This chickpea kale salad with blood oranges and pistachio nuts makes a delicious and healthy vegan lunch.
We all know that kale is good for you – but really how many of us actually enjoy eating it? Before I learnt how to prepare it properly I wasn’t keen. I had a few experiences when I chewed and chewed and chewed and couldn’t quite get it down. Most unpleasant.
There are a few things that you can do to make raw kale more palatable. The first of these is to use a citrus dressing. The citrus juice helps to break down the fibres in the leafy green vegetable and not only make it taste better but make it softer to eat. The longer you massage the dressing in to the leaves with your hands for the better the results.
It’s also important that you cut out the thick central stem as this is very woody and not particularly pleasant to eat. If you have whole kale leaves then fold the leaves in half and using a large sharp knife you can cut the stem right out. If your kale has been pre-chopped I prefer to pull the stem out by hand while I’m mixing the dressing in.
I’ve made a few different vegan kale salads over the years but this chickpea kale salad with blood oranges and pistachio nuts is one of my favourites. It’s perfectly seasonal for this time of year – winter here in the UK – when blood oranges are in season. I love how colourful this dish is with the bright green kale and the reds and oranges of the blood orange.
As I’m new to eating vegan I’m still learning how to keep my food bright and interesting – and I’ve found that adding different textures and tastes to my food helps. Crunchy savoury nuts alongside sweet soft blood oranges are a great match. The chickpeas are there to add substance and protein.
It’s also worth mentioning that I keep reading about how iron is absorbed better alongside vitamin C. Now I’m no nutritionist but presumably pairing oranges with kale should help this process along.
You can eat this salad alone but I prefer to eat it alongside other dishes.
Chickpea kale salad with blood orange and pistachio
- 150 g curly kale chopped and with the thick central stem removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 blood oranges
- 50 g pistachio nuts
- 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed
- Salt to taste
Make the dressing by mixing the olive oil with the juice of half an orange.
Pour the dressing over the kale and, using your hands, rub it into the leaves. The citrus will help to make the leaves softer.
De-segment the remaining two and a half blood oranges, removing as much of the pith and membrane as possible. Slice each segment in half.
Add the orange segments, pistachio nuts and chickpeas to the kale leaves and mix well (best done with your hands).
Serve immediately or keeps for several days in an airtight container in the fridge.
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