Recipe: Southwest Kale & Mixed Greens Salad

"When I was pregnant, I just craved kale," said no pregnant person ever. Let's be real. We may know in our heads that eating more vegetables and dark green leafies is good for us, but that's not always what our appetite is hankering for, pregnant or not.

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pregnant women are recommended to focus on intake of several key vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy and baby, including folate, calcium, iron, healthy fat, and protein, along with a variety of other vitamins such as vitamin C, D, and K. Dark green leafy vegetables are jam packed with several of these nutrients, including folate, calcium (in the case of kale in particular), and variety of vitamins.

All that said, if you are pregnant, you may be looking for some easy and deceptively delicious ways to increase your veggie intake, this Southwest Kale Salad is the way to go. Throwing in the avocado is a great way to boost your healthy fat intake, and the crunchy, salty chips mixed with the cheese will leave you AND your tastebuds satisfied. 

So, go ahead and stock up this week on the veggies, including all the kale, at the 2nd Street Market in Dayton or Findlay's Market in Cincinnati (or wherever your local farmer's market lives!). I can guarantee this is one recipe you will still be reaching for, long after your new baby is born! 

Ingredients: 

3T milk

1T apple cider vinegar

2 limes, juiced

1 avocado

3T fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4t ground cumin

1/4t smokedpaprika 

pinch of salt & pepper

1 head green kale, leaves removed from stems and chopped

1 head red kale, leaves removed from stems and chopped

2T olive oil

3c baby greens mix

1c grape tomatoes, halved

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2-1c grated cheddar or Mexican cheese

1 avocado, sliced

3T additional fresh cilantro, chopped

Tortilla chips

For a little bit of a protein boost, add some cooked chopped chicken when serving. If you are looking for even more ways to use your farmer's market bounty, you can add cooked corn removed from the cob, peppers, or chopped cucumber to the finished product as well!

Directions: 

In a food processor or blender, combine the milk vinegar, lime juice, avocado, and 3T of the cilantro until smooth. Set dressing aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve. In a large salad bowl, mix the red and green kale with the olive oil, rubbing the oil into the kale until it is softened. Mix the baby greens with the kale. Top with grape tomatoes, black beans, and red onion. Divide immediately into bowls to serve, or refrigerate for up to 3 days. When you are ready to serve, top individual servings with the cheese, avocado, additional cilantro, and the dressing. Serve with tortilla chips.

Serves 4