I’ll be honest and tell you that I have been waiting to post this salad recipe for exactly four months. Not all that long if you consider the fact that my friend Rebecca Miller Ffrench was able to put on the finishing touches and have published her fabulous new cookbook, Whole Protein Vegetarian, in that amount of time.
In the final stage of her gargantuan project Rebecca called on fellow foodies to test recipes and provide detailed feedback. I was honored to be among those who participated and thrilled when this Kale, Roasted Beet and Edamame recipe came my way.
But before I get into the recipe, let me talk about Whole Protein Vegetarian. This cookbook would be appreciated if not only for the gorgeous food styling and photography–it can easily compete with any coffee table book on your ottoman; and for its unique recipes, breakfast through sweets, which combine favorite ingredients with the more exotic. But possibly the most invaluable aspect of Whole Protein Vegetarian (if I was forced to choose just one) is the detailed explanation of protein intake from a plant-based vs. animal-based diet.
The quick synopsis is that while most meats are likely to be compete proteins (meaning that they contain all of the nine essential amino acids), grains, beans, leafy greens, and nuts must be combined to get all of the complimentary proteins needed over the course of a day. Before I lose you here, as I am no nutritionist or expert in this field, I will just say that by eating food that appeals to your senses–visually vibrant, fragrant, texturally interesting, and delicious–you’re likely heading in the right direction. The book’s introduction walks you through the science, outlines the recommended pantry staples, explains basic cooking techniques, and shares the protein value of some specific grains, nuts, dairy, vegetables and eggs. After this crash course in whole protein nutrition, you’ll be eager to cook your way through the entirety of the book. Rebecca’s recipes guarantee that even the carnivores among you are being properly fueled and supremely satisfied.
So now back to the Kale, Roasted Beet and Edamame Salad which is the perfect starting point because by now kale is a common household staple and most of us eat it not only because we know it’s good for us but because we’ve grown to love it. Bear with me those who are still working on this. I think that the combination of ingredients–robust kale, sweet beets, silky edamame and salted pistachios–work well to keep each bite interesting, while the dressing–a balance between tart and sweet–makes this salad a winner. As Rebecca explains, the protein in this recipe isn’t off the charts but still respectable while delivering a tremendous amount of vitamins A, C and K (okay, full disclosure, I didn’t even know that there was a vitamin K).
Just make this salad because is tastes delicious and we all need to heavy up on the salads as we lighten up on our jackets (it has to warm up eventually, right?). And for more delicious plant-based recipes with essential amino acids, check out Rebecca Miller French’s, Whole Protein Vegetarian.
- 3 beets, washed, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 medium bunch curly kale, rinsed, dried and stemmed
- 1 c shelled edamame, steamed
- 4 scallions, white part only, chopped
- 1 c shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbls balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbls tamari
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1 Tbls minced shallot
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Spread the diced beets evenly on a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the beets with the olive oil and salt, toss well, and spread out again evenly on the pan.
- Place in the preheated oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing once if necessary.
- When the beets are tender, remove from the oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small jar with a lid and shake until combined. Set aside.
- To assemble the salad, cut the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Pour about 3/4 of the dressing on the leaves and start to massage them, rubbing them together. After a few minutes, you will feel the leaves soften and even notice that they're a brighter green.
- When you've gotten to this point, add the roasted beet, edamame, scallion and pistachios.
- Add the rest of the salad dressing and toss.
- Season with more salt and pepper if needed.