If you’re anything like me, the meals we’ve all been eating recently haven’t exactly looked like the photos in this post. Here’s the real deal. We’re all stressed. We’re all stress eating. The hard part about stress eating is that it makes me feel great and satisfied immediately but it’s not feeding my body. If I’m being honest, I end up feeling worse in the end. Anyone else? So I decided I’m going to give myself some grace. If I want Cheetos at night before bed… I’m going to do it. If I want a Heidiho with my morning coffee, I’m going to have it. But I am also going to make a concerted effort to drink my water… to eat balanced meals throughout the day… to take my vitamins… and to get plenty of greens. That is where this salad comes in.
Shop My Salad Favorites:
This Lemon Garlic Kale Salad recipe is an oldie. It first appeared on the blog back in 2015 right after I had William. I was dealing with a lot of stress, and I lived on this salad. The routine of making it was cathartic to me. It tasted great. And it gave me tons of energy to get through those long days and nights with a newborn.
I’m a creature of habit. I think most of us are. When times get tough, or when I’m stressed and short on time, I always turn to this lemon garlic kale salad. It never fails to help me get back on track. I love it because it is packed with super healthy ingredients, it is SO easy to make, and the number one reason I love it… it feels like comfort food, even thought it’s not. It doesn’t even really taste like you’re eating a salad. Maybe it’s the fact that with the croutons it kind of, sort of, tastes like garlic bread… or maybe it’s the fact that it is covered in cheese… or maybe it’s the way the warm protein on top melds all the flavors together? I don’t know. But this is one damn, good, simple salad.
I really love that you can top it with ANY protein you have in your fridge. So crucial for times like these. You can also make the croutons out of any bread you have in your pantry. Heck… you don’t even have to use kale. I know many of us are short on fresh produce right now, so my advice is to use whatever you have or can get your hands on. If you have romaine – this salad is still good. Pro Tip: I make a large container of this dressing and keep it in the fridge. I top any protein I’m eating with it… and I love to put it on whatever salad I make throughout the week. It also tastes great on top of canned tuna!
You will notice that the measurements in the ingredients below are kind of loosey – goosey. However, as you make this salad more and more, you will realize that it isn’t really a salad that needs anything too precise to taste amazing. In my opinion, those are the best kind of recipes.
Also – as I said earlier – feel free to top this salad with whatever protein you choose. We usually opt for poached eggs for simplicity, but grilled chicken and baked salmon are also fantastic.
Nutrition notes: This salad makes about 3-4 decent sized portions and I estimate it’s less than 300 calories a serving (before you add whatever protein you choose). Thus – it is the perfect dinner if you’re looking for a delicious, low calorie, and healthy dinner option. Enjoy!
RECIPE: Emily’s Healthy Lemon Garlic Kale Salad
– 1 container of pre-washed kale – you can cut up your own, but for ease, I always use a pre-washed container
– 1 cup of good Parmesan – freshly grated
– Eggs (for poaching – or whatever kind of protein you choose)
-Half of a good french baguette – cubed for croutons (we use the remaining half to eat with the salad)
– The juice of 2-4 lemons
– 1 cup of very good olive oil<<< Ina would be so proud (we love the Pasolivo California Blend)
– 4-6 large garlic cloves crushed (I use the flat side of a meat tenderizer to do this)
– Salt – to taste
– Red pepper flakes – to taste
– A dash of orange juice or honey – if you want some additional sweetness
– Place the kale in a large salad bowl
– In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, smashed garlic, teaspoon of salt, and very good olive oil. Mix thouroughly.
– Pour dressing over the kale, toss and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
– In the meantime cut half of the baguette into small cubes. Toss with olive oil and salt, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. After 10 minutes check the croutons, toss gently with a spatula, and bake for the remaining five minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
– Add croutons and the freshly grated cheese to the dressed kale.
– Plate and top with your choice of protein.
Enjoy over and over again!