This Kale and Cranberry Salad contains both fresh and dried cranberries for double the antioxidants and a festive holiday flair. If you’re late to the kale salad party or think you don’t like kale salad this Kale and Cranberry Salad with a fresh citrusy sweet dressing just may help you change your mind.
Massaging the kale
The trick to kale salad is the massaging. Just like a massage helps to loosen knots and relax muscles in our bodies, massaging kale helps to soften the tough fibers and make the leaves more tender and easier to chew and digest. The acid in lemon juice helps to break down the cellulose in kale and make it softer. If you choose to use baby kale massaging is not necessary because it is already tender.
It seems that people are expressing feelings of stress and anxiety more and more these days. When you think of stress chances are you don’t also think of reducing your stress with a salad, but in fact this salad is loaded with stress and anxiety reducing nutrients. Leafy greens, berries, nuts and seeds are key foods to support mental health and reduce the symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
How can kale improve mental health?
- contains antioxidants which are important in reducing inflammation, as well as selenium and zinc, which are associated with reducing symptoms of depression.
- full of mood-boosting B-vitamins, including B6. Low levels of vitamin B6 have been associated with depression, because B6 is needed for tryptophan-serotonin conversion.
- is an excellent source of manganese. Manganese intake is inversely associated with depression and anxiety symptoms.
How can cranberries improve mental health?
- have more disease fighting antioxidants than almost all other fruits and vegetables
- Rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, which help to reduce brain inflammation that leads to depression.
- are high in polyphenols which may promote cognitive function
How can apples improve mental health?
- Contains quercetin, which can help reduce inflammatory and oxidative stress in the brain and protects against stress related anxiety and depression
- Contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
How can pumpkin seeds improve mental health?
- Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Magnesium has been found to be highly associated with stress levels and zinc has been shown to be effective in the management of depression.
- One of the best sources of plant-based omega-3s. which are needed for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter Serotonin and have been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression
- A good source of tryptophan, an important precursor to the mood hormone, serotonin.
How can walnuts improve mental health?
- One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have preventative benefits on anxiety and mood disorders
- Melatonin, which is important for sleep regulation and circadian cycles, has been found naturally occurring in walnuts.
Once you’ve tasted this kale salad and realized that you actually do like kale after all and want more, you may want to also try:
- Kale Salad with Roasted Beets, Fennel and Red Onion
- Baby Kale Salad with Pistachios and Dried Apricots
- Lentil, Squash and Kale Salad with Thyme, Cranberry and White Balsamic Dressing
Kale and Cranberry Salad
- 1 bunch kale stems removed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup fresh cranberries cut in half
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ apple chopped
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or orange juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Pinch of sea salt
- Wash kale. Remove stems. Tear kale into smaller pieces and place in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Massage kale for 2-3 minutes to break down fibers and soften the kale. Add cranberries, apple, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
- Add dressing ingredients to a glass jar. Cover jar and shake to combine and emulsify the dressing. Alternately use a whisk to combine all ingredients.
- Pour dressing over salad and toss.
- Leftovers can be enjoyed the next day.