Monthly Archives: April 2018

Kale, Strawberry & Coconut Salad

ALERT! It’s strawberry season in San Diego. YES!!  Let the binging begin! What’s on my mind? Strawberry lemonade. Vegan Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry Zucchini Noodles with  Cashew Cream. Strawberry Guacamole Toast. Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream. Strawberries with Coconut Whipped Cream. Strawberry Chia Seed Jam … someone please stop me. I can talk STRAWBERRY all day long. 

It’s also tulip season in San Diego. Check out this beautiful picture from the Carlsbad Flower Fields, just a few minutes from my work.

Nothing says SPRING like tulips and strawberries. Don’t you think?

Today I am sharing one of my favorite Spring dishes, a colorful Kale, Strawberry & Coconut Salad. 

Gigantic Strawberry – it’s the size of my palm

How to make scrumptious kale salads

Recently, a friend of mine confessed that she didn’t like KALE. She knew that this could “jeopardize” our relationship so she started slowly “I am not a BIG fan of the texture…[insert cough]…i’s a little bitter and chewy”. Seriously? Do we know each other? Is that even possible? Can we till be friends after this? If you know me well, you know I am a self-proclaimed kale-lover ( hence my website’s name, sunshine and KALE). I even eat kale for dessert!  Check out this Chocolate Kale Chip Recipe by Jason Wrobel. It’s truly a treat!

If  you are reading this and you have a love-hate relationship with kale, let me help you. Here are few tips to prepare the PERFECT kale salad:

First, kale has to be de-stemmed and the leaves have to chopped finely (if using the Dino variety) or tear apart (if using curl kale). You can add the stems to your smoothies. They contain added minerals and chlorophyll but they have a really bitter taste. 

Second, you need to massage the kale leaves – WITH YOUR HANDS – break them down, add a little bit of salt and lemon. I know it sounds counterintuitive but the salt will neutralize the bitterness while the lemon will tenderize the leaves and add flavor. 

Third, I suggest you experiment with different types of kale. For salads, I personally prefer Lacinato / Dinosaur Kale over Curly Kale.  Lacinato is darker in color, stronger in flavor but softer in texture. Curly Kale is lighter, milder but sturdier.

Follow these three easy steps and I can guarantee that you will become a kale convert. Do you want to take it up a noch? Try the following recipe. It has strawberries, almonds and coconut.   Long Live The Kale and S-T-R-A-W-B-E-R-R-I-E-S!! 


Kale, Strawberry and Coconut Salad
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For the dressing
  1. 3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 1 Tablespoon coconut vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  4. 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup ( or alternative sweetener)
  5. Salt and black pepper to taste
For the salad
  1. 2 large bunches Lacinato kale, de-stemmed and finely shredded
  2. 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  4. 1/2 cup organic slivered almonds
  1. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl and pour half of the dressing over.
  3. Massage the kale for 2-3 minute, until the leaves soften.
  4. Add strawberries, almonds, coconut and the remaining dressing.
  5. Toss to combine. Add more sweetener if needed.
Sunshine & Kale

Vegan Broccoli Apple Salad

This Vegan Broccoli Apple Salad is hard to resist. It’s fresh, crunchy and flavorful. It’s a healthier alternative to the traditional Broccoli Salad, often prepared with dairy, granulated white sugar and meat.

This is a quick and simple recipe to prepare using ingredients that you probably have on hand. It’s the perfect dish to take to a potluck, BBQ or to make for a casual dinner party, since it doesn’t get soggy.  

Benefits of Broccoli

It is a very good source of dietary fiberpantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, choline, vitamin B1, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), potassium and copper. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin B1, magnesium,omega-3 fatty acidsprotein, zinc, calcium, iron, niacin and selenium. *

Vegan Broccoli Apple Salad
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  1. 2 medium broccoli heads ( florets only)
  2. 1 medium Granny Smith apple, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup raisins
  4. 1/2 cup almonds, slivered
  1. 1/2 cup of vegan mayo
  2. 4 pitted Medjool dates
  3. 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  4. a pinch of smoked paprika
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut the broccoli heads into small bite-sized florets. Save the broccoli stalk for another dish (a nice soup or smoothie).
  2. Blanch the broccoli - Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the broccoli florets. Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli ( see notes). Transfer the broccoli to an ice bath ( large pot of water with some ice cubes). After 2 minutes, drain it well. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, apple, raisins and almonds.
  4. In a high speed blender, add all the dressing ingredients and process for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to mix well.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  1. If you blanch the broccoli for one minute, it will turn bright green and crunchy. Two minutes will cook the vegetable through but still firm. More than two minutes, the broccoli will get mushy. I would suggest setting up a timer.
Sunshine & Kale
Resource: The World’s Healthiest Foods

 Israeli couscous with Cranberries, Pecans and Mandarin Vinaigrette

Israeli couscous also known as Jerusalem couscous are small balls of toasted semolina. They were developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.  In Israel, they were originally called “Ben-Gurion rice”, named after Israel’s first prime minister David Ben Gurion, though it is mainly called “ptitim” nowadays. It is Pearl-shaped and is identical to the Levantine and North African pearled couscous, known as maftoul or moghrabieh in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and North Africa*
Israeli couscous can be used in many type of dishes, served both hot and cold. The grains retain their shape and texture even when reheated. It’s commonly enjoyed by kids with sautéed onions and tomato paste. It can also be used in soups, risottos and even served in a pie. 
Today, I am sharing my favorite recipe using this ingredient. This Israeli Couscous with Cranberries, Pecans and Mandarin Vinaigrette offers a beautiful explosion of colors, flavors and textures. It’s bright, sweet and tangy. 
This recipe was adapted from Whole Foods Market. Enjoy it!
Israeli Couscous with Cranberries, Pecans and Mandarin Vinaigrette
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  1. 2 cups Israeli couscous, uncooked
  2. 1 cup dried cranberries
  3. 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  4. 1 bunch of lacinato kale, destemmed and finely chiffonaded
  5. 2 scallions, minced
  1. 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  2. 1 1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar
  3. 4 mandarins ( zest and juice)
  4. 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  5. 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
  6. 1⁄2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring a medium to large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the couscous. Cook just like pasta. 8-10 minutes or when it's al dente. Drain but do not rinse. Set aside and let it cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Israeli couscous, cranberries, pecans, lacinato kale and scallions. Pour the well-whisked dressing over it and toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours to blend the flavors.
Adapted from Whole Food Market - Epicurious
Sunshine & Kale