BABY KALE SALAD WITH GREEN HARISSA CAULI + CRISPY QUINOA

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I can’t do strict diets. They inspire an otherwise absent rebellious streak in me and I go headlong into a sugar spiral. I remember trying the master cleanse many years ago, fully stocked on all the maple, lemon and cayenne I could stand and I lasted until lunch on the first day. I really like eating. It is much more sustainable for me to find some healthy moderation, because if I set out to not eat ANY sugar, or swear off bread, all I can think about is chocolate and toast. Healthier habits have come from over a decade of caring about wellness, and figuring out what that means to me. I have learned some things by following Kelly Leveque/@bewellbykelly, and while I don’t follow her program (it isn’t realistic with how often I work around food and the variety it requires of me), she’s helped me rethink my meals to curb hunger. I am not afraid of fat, I’m trying harder to incorporate a portion of protein into my meals, and remain mindful of carb intake. I am notorious for giant salads, with no protein, then you would find me halfway through a pint of ice cream one hour later because I was not satisfied. Nuts, avocado, eggs, healthy oils… all of these things help a salad stick. I recently learned I am highly allergic to casein (dairy) and am at the beginning of the road with some auto immune issues, so I am just trying to keep things generally less inflammatory. I keep canned salmon and tuna in the pantry, hard boil half my carton of eggs, or make a lentil salad that has lots of crispy vegetables in it so it will keep in the fridge. I love a good entree salad so much but some garden plate with cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce does not qualify as dinner.  I don’t have the credentials to speak as an authority on nutrition, but I love learning about it and trying new things to feel good. 

At first glance, this salad may look a little complicated, but I promise all the steps layer on each other and it is the most delicious salad I’ve made in a long time. While the cauli roasts, you make your dressing and crispy quinoa. It makes sense to double up so you can recreate this for lunch the next day. Add chicken or salmon if you are looking for an obvious protein, or don’t, and it works for all the vegan, veg, gluten and dairy free people. I do miss my favorite feta, so add that if you have some. I divided it by component below, so you can make some things in advance if that helps. For nearly every part of the salad, I used the Rich and Robust Olive Oil from the Destination Series by California Olive Ranch. You can see more in my last post here. I used it to roast the cauli, make the green harissa, crisp the quinoa, and smooth out the dressing. It has a grassy, forward flavor, that I really like in salads. California Olive Ranch has partnered with olive growers in other countries for these delicious blends, keeping with the same quality standards you can always expect from the brand. 

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baby kale salad with green harissa roasted cauliflower, golden raisins, crispy quinoa, avocado + lemony tahini vinaigrette

I am linking to a green harissa recipe we have here on the site, or also giving you full permission to use the amazing zhoug sauce from Trader Joes if you need to save a step. Both are amazing here or on eggs or smashed with some avocado for a taco or sandwich. You get the idea. It, as well as the quick dressing, can be made in advance to save you time. 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400’, spread the cauli florets on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper and toss everything to coat. Rub the oil into the cauli with your hands to make sure everything gets a thin coat. Roast in the upper third of the oven for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until well browned. 

Make the green harissa if you’re making it from scratch, or have your zhoug ready. When the cauliflower is out of the oven, toss it with the red onion and about 3 Tbsp. of the green sauce. Set aside to cool. 

For the quinoa, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the dry and cooled quinoa to the pan, give it one stir, then leave it undisturbed for 3 minutes so it browns. Give it one more stir, let it brown for 5 minutes. Continue to do this every 5 minutes until the quinoa looks browned and crispy. Should take about 15 minutes. Let it cool. 

Stir the dressing ingredients together - the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, with a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Collect you kale in a large salad bowl. Drizzle on desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. Add the raisins and half the pistachios, toss again. Serve your bowls of salad with a heaping pile of the cauli, some crispy quinoa, avocados and garnish with remaining pistachios. 

You could add a little feta or lentils or whatever protein you’d like!

ingredients

for the green harissa cauli

1 large head cauli, about 2 lbs., cut into florets
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
green harissa or zhoug from Trader Joes

for the crispy quinoa

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

for the lemon tahini dressing

2 Tbsp. tahini
Juice of one Meyer lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

for the salad

5 oz. / 4 cups baby kale
1/3 cup golden raisins (I soak mine in a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar and hot water to plump up)
1/2 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped
2 avocados, sliced

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This post is sponsored by California Olive Ranch. All recipes and writing are my own. Thank you for supporting brands I work with, so that I may continue to create recipes here!

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VEGETABLE TAGINE WITH APRICOT COUSCOUS

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It is a lot of recipes. It sounded manageable in theory; write four recipes each week for Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club, keep up loosely here on the blog, my private chef job, occasional freelance work, try to keep up with instagram content anddddd my little family with two spirited wee people. It’s a lot of time in the kitchen, let’s just say that. I don’t idolize busyness, I try not to use that as a response to “how are you?” because it’s overused and self imposed. Being busy is not a state that makes me respect someone any more nor a flurry in which I wish to reside. I try to honor that, as I schedule activities and social plans for our family, but with two parents who have their own businesses which seem to keep birthing more mini side businesses, “busy” feels like a word I have to try really hard not to use.

