2017 has arrived and with it some big goals for my little family. I’d love to do better with food. I won’t label it “clean eating” as I find that term of phrase silly and totally hurtful towards anyone eating in any other fashion. What I’d like to do better with is eat less processed foods, have less wasteful packaging in the house, less sugar for my kids, and more fresh, nutritionally dense food. Since we’re a salad family I thought starting our new year with a salad would be totally fitting and a Kale Caesar Salad with Toasted Wheat Berries was created to ease our way into more fresh food.
Now, you all probably think I’ve gone totally crazy trying to serve 3 kids a kale salad. Stay with me here. With vegetables it’s often not what they are, or how they taste, but how they are cut and presented for kids to not even like them, but at least try them (and I mean taking a full bite, chewing it, and swallowing … and yes, that’s what I make my kids do with ALL food at the dinner table. Harsh, but effective). When lettuce or any other vegetable is cut down to size appropriate for a baby and 2 toddlers, coated in delicious (healthy) salad dressing, then kids will gobble it up.
I used Black Kale in this recipe as I find it’s easier to cut down to the size I need quickly. You can see in the photos that the kale was shredded quite small – it’s about 1/4″ wide and 1-2″ long. I wanted Baby L to be able to have some too. I really had to pay attention while I was cutting the kale to keep it down to size. My knife skills are not the greatest so I have to stay on top of keeping the pieces small enough.
I toasted Wheat Berries for this recipe (quickly heating them in a dry pan before cooking). The photos will be used on Instagram for a fantastic giveaway with Eat Grain! If you haven’t tried Eat Grain’s whole grains and legumes, I strongly encourage you to enter the giveaway – their grains cook perfectly overtime and are non-GMO Canadian grown. Whole grains like wheat berries are great foods for little ones; they’re an excellent source of plant-based protein, fibre, and B vitamins.
The dressing is egg-free as I don’t have a reliable way of knowing if my eggs are at their freshest. In Canada, eggs we buy from the grocery store are generally very fresh, that being said, I don’t think I would feed it to my baby without knowing for certain that it’s okay so I went with an egg-less dressing. The dressing uses anchovy paste which is widely available at most supermarkets now. The anchovy paste adds the salty/tangy aspects of caesar salad dressing we’ve all come to expect.
- 1 large bunch of kale tough stems removed (fold kale leaf in half and cut out the middle stem section) and very thinly sliced to 1/4" wide
- 1/2 cup dry wheat berries or other whole grain such as quinoa, farro, or spelt cooked per package instructions
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp anchovy paste to taste
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- black pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp milk
Place wheat berries in a large dry sauce pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes, until wheat berries becomes fragrant and start to brown (do not allow to burn). Add 2 cups of cold water (may sputter a bit) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a strong simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes until wheat berries are plump and cooked (may or may not require draining). Fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together or place in a small mason jar and shake with lid firmly tightened until all ingredients are well blended.
Toss kale with caesar dressing and top with cooked wheat berries.
Dressing adapted from Gimme Some Oven.