Chickpeas, Kale, and Red (Purple) Onion Salad
A few days ago, my stomach let me know that it was time for a quick lunch break. Since I work from home, I have the luxury of setting my lunch clock internally. I knew I wanted something fresh, healthy, filling, and (since I had plans for a big supper) light in the calorie department.
I came up with a Chickpea and Kale Salad that was as delicious and filling as it was healthy. I added a little red onion. Little secret: when no one else is around, I call them purple onions because… well, they aren’t red anymore than I am. They are, however purple. The fact that this is something I take issue with probably tells you everything you need to ever know about me.
I’m certifiable… I’ve just yet to be certified.
Let your love for each ingredient – and your own personal taste – guide you with the amounts of each ingredient. For that matter, feel free to add to the list.
I chose the following:
- Fresh Kale, cut into small pieces
- Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- The juice of one lemon, along with a little lemon zest to keep things pretty
- A couple of red onion rings
- Very finely minced garlic
- Freshly ground pepper
- A tiny amount of sea salt
- A splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
It was darn good, which I pretty much expected because I love each ingredient with a particular passion. However, I honestly didn’t expect it to be so filling. I couldn’t even eat my entire salad. I put a lid on the leftovers and saved it for later.
The combination of chickpeas and kale was out of this world. The splash of lemon made it all come together beautifully.
Health Benefits of Chickpeas
Chickpeas are more than just a cute face – although they are pretty darn cute at that. They’re filling, fun to cook with, and have a great flavor. But there’s more. Garbanzo Beans (or Chickpeas) are a great source of fiber and are known to help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. Just 3/4 cup of chickpeas daily can reduce your risk of heart disease by helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Throw chickpeas into tossed, bean, or pasta salads and soups for extra nutritional value, texture, and flavor. Making hummus is another perfect way to enjoy chickpeas.
I may be an extreme chickpea fanatic, but I enjoy them as a snack all by themselves. I drain them, rinse them, and pop them in my mouth like popcorn. So good!
Health Benefits of Kale
Kale comes with its own list of health benefits. One cup of kale has zero fat and only about 36 calories, making it a great choice for calorie counters. Best of all, its high in vitamins and antioxidants.
Kale is something of a super food. Just look at its benefits:
- The fiber in kale fills you up and lowers cholesterol.
- The Vitamin C in Kale can help ward off diseases and infections as it strengthens your immune system.
- The Vitamin C in Kale is also essential for healthy joints.
- Kale also has Vitamin A which can keep your eyes healthy as you age.
- Kale actually has more iron than beef!
- Kale is excellent for healthy skin, hair, and nails – making it a delicious beauty secret.
So, Kale can help you lose weight and/or keep it off, fight off diseases, protect your eyesight and joints, build stronger bones AND make you pretty so pretty? What’s not to love?
Enjoy Kale in green smoothies, in salads, and soups. One of my favorite ways to prepare kale is a baked kale recipe I found on the Cooking Channel’s website. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s awesome.
Health Benefits of Red Onions
Red… ahem, purple… onions (and yellow onions, for that matter) have an impressive list of health benefits, but the one that jumps out at me is their antioxidant power. These onions are some of the best natural sources of quercetin. All you really need to know about quercetin is that it’s a scavenger when it comes to free radicals.
Red onions also have cancer-fighting properties which is, all by itself, more than reason enough to include them in as many meals as possible. I love the versatility of red onions, as well as their bright color. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a bad red onion. They’re always just perfect for whatever I ask them to do.
You’re probably already familiar with the heart healthy benefits of olive oil and garlic, so I won’t get into their nutritional value right now. Quite frankly, I could be here all day talking about their health benefits because they seemingly go on forever.
A final word about eating healthy: When you eat healthy foods regularly, you’ll find that your “junk food” cravings will decrease significantly. I actually find myself craving great salads, soups, vegetables, and fresh fruit these days.. instead of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, doughnuts, and fries. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen.
It just makes good sense to eat healthier, doesn’t it?
Chickpeas, Kale, and Red (Purple) Onion Salad