I’m always in search of a killer salad. There is nothing sadder than a salad that is comprised of limp iceberg lettuce, and that weird mix of shredded cabbage and carrots that seems to be the restaurant norm these days. I never really understood why they did that. Just for the pop of color, and not for any real nutritional value at all. Sadddy McSadderton.
I decided to spice things up this time, and add carb-a-licious Hatch Polenta to my classic massaged kale base. You certainly won’t be hungry after this salad. It’s a substantial main, clocking in at 487 calories, and has a good balance of fat, carbs, and good ‘ol plant protein. Plus, kale is good for you. You won’t feel guilty after indulging in these crispy, golden, and slightly spiced polenta cubes. They’re like whole food croutons. Balance and moderation are key here.
The massaged kale base always starts with a large bowl of any kind of kale, whether it be curly, dinosaur, or red. I used the curly here because when you’re mixing in avocado, nutritional yeast, and hemp seeds, those curls help trap all the good bits. What you end up with is a good, even distribution of flavor.
Then we’ve got the crispy hatch polenta cubes, married with hatch spiced & roasted almonds to intensify all the hatch love going on. Tomatoes add juiciness, and we top with more avocado slices, because why the hell not! It looks pretty, and avocados are life.
Nutrition & Balance
This salad is great for losing weight, toning up, and working out, because you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything in the least. The fat of the avocado helps your bodies processes work smoothly. Kale is full of great nutrients and anti-oxidants too. Plus it’s a rough green that helps clean up that beautiful body of yours! The polenta is the guilty pleasure of the show, providing those delicious carbs we love so much. There’s just enough to satisfy, but not overwhelm the body.
Don’t Forget About Hatch Roastings!
While the hatch chile roasting season is coming to a close, there’s still time. Check out Melissa’s Produce’s schedule of hatch roastings to stock up on your fresh roasted hatch chiles, and while you’re at it pick up some of their hatch polenta and almonds too.
Hatch Polenta Kale Salad
Incredibly healthy kale marries with slightly spicy and crispy fried polenta to make the ultimate satisfying salad.
- 1 Log Hatch Chile Polenta
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil , extra virgin
- 1 Teaspoon Salt , divided
- 10 Ounces Curly Kale , stemmed and chopped, about one large bunch or two small bunches.
- ¼ Cup Nutritional Yeast
- ¼ Cup Hemp Seeds
- 2 Cups Avocado , or two whole, large avocados
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomato , halved
- ½ Cup Hatch Pepper Almonds
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Cut the Hatch Chile Polenta log into 8 equal disks, and place in the pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and let fry, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. The polenta can be sticky when cooked this way, so if you try to flip it before a solid, thick crust is formed, you'll have a hot mess.
While the polenta cooks, find the largest bowl you have, and add the kale, 1 cup cubed avocado, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and lemon juice. With you clean, washed hands, massage the kale while mashing the avocado with it. Continue to massage until the kale is a shade darker green. This means the kale is "bruised", which will make it easier to chew and digest. Add in the hemp seeds and nutritional yeast, and toss to combine.
Flip the polenta, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until you have a golden brown crust on both sides. Remove from the pan, and let drain on a paper towel.
Divide the kale mixture among 4 large bowls, along with the cherry tomatoes, and hatch pepper almonds. Cut the polenta into cubes and top each salad. Cut the remaining avocado into quarters, peel the skin, and slice, topping each salad with one quarter. Serve immediately, or portion into containers for salads during the week!