A friend of mine is sick. I’m talking knocked-on-your-butt kind of sick for a long time. And the worst part of this illness is that she has completely lost her appetite for food. It is difficult for me to imagine losing the desire to eat tasty food.
During these tough months, a great network of friends, family and neighbors have come together to take care of our friend by providing meals for the family. Even if she is not able to fully enjoy the meals, it is our hope that her husband and son will have the nourishment that will help them keep well through this difficult time.
This past week was my turn to provide a meal. For the main dish I made a good ol’ comfort food casserole that would hopefully sit well with her. For dessert I made Baked Peaches with Cheesecake Filling.
But for the side, I wanted to make a super healthy, get-you-back-on-yer-feet type of dish: Lemony Kale Salad with Homemade Herb Croutons. Kale and tomatoes are currently in season and are plentiful at the local farmers markets. The bread for the homemade croutons was from Companion, a local St. Louis bakery. Making quick croutons is a perfect way to use up day-old bread and adding fresh herbs adds flavor and a nutritional boost.
This is a delicious and super healthy salad. Kale, walnuts, tomatoes and lemons are all rock star powerhouse foods. Kale- loaded with fiber, vitamins K, C, A and B6, calcium, magnesium, and known to help prevent loads of chronic diseases. Walnuts- contain lots of omega-3 fats and vitamin E; Tomatoes- loaded with lycopene that might help protect against some cancers; Lemons- contain limonoids which are strong antioxidants that might help some cancers.
The combination of Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and olive oil as the dressing added a creamy consistency. If you are not sure about kale, this is a salad to try. If you are sure about kale (as in you do not like it) that’s ok…most dark leafy greens would work well too.
I sure hope my friend and her family enjoyed the meal and she finds the joy in eating again very soon!
Lemony Kale Salad (adapted from BHG) and Homemade Herb Croutons
1 bunch kale, any type (Theis Farms, a local St. Louis farm)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (Hamra Farms in Sikeston, Missouri)
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
juice of 3 fresh lemons, preferably with some pulp added
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1. rinse and dry kale, stack leaves and cut into thin strips
2. in a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, toss well, top with homemade croutons:
Homemade Herby Croutons
Cut 4 cups bread cut into 1 inch cubes; toss with 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme, and 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, stirring once, until crunchy.