Game of Thrones Kale Salad

Bacon. Roasted tomatoes. Bacon. Fried shallots. Bacon. Tyrion Lannister. Pine nuts. Bacon. Dragons. Avocado. These are the makings of a great night and a great salad. This was a special for the Game of Thrones premier dinner that we throw each year at our house. This year the boys (thanks, Kyle and Simon) decided to grill tomahawk steaks, which are, no joke, the size of my face. So my salad had to stand up to these big beasts. Enter bacon, stage right.

There is just about nothing healthy about this salad, but it’s delicious and perfect for Game of Thrones viewings, summer picnics, impressing your kale-hating friends, justifying bacon in your “diet”, and reminding yourself that the best things in life include bacon.

img_8008


Oh, hey look there’s kale in my bacon salad

Game of Thrones Kale Salad

Ingredients

1 lb – 2 lbs bacon (depends on how crazy you want to get)
1.5 lbs cherry tomatoes
1tbs olive oil + 1/4c olive oil
1 large 10oz bag kale (I prefer Tuscan kale)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2c vegetable or canola oil
2 shallots, sliced long-ways
2 large avocados
1/3c pine nuts
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bacon on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake until crispy, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once crispy, place on a towel-lined plate, being careful to make layers of paper towel and bacon so the bacon does not turn soggy.

While the bacon is cooking, mix together tomatoes with 1tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place on a foil lined sheet and bake in the same oven as the bacon until the tomatoes “crack”, about 20 minutes.

Wash kale and place in a bowl with lemon juice and a pinch of salt & pepper. Massage kale until it softens, about 3 minutes. Dress with 1/4c olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

In a medium pan, heat the vegetable or canola oil on medium high. When very hot, add shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until the shallots become a dark crispy brown, about 20 minutes. Be careful to keep shallots spread out on the pan or they will begin to stick together. If the shallots are cooking to quickly or beginning to burn, turn town the heat. Once dark brown, place on a large, paper towel-lined plate, being careful to spread the shallots so they do not stick together.

The bacon, tomatoes, and shallots should be allowed to cool. Once cool, cut the bacon into bite sized pieces.

Cut avocado into bite sized pieces.

Assemble the salad as follows:
Dressed kale
Roasted tomatoes
Avocado
Bacon
Fried shallots
Pine nuts

Serve to your very hungry friends as you all watch Game of Thrones together, raving about Daenarys, Arya, the dragons, and just how good this salad is (but not how good this salad is for you).

Shrimp and Zucchini “Zoodles” with Hummus Sauce

Shrimp and Zucchini “Zoodles” with Hummus Sauce

Zoodles! Time to get on the Spiralizer train – this zoodle recipe is HOT. And oh so incredibly easy! Don’t own a Spiralizer yet? Get this one on Amazon. It’s on Prime. It gets to your door in 2 days. It’ll probably get there before you get your ingredients from Safeway. It’s probably on your doorstop right now. So go ahead and order your Spiralizer now. I’ll wait.

Got it? Great. Now let’s talk about what this thing does. The Spiralizer slices veggies in a spiral shape, which makes those thinly sliced veggies ideal for salads, noodle substitutes, and curly veggie fries. While the Spiralizer has many uses, I mostly use it to make Zoodles. They are “noodles” made of spiraled zucchini that can be used as a spaghetti noodle substitute. They’re ideal as a substitute for gluten-free, guilt-free and paleo-friendly recipes. And they’re shockingly delicious. So let’s get to Spiralizing!

Shrimp and Zucchini “Zoodles” with Hummus Sauce

img_6947

Simple ingredients for a healthy meal (and wine for anti-anxiety)

This recipe uses a Spiralizer to make “Zoodles” and hummus to make a quick “sauce” in a recipe I call “delicious” (air quotes not necessary).

First, a few things I’ve learned about cooking Noodles:

  1. While you can boil these noodles in water for about 1-2 minutes, I’ve found better results from cooking them for about 3-4 minutes in a pan with the sauce
  2. They put off quite a bit of water when you sauté them, so use them with more concentrated sauces
  3.  Zoodles cook down quite a bit, so whatever looks like a lot of zoodles, double it. Each regular sized zucchini will yield the right amount of cooked zoodles for two people
  4. They are also great uncooked in salads, so I will spiralize more than I need, cook what I want, and save the rest for tomorrow’s salad
  5. If you want to spiralize hard veggies like sweet potatoes, don’t believe the online claims from the Spiralizer (or competitor brands). They just can’t do it without breaking your arm or the Spiralizer trying to get through those hard veggies. Instead, get this attachment for your KitchenAid to do hard veggies

Ingredients
1/3c pine nuts
3 sprigs parsley, leaves chopped coarsely (discard stems)
6 jumbo shrimp, peeled (I get mine from The Sea 2 U at our farmer’s market)
1/3c your favorite hummus or spread (I use Hummus Heaven Garlic Cayanne Pepper Hummus)
1tbs + 1 tsp olive oil
1tbs water
1 large zuchinni

img_6944

Shrimp from The Sea 2 U

Directions
To toast the pine nuts, heat a non-stick pan on medium high (do not add oils) and add nuts. Watch closely and stir until pine nuts are fragrant and light brown. Be very careful as nuts burn quickly. Set aside for garnish.

In a small bowl, add 1 tbs of olive oil, hummus and water and whisk until combined. Use some of the hummus mix to marinate the shrimp.

In a non-stick pan over medium high heat, add 1 tsp olive oil until shimmering. Sauté shrimp until browned and crispy on the outside and until the white parts on the middle are opaque. Set shrimp aside in a warm place.

img_6951

Perfectly cooked shrimp: browned on the outside and white parts no longer transulcent

In the same pan used to cook the shrimp, lower the heat to medium. Add hummus “sauce” and cook just until warmed and more liquid in viscosity. Add zucchini noodles and cook until completely coated in sauce and the noodles are el dente (about 2 minutes). Note: the zucchini noodles will let off water and should create a more liquid sauce. Add back shrimp to pan to coat.

img_7013

Sauce will start a little thicker (see here), but turn saucier as water from noodles is drawn out

Serve in a bowl and top with chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts. Eat and feel good about (a) how fast Amazon ships and (b) how healthy you are!