Kale Salad with Edamame, Roasted Cashews and Miso Dressing

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vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressingIn the chaos of last week’s holiday and my sister getting hit by an SUV, I overlooked one of my favorite days of the year…


Also known as the release of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

As detailed in last year’s post on the subject, I love SI Swimsuit. Based on my deep appreciation for even tans, impeccable beach hair, and festive bikinis, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I look forward to the issue all year, and I am eternally grateful to the generous soul that decided to include a shopping guide (since I may be the only person that actually uses it). Because critiquing SI Swimsuit is one of my favorite activities, I figured I would take this opportunity to share my deep thoughts on this year’s edition with you.

Let’s start with the cover…

What-to-eat-to-look-like-a-sports-illustrated-swimsuit-modelI am pleased. First of all, it’s thematically on point, as it features three super hot babes in tropical waters versus last year’s parka-clad Kate Upton in Antarctica (which was just impractical). Sure, I like Nina Agdal and Lily Aldridge as much as the next person with eyes, but I’m especially thrilled to see Chrissy Tiegen as a covergirl. I feel proud to have Chrissy, a fellow (if somewhat sporadic) food blogger, representing our ranks. I think she’ll be helpful in getting my “Food Bloggers in Bikinis” calendar idea off the ground.

I was also a fan of this year’s 50th Anniversary theme featuring “icons of the past, present, and future.” If you’re somebody that happens to read Playboy for the articles like moi, you will appreciate the stories shared by past SI covergirls turned actresses/philanthropists/moguls including Kathy Ireland, Carol Alt, Cheryl Tiegs and Heidi Klum. Unfortunately, Beyoncé was noticeably missing from the pack, but she’s busy ruling the world, so I shall let it slide.

Moving on to body paint. VERY impressive this year. A handful of rookies don hand-painted versions of famous swimsuits from the last half-century of SI Swimsuit, and I found this spread to be classier than its predecessors. Oh, and Emily Ratajkowski…Hot damn.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-2As far as actual bikini shopping goes, this issue was a toss-up. There were a lot of thongs happening, which isn’t necessarily appropriate for summer barbecues and beach walks unless I relocate to Brazil, and a rather upsetting amount of ruffles. However, I did appreciate the solid representation of sexy one-piece styles, and I was happy to see that neon is still in. I love me a hot pink bikini.

My only complaint about this year’s edition is Kate Upton’s zero-gravity situation. I found the whole “floating in space” thing to be as frustratingly ridiculous as last year’s furry bikinis in the Arctic. Also, the author of the accompanying article writes, “The intrepid Ms. Upton flies overhead like a magnificent Macy’s balloon off its tether.” I don’t know how Ms. Upton feels about that statement, but I wouldn’t want to be put in a position that led to me being described as a “balloon,” magnificent or otherwise. Just saying.

Usually, the fourth stage in my relationship with SI Swimsuit (after excitement, critique, and impulse shopping) is depression, as I may never look as good in my bikinis as some of the supermodels. This is a colossal waste of time, so I’m bypassing depression this year in favor of moving forward with my hotness. You should too. Instead of letting these fine-ass ladies crush your self-esteem, try to view them as inspiration. Be motivated. I’d suggest hitting the gym, but that would be hypocritical because I hate to sweat, so let’s just crush more kale salads. (Dudes, this SI inspiration also applies to you. Your chances of getting close to a bikini-clad body is infinitely higher if you keep your gut in check.) Specifically, let’s all eat this Kale Salad with Edamame, Roasted Cashews and Miso Dressing.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-3Look, you all know that I have a love/hate relationship with kale, so I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is my favorite salad ever. That said, it’s pretty glorious for a kale salad, and there are several aspects of this superfood creation that rock. Let’s quickly break them down.

First, this salad is a layered masterpiece in both the flavor and texture departments. Massaging the curly kale with dressing and then letting it rest for 15-20 minutes removes the horrible toughness of the greens, making them palatable for even the strongest kale-haters. Some people are vehemently opposed to the “grassier” taste of curly kale, so feel free to use lacinato if you prefer. (Honestly, I think all kale tastes like grass, so I’m not sure this substitution will make much difference.) The tender marinated kale is tossed with slightly sweet carrots, crisp red bell peppers, spicy red onion, buttery avocado, and nutty edamame, and topped with chopped roasted cashews for added crunch. Boom.

The aforementioned ingredients are all well and good, but it’s the miso dressing that turns the whole shebang into a true taste treat. It’s bright and zesty with a hint of sweetness and just the right amount of Sriracha-induced heat. I want to put this sexy dressing on everything, friends, and you will too. In the spirit of full disclosure, white miso can sometimes be a bitch to find, but a lot of major markets have started to carry it, and you’ll definitely be able to find it at a health food store. Trust me, it’s worth tracking down, and you might get some exercise in the process which can only help your swimsuit bod.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-4Needless to say, this kale salad kills it on the nutrition front. As I’m sure most of you know, kale is a magical green that’s packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that amp up your body’s natural detox power. It also fights almost every disease, promotes longevity, improves brain power, and clears your skin. WHOOOOOP. On top of the powerhouse kale, you’ve also got protein, antioxidant and fiber-rich edamame, heart-healthy avocado and cashews, and bell peppers filled with Vitamin C. The miso dressing is the icing on the proverbial cake, as miso prevents many forms of cancer, improves digestion, and is an excellent source of B vitamins and protein.

Long story short, consuming this salad is a delicious and painless way to embrace your inner supermodel. I’ve eaten it for three meals in the past two days, and I’m already feeling pretty good about my inevitable thong bikini purchase. Great success.

Kale Salad with Edamame, Roasted Cashews and Miso Dressing: (Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side)

1 bunch curly kale (You can also use lacinato kale if you prefer.), stems and center rib removed and coarsely chopped
½ cup shelled edamame (Yes, you can use frozen. Just run the beans under warm water for about 20 seconds to thaw.)
½ cup grated carrots
¼ of a medium red onion, very thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
½ ripe avocado, diced (I like to use a whole avocado, but I’m partial to avocado. You do you.)
¼ cup roasted cashews, chopped
For the Miso Dressing:
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mellow white miso
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha

Preparing your Kale Salad with Edamame, Roasted Cashews and Miso Dressing:

-Wash your kale very well and pat it dry. (Kale already tastes like kale, you don’t want it to taste like dirt too.) Remove the stems and center ribs from the kale. I just use my hands to do this, but you can use a knife if you prefer.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-step-1-Roughly chop the kale and transfer it to a large bowl.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-step-2-Now it’s time to prepare the miso dressing. Place