Sunday, April 5, 2009

Angel Hair with Lemon, Kale, & Walnuts

I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate leafy greens into my diet. I know that they don't top most people's list of favorite foods, but I happen to love them, and they're excellent sources of calcium and iron (it's nice to get those things from somewhere other than red meat and milk).

This is an ideal post-workout lunch - it's healthy, filling, but not too heavy.



4 oz. whole wheat or Barilla Plus angel hair
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 lb. raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 bunch kale, leaves washed and chopped
handful parsley leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 white onion, minced
1/2 c. chicken broth
olive oil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
grated parmesan


Boil pasta in salted water until slightly less than al dente (it will finish cooking in the sauce). Darin, set aside, and keep warm.


In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter (don't be shy about the amount, since these plus the chicken broth are the only "sauce" for the pasta, but also don't overdo it - you don't want greasy noodles; I used about 1 and half T. olive oil and the same amount of butter, and this dish made about 3 servings). Saute the onions until they're translucent, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the chicken broth, kale, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook until kale has begun to soften a bit. You can use your own judgment on this, but I like my kale crisper and less-cooked; if you like yours softer, cook it a little longer.


Add the noodles, walnuts, and parsley and toss to combine. Cover and cook for a few more minutes. If the dish seems dry, add a little more chicken broth or a little of the pasta cooking water. Add any more seasoning to taste. Serve with a little parmesan grated over the top. Enjoy!

This is a great light lunch. It's super quick and easy, but packed with lots of great stuff: healthy fats from the walnuts and olive oil, calcium and iron from the kale, and protein and healthy carbs from the pasta (especially if you use whole wheat). I had enough for two meals, and when I ate it again I added a half chicken breast that I steamed in a little chicken broth just because I was in the mood for meat.

BONUS: Breakfast of Champions

Finding a meal that's suitable to eat BEFORE working out is always a challenge, as well. And that task is especially difficult when your workout of choice is Bikram Yoga; you're supposed to come to class on an empty stomach, but I find that if I go to a morning class after not eating since dinner the day before, I have a hard time not passing out. That's why I wanted to share this breakfast specifically:


Seeduction bread is my newest Whole Foods discovery. I've made a point lately to get freshly baked, unsliced bread from the bakery rather than more processed, shelf-stable packaged breads. This is hands down the best I've tried. It's really nutty and grainy but still somehow soft and slightly sweet. It tastes good with everything from ham and cheese and mayo to butter and honey.


1 slice Seeduction bread (or any whole grain bread)
1-2 T. natural peanut butter (I've been using Smucker's Natural, with no added salt or sugar)
drizzle of a honey of your choice (I've been using wildflower amber honey)
sliced banana

Spread the bread with peanut butter. Drizzle honey over it, then top with the banana slices.

You could toast the bread, too, if that's your thing.

With a cup of coffee or tea, this is the perfect breakfast to carry you through whatever workout you may embark on - or just through a great morning of lazy TV watching.

Thanks for reading! More soon...

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