Happy New Year! Many people use the new year as a blank page for a fresh start. One resolution most people have is to eat healthier. Pregnancy is a great time to change many bad eating habits and develop new ones- and healthy eating does not have to be difficult. It just takes some time to plan and to make different choices. As I have said repeatedly throughout this site, the recipes here are perfect for the entire family to share and can be used even if you’re not pregnant! I’m grateful for the people of all ages who follow me and share their experiences and questions. Many of you have shared that you’re using 2022 to jump start your goal toward eating more healthier foods and snacks–and you’re turning to salads as an alternative to a typical lunch or dinner.
The one problem with salads is that they can be so boring. Lettuce is basically tasteless and the typical garden vegetables that go into a salad are equally as lackluster. The solution then is to pour lots of bottled salad dressing over the vegetables to give them some taste and make the salad more palatable. The problem with bottled salad dressings is that most are high in fat, sugars, or other ingredients that take away all the healthy benefits of eating a salad in the first place. Whether you’re using a salad as a healthier option or as a low calorie choice, gobs of salad dressing just don’t add up.
Salads don’t have to be boring. In fact, they can be full of color, texture, and yes, flavor. This salad is packed with protein (about 17 grams), fiber and necessary vitamins. The ingredients are simple for both the salad and the dressing. It starts with a bed of fresh kale (as most of my salad recommendations do). The salad is topped with roasted chick peas (or garbanzo beans) for protein and texture. In the past, I posted a recipe for different kinds of roasted chick peas that would be great in this salad or use this version with Indian spices that give them great smoky flavors and colors. The Greek yogurt in the dressing adds extra protein and creaminess. Don’t like mayonnaise? Add more Greek yogurt. Don’t like lemon? Swap out orange or even lime. Don’t like Indian spice? Use garlic, salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, Chinese 5 Spice powder or even Italian seasonings. The possibilities are endless!
Make eating healthy a goal not only for pregnancy but also for your family and the new year. I’m dedicating 2022 to easier, simpler recipes that I’m excited to share with all of you in the coming weeks. Don’t forget: 2022 is the year the cookbook version of “Prenatal Possibilities” arrives…
KALE and CHICKPEA SALAD
(Serves 2 to 4)
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala (or 1 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and garlic powder)
4-6 cups loosely chopped kale
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon (or orange or lime)
1) Make the chickpeas
-Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil
-Add the extra virgin olive oil and seasoning to the chickpeas; stir to combine
-Roast the chickpeas for 10-15 minutes, stirring once during roasting.
-Remove from oven and allow to cool.
2) Make the dressing:
-Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a bowl. Season to taste
3) Build the salad: Add 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing to the kale and toss to combine. Divide the kale into salad bowls or onto dishes. Top with 1-2 spoonfuls of the chickpeas.
Photo credit: Deryn Macey at Unsplash