I am a big fan of picking one thing and doing it really well.
When it comes to food, I really admire the people who decide to say .... I am going to be THE BEST at ... blank. I am going to be THE BEST falafel maker. I am going to be THE BEST burrito maker. I am going to be THE BEST vegan cupcake maker.
I have always had a pipe dream of owning a small shop where I serve up my very best of something ....... and right now if I could tell you would that something would be, it would be pie or salads. But most likely salads. YEP salads.
Maybe that sounds like the most boring food on the planet to master, but hear me out. I take my salad making skillzz very seriously. VERY SERIOUSLY. I know we've discussed this before .... I make a lot of salads, and I put a lot of craft and love into each salad I make. I always make my dressing, I always use the best organic local seasonal ingredients, I always look for the perfect balance in flavors and nutrients. I'm always trying to come up with crazy combinations that I have never had before. I never use meat and I never use cheese, and I never miss either.
I have yet to find a place that crafts a salad quite as well as I do at home. I am sure that you feel the same way about whatever it is that is your favorite thing to make at home (and I bet you your favorite thing to make is way cooler than my salad).
Maybe ... just maybe .... someday I will have a little place where you can come and sit down and enjoy one of my salads. It's still a pipe dream, but more and more I would like to make that a reality. We will see my friends.
Until then, I will share my salads with you, here. And if you lived close enough, I would invite you over for lunch so I could craft a salad special just for you. But since you probably do not, hopefully you will make one of my salads for someone else, and make it with as much love as I would make it for you.
spicy chickpea + crispy kale salad with marinated carrots
SERVES 2-4 as main or side
for the chili garlic marinated carrots:
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 red chili, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 large carrots, peeled lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
for the crispy kale:
1 bunch of kale (about 20 leaves), stems removed and cut into 1/4s
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
salt + pepper
for the spicy chickpeas:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cans of organic (low or no sodium) chickpeas, drained
Marinate the carrots:
- Start my making the garlic chili dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary.
- Then, place the shaved carrot ribbons in a shallow bowl and spoon 1/2 of the garlic chili dressing over the carrots and massage it into them with your hands. Set aside while you prepare everything else.
Then, make the crispy kale:
- Pre-heat the oven to 250º
- Place the kale onto 1-2 large baking sheets, and very lightly brush the kale with the sunflower oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake the kale for about 20-30 minutes, until it is crispy and browning (but careful to watch it so it does not burn). Remove and set aside until you're ready to assemble.
Lastly, prepare the crispy chickpeas:
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Then, add the spices: cumin, chili flakes, paprika, fennel, salt, and pepper and heat while stirring for a minute. Then add in the chickpeas, stir to coat with the spices, and cook for several minutes, until they are warm and crispy.
Assemble the salad:
- Line the crispy kale on the bottom of a large serving plate. Then top with the chickpeas, and marinated carrots. Finish by drizzling the rest of the dressing over top, and serve immediately.