I was thinking about how there are likely a number of you who feel the same, perhaps with kids or a demanding job and the hamster wheel feels exhausting. I wanted to share a recent SKCC favorite - this vegetable tagine. It’s a bit of chopping up front, but it simmers away in a just-spicy-enough broth and you ladle it over couscous which sort of blends in and thickens the whole thing if/when you stir it around. The garnishes are important, a little creaminess and crunch. The best part is, that it gets better on day two or three, when the vegetables really soak in the flavor from the broth so leftovers are welcome. Big pots of soup and stews seem to calm me. They speak of comfort and warmth and leftovers that get you out of making yet another meal.

Maybe you’re overwhelmed or lonely or worried or sad or doing super great this week but I just find this stew to be a recipe for all people of any sort of circumstance. Food is special - it connects and heals and nourishes and slow us down in a good way (hopefully), so I hope you take good care of yourself this week! xo.

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VEGETABLE TAGINE WITH APRICOT COUSCOUS

Serves 4-6

They sell harissa paste at Trader Joes, Whole Foods and larger grocers near the salsas or international foods section. While it will vary by brand, it is spicy, so if you are timid with that, start with one teaspoon and add from there. We use the TJ’s version and while 2 tsp. is definitely warm, it's not burn your face off warm.

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm the butter or ghee. Prepare all your vegetables and preheat the oven to 300’. Add the potato, onion, garlic, cauliflower and salt and sauté about 5-7 minutes until there are some brown marks on the edges and they just begin to soften. Stir in the bell pepper, zucchini, cumin, coriander, harissa, honey and tomatoes and all their juices. Stir and cook another minute. Add the can of chickpeas and broth and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and transfer it to the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until vegetables are tender. Let it cool a bit on the stove and then taste for seasonings. 

While the vegetables cook, prepare your couscous. 

Bring 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and the butter to a simmer. Add the couscous, stir, turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes to hydrate. The same can be done in a microwave, instructions are typically on the back of the box. Stir in the apricots and set aside. 

To serve, put a scoop of couscous in the bowl with a few ladles of the vegetable stew on top. Garnish generously with plain yogurt, lots of cilantro and some toasted nuts. 

Ingredients

FOR THE TANGINE

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or ghee
1 large sweet potato, 2” dice
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 small head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 tsp. sea salt
1 red or orange bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
2 zucchini, sliced in 1” half moons
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander 
2 tsp. Harissa paste*
2 Tbsp. honey
1 14.5 oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 qt. vegetable stock or broth

FOR THE COUSCOUS

1 cup couscous
1 Tbsp. butter or ghee
Handful of dried apricots, chopped small

FOR SERVING

1 bundle of cilantro, roughly chopped
plain yogurt
toasted pine nuts or almonds


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GARLIC CONFIT

I am forever and always a proponent of having sauces, dressings and condiments in the fridge to make something out of pantry staples or the end of the vegetable bin. I got into garlic confit after I had a surplus of garlic sometime last year and now I plan for it. It makes a delicious oil that can be used a number of ways. It’s delicious smashed into toast or some of the fragrant oil stirred into soup or a bowl of grains. I have a list going below of the ways I’ve made good use of it - it just makes quick, simple things taste like you spent more time than you really did. Garlic and olive oil are both great for immunity, so cooking aside, it’s legit health food during cold and flu season.

You start with a few heads of garlic and send them for a warm bath in some good olive oil in a low oven. I use the Rich and Robust olive oil from the new Destination Series from California Olive Ranch. You can read more about the Destination Series in that link above. We were able to taste the new blends and learn more about these forward thinking partnerships on our trip with them last month. The olive oil has an assertive and noticeable flavor which works great here. Seeing as I use this confit to flavor otherwise super basic dishes, the great tasting oil is noticeable here. The confit is mostly hands off time, just enjoy that incredible smell wafting through your house. You let the garlicky oil cool down then transfer it to jars so it’s easy to use. It will firm up in the fridge, as olive oil does, but just leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes for it to return to it’s liquid state. It will save for a few months and also gifts beautifully along side a jar of soup.

This post is made in partnership with California Olive Ranch. Thank you for supporting our partners so we can continue to create recipes here. All opinions are my own.

What do I do with it?

- Spread on crostini (before or after toasting)

- Smashed and stirred into a bowl of beans or grains

- Pasta or zucchini noodles

- Sautéed greens

- Flatbread topping

- Smashed into potatoes

- Cauliflower mash


ingredients

3-4 heads of garlic, peeled
Sprig of fresh thyme and/or rosemary
1 bay leaf
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1.5 cups California Olive Ranch Rich & Robust extra virgin olive oil

instructions

Preheat the oven to 325’.

Open and peel the garlic cloves and place them in a small, oven proof baking dish. Add the thyme, bay leaf, sprinkle of pepper flakes and then cover everything with the oil. Pop the dish in the oven for 45 minutes. It can be used immediately after this, or cool completely before transferring it into jars and storing it in the fridge.

Note: this is not salted, so when you add it to dishes or crostini, you will want to season it with salt to your taste.

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