Macrobiotic Kale and 'Sweet Potato Pasta' Salad
If I had to choose one thing to change about my eating habits it would be to eat more actual meals and graze less throughout the day on whatever I find in my fridge or pantry that's 'easy' and requires little thought or energy to consume. Even if what I’m putting in my mouth seems healthy enough or is actually good for me, a habit like this often means that my body is likely not getting all of the nutrients it needs for it to be in it's healthiest, strongest, most optimal state.
So for the month of August, I’m setting an intention for myself to be more mindful when it comes to eating. Specifically, to embrace more variety in my diet every day and prepare proper meals for myself that include a healthy balance of all the major macro nutrients - protein, fat and carbohydrates.
To avoid falling back into old habits, I’ve thought a lot about embracing some new ones to help keep me on track. Preparing my favorite pseudo grains and starchy vegetables, like millet and sweet potatoes, for the week ahead; keeping ‘on the go’ items like energy bars or pre-made protein drinks out of the house; planning meals in advance (like overnight chia pudding and double or triple servings of meals that I can eat the following day) to make sure I set myself up for a good day or week, are just a few small things I can do to make staying the course much easier.
To kick things off, I’m sharing a recipe for a kale and ‘sweet potato pasta’ salad that is a nutrition powerhouse of a meal, filled with nourishing ingredients (including a couple of superfoods) and is way too easy to make. Keep in mind that the proportions for each ingredient are quite large on purpose; you can either use it to yield several servings for one meal (i.e. for your family or to entertain), or you can prepare a large batch to enjoy at 2-4 meals throughout the week - like I did!
Macro Kale and 'Sweet Potato Pasta' Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 10-15 minutes| Yields: 2-4 servings
- 1 large or 2 small to medium size sweet potatoes, spiralized
- 1 bunch of lacinato kale, de-stemmed and chopped or shredded
- 3 large basil leaves, chopped
- 1 cup of walnuts
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds
- zest of one lemon
- 1/4 tsp pink salt (optional)
- 1/3 of a package of grain-free tempeh, ground
- 1 garlic clover, finely chopped
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp pink salt
- avocado oil (for coating pans and massaging kale - I use this avocado spray oil by chosen foods for both)*
Preparing the Superfood Parmesan
- blend walnuts, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds and lemon zest in a food processor until ingredients are well combined and the mixture is fine and crumbly.
- set aside; if you’re preparing this for a single individual, use approximately 1/4 of the batch for a single meal and store the remaining amount in an airtight container in your refrigerator, to prepare the same dish throughout the week.
Preparing the Ground Tempeh
- use your hands to break up the tempeh so that it’s crumbly.
- coat a small pan with avocado oil, add tempeh, garlic and oregano; pan fry for 5-10 minutes on a low to medium heat (until tempeh is lightly browned).
- set aside; if you’re preparing this for a single individual, you may wish to use about 1/2 to 1/3 of the ground tempeh for a single serving and store the remaining amount in an airtight container in your refrigerator, to prepare the same dish throughout the week.
Preparing the Sweet Potato
- coat a small pan with avocado oil, add a sweet potato; pan fry for 5 minutes on a low to medium heat (until tempeh is lightly browned).
- set aside; if you’re preparing this for a single individual, use only a handful of sweet potato spirals at a time and store raw spirals in the fridge, which will stay fresh longer than cooked spirals.
Preparing the Kale and Basil
- lightly coat the kale and basil with avocado oil and massage until all leaves appear soft and shiny.
- set aside; if you’re preparing this for a single individual, use 1-2 cups of kale for a single meal and store the shredded dry kale and basil in the fridge
Once you’ve prepared the parmesan, ground tempeh, lightly cooked sweet potato and massaged kale and basil, add all ingredients to one large bowl and use tongs or salad servers to mix well.
*Unlike most spray oils, Chosen Foods does not use chemicals, emulsifiers or propellants in any of their oil sprays. They are pure enough to spray directly on your food, and can be used for coating coating vegetables, dressing salads and for cooking. You may verify these claims on their website (www.chosenfoods.com).
If using any other brand of oil sprays, I would encourage you to verify whether or not it is safe to spray food directly with the brand before doing so .