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Author Notes: If you’re underwhelmed or unsatisfied by your attempts at green salads, don’t throw in the towel on healthier habits. Salads don’t have to be all rabbit food. In fact, adding healthy whole grains, nuts or seeds and legumes to the mix will increase satiety (that feeling of, one, I’ve had enough and, two, it was downright tasty) and decrease the desire to graze after the meal. The fiber, healthy fats and proteins these ingredients bring to the table help improve digestion, stabilize blood sugar and nourish your muscles and mind. All of the nutrient-dense ingredients (kale, quinoa, chickpeas, etc) in this upgraded taco salad fit into those three categories of superfood add-ons. If you take it a step further and replace your tortilla strips or flour wrap with radicchio leaves, you’re kicking it up to a whole new level of good-for-you. The magenta hue of radicchio comes from a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pigment called anthocyanin. Anthocyanins are members of the same family of phytochemicals found in teas, honey, wines, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and cocoa–all of which have received a lot of well-deserved positive buzz from the health and nutrition field. The cherry on top–as well as the moderation factor–are a few coins of baked plantains. It’s amazing how a little something special can take a salad from boring to a monumental taste-bomb of deliciousness. —Amy
Raddichio-wrapped Quinoa Kale Taco Salad
- 1 head of radicchio
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 6 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup corn, raw or cooked
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
Spicy Avocado Dressing
- 1 avocado
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 jalapeno, de-stemmed and seeded
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. When it’s done, set it aside to cool.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the kale leaves in boiling water for 1 min, then remove from heat, drain and let cool.
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender, mixing until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, kale, chickpeas, corn, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, onion and fresh cilantro. Pour dressing on top, to taste, and toss until everything is well coated.
- Peel a few leaves of radicchio to line your bowl or layer your plate with. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of the salad into your bowl or onto your plate.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dinner That Makes a Good Lunch