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We all have good intentions when it comes to eating healthy, don’t we?  We buy the vegetables and leafy greens but then sometimes they just sit in the fridge staring at us as they slowly rot, simply  because we just can’t find the time to prepare them.

Lunch for me most days is pretty hectic – I am usually getting home from some sort of morning activity, trying to feed a hungry toddler ,  dealing with any phone calls or emails that I missed from the morning and still tidying up from breakfast.  I’m also typically starving.  So once I have Tyson settled with lunch, I just want something in my belly as quickly as possible.

In order to avoid resorting to rice cakes and almond butter for lunch (which I have done on more than one occasion!), I try to have vegetables – and more importantly leafy greens – prepared ahead of time to make it easier to grab a nutrient-filled lunch to keep me satisfied and fuelled for the rest of the day.

This technique for preparing kale was introduced to me by my friend Meghan from Nutrition School.  She did a presentation on a kale salad that she makes every day for work, and the idea behind it is brilliant.  It is Real Food for Real Moms at it’s best.

I will be talking about this in my next post (which is a spotlight on kale), but massaging kale really helps to soften it and make it less bitter.  The amazing thing here is that you can actually dress and massage the kale on a Sunday and it will be delicious for the rest of the week.  I’m serious – kale holds up and resists wilting for quite a long time, despite being covered in oil (unlike most greens which would be soggy within an hour).

This overnight kale salad base is a great starter for a big, bad, nutrient dense –  and most importantly quick – lunch salad.

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Overnight Kale Salad 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: N/A

Ingredients

1 bunch of kale
1/2 cup of olive oil
juice from 1-2 lemons*
sea salt to taste (do not skip this – it really brings the salad together)
optional: diced shallots or a dash of maple syrup (both delicious!)

Directions

1. Wash and trim your kale.  Rip into salad sized pieces.
2.  Prepare dressing: mix olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt (and shallots/maple syrup if you are using them) in a jar with a tightly sealed lid and shake until well mixed.
3.  Put kale into a ziplock bag and pour dressing over top.
4.  Get your hands in there and massage the dressing into the kale.
5.  Close bag and store in fridge until ready to use.

*I recommend using real lemons as opposed to the lemon juice you can buy in a bottle.

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I usually make a big bag of Overnight Kale Salad on Sundays and use it as a base for my salads throughout the week.  I say base because I always add a whole bunch of other ingredients on top to make it a complete meal.  Whatever leftovers are in my fridge go on top of the salad.  It is so delicious and I always look forward to lunch when I have some of this in the fridge.

Here are the add-ins on my delicious salad from yesterday:

  • A handful of mixed salad greens
  • sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 an avocado  (this goes SO well with this salad)
  • Shredded beets and carrots leftover from a recipe earlier in the week
  • Green olives
  • Diced cucumber
  • Diced tomato

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Some other great options for add-ins:

  • Any nuts and seeds that you have on hand
  • Beans or chickpeas (or how about some roasted chickpeas?)
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Leftover chicken, pork or beef
  • Leftover quinoa or rice
  • Chopped tomato, mushrooms, peppers etc.
  • Fruit – apples, grapes, or pears would be great
  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Tofu cubes
  • Feta or goat cheese
  • Sun dried tomatoes (SO good)
  • Etc.

I hope you give the Overnight Kale Salad a try.  You’ll be amazed how great you feel in the afternoon after eating a big heaping bowl of superstar greens for lunch.

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