Lentil and Kale Salad with Carmelized Parsnips

Lentil Kale Salad with Parsnips~A Stack of DishesOh the maligned Parsnip. Surely the pale cousin of the carrot, and certainly less sweet- but a still a darling in my opinion. I love the earthier taste of parsnips, and when cooked slowly and carmelized they are delightful.

This salad is a take off of a recipe from River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes, who’s recipes and photos of vegetable dishes are drool worthy. There is a wonderful heartiness to this dish, and the honey in the dressing mellows the bite of too much acidity. Lentils are power packed with protein and fiber, which makes this salad a perfect stand alone meal, or as a side. I personally love these French green lentils for their color, shape and texture. I find that brown lentils can get mushy, which is perfect for soup, but not for a salad. When looking for a healthy dish it’s nice to get a toothsome bite to feel like you’re getting a fair belly full.

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Kale Salad: My New Found Winter Green Romance

Kale is a tremendously nutritious green, readily available during the gray winter months- but is it possible to fall in love with it?

No doubt most of you have heard all the remarkable benefits of dark leafy greens. It turns out that Kale is the superstar of them all! It’s packed with vitamins {1 cup=180% RDA of Vitamin A, 200% Vitamin C, 1,000% Vitamin K, 15% Calcium} plus fiber, minerals and leutine. All these letters and numbers add up to a heart healthy, blood healthy vegetable that would be really good for those who are at risk for heart disease- and just incredible for the rest of us. Not to mention all that goodness for a mere 30 calories!

This is all well and good, but I don’t know about you…. I’ve never really been a big fan. I find all the winter greens such as Collard greens, Mustard greens, Beet greens, Kale and Escarole tough and bitter. I’ve also have had a few bowls of Collards in the South (which may be the fault of the restaurant) that I found to be soppy and a bit gray/brown. I chalked it up to an acquired taste (and still may be).

Earlier this season I stumbled upon a shaved Brussel Sprout recipe, and the raw, tough leaves were incredible, especially when allowed to be subdued by languishing in a vinegar and oil dressing. Surely this would be the answer for Kale too.

And it is.

Even better is the notion of “massaging the leaves”, which aids in the breakdown of the cell walls, not only turning the mass into a bright, delicious green, but also turning the tough to tender.

A healthy pinch of salt brought out a bit of the sweetness- and then an amazing thing happened.

I, in fact, have found a new love. There is a “tooth” to Kale, even with this technique, but it’s satisfying, and the leaves are not bitter. I found myself gobbling it up with eyebrow lifting amazement. Sorry Spinach- there’s new kid in town.

If you’re a fan of sauteed greens, I’ve been told the trick is to boil the greens first in some salted water for approximately 3 minutes. Then remove them, squeeze out the water, and then sautee like spinach. The water and salt softens them while preserving some of the green and opens them up to receive other flavors, such as garlic and oil.

I do hope if you’re not a Kale fan that you give recipe this a whirl. Who knows, you may begin your own romance.

Tender Kale Salad with Apples and Pepitas
This salad an be eaten directly after making, or allow it to rest for 20 minutes, or more, for an even better taste. Prep time: 15 minutes
135 calories
26 g
0 g
3 g
4 g
0 g
225 g
107 g
11 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 135
Calories from Fat 29
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 107mg
Total Carbohydrates 26g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 11g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2T Cider Vinegar
  2. 2T Walnut oil
  3. .5t Salt
  4. .5t Honey
  5. .5t ground black pepper
  6. 6c Kale, washed and chopped
  7. 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
  8. .5c celery, chopped
  9. .25c red onion, thinly sliced
  10. 2T pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  1. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Add the kale. Toss with the dressing and with your clean hands work the dressing into the leaves by pinching and squeezing.
  2. The leaves will start to turn a deep green color after about a minute.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
  4. Serve.
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