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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kale Pesto Hearty Salad

I eat a lot of kale. It's my favorite green. I chop it up and mix it into at least half of what we eat. So the other night when were low on dinner options because the fridge was looking pretty empty, I used it as a base for this salad...also because my basil plants in the balcony garden haven't quite reached their full potential and I needed a filler. I used brown rice for this salad but pasta, barley, wheat berries, and quinoa would be great subs. I also served this room temperature but it's good hot or cold.

2 cups of cooked brown rice, slightly cooled
1 bunch of kale, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3-4 basil leaves (depending on how basil-y you'd like it, you can add more)
1/4 cup of walnuts or pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp honey
1-2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup of peas
1 cup of chicken if you have it (left over roast chicken is great)

1. If you don't have leftover cooked rice on hand, get your rice going while you do the rest of the steps.
2. In a medium skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the kale and some salt and pepper. Cook until just softened - you don't want it mushy. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. In the same pan, add the shallots and cook until soft. Remove from heat.
4. In a food processor, add the kale, garlic, basil and nuts and process until until it forms a wet paste.
5. In a small bowl, mix the rest of the olive oil, mustard, honey and red wine vinegar until emulsified.
6. While the rice is still a bit warm, add the vinaigrette and mix well. Add the kale mixture and stir until well combined. Add the tomatoes, peas and chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste.