioggia and Golden Beets will brown once their insides have been exposed to air, so you’ll want to shred them closer to when you’re ready to use them). Beets are rich in fiber, folate, manganese and potassium. They have good amounts of magnesium iron, vitamin C and B vitamins which makes them an excellent addition to your diet. Beets help reduce inflammation, support a healthy heart, help purify the blood and are known to protect your digestive, brain and eye health.
I hear all the time that kale is over-rated or over done or that people just don’t like it because it’s so earthy. We eat a lot of kale because I like the nutritional profile: It’s high in Vitamins K, A, C, B6, manganese, copper, fiber and calcium. Kale is full of anti-oxidants, is anti-inflammatory, lowers cholesterol, aids in detoxification and supports heart health. We used to use it primarily in smoothies, until I discovered that massaging it can transform it from being bitter and tough to turning it silky and sweet. After removing the fibrous ribs, use your hands to massage the kale for 1-2 minutes, which will break down the cellulose structure and help wilt the greens.
Kale is the main character in this show, but the supporting cast gets high marks. Taste, texture, nutrition, color….everything has a purpose. The quinoa adds protein. The pecans add both protein and healthy fats, and when crushed with spices they add tremendous flavor and crunch. The beets round out the nutritional profile plus offer some sweetness to help with sugar cravings and let’s not forget how fun and colorful they are!
I’ll be travelling to the west coast this week to visit family so I’m getting organized now for the holiday. The hardest part for me is solidifying the menu. So many great choices….and so many traditional dishes that my family considers “must have on the table” that there is little room to add too much to our menu each year. I will for sure be making this shredded kale salad with beets and quinoa and I will likely be making this sensational salad as well. Some of my other favorite Thanksgiving sides include roasted root veggies, these delicious mashed potatoes that are super healthy, green beans, and cranberry sauce. Check out my insta stories to see the new yummy recipes I’m making in my classes this month…..there’s always room on the buffet for one more item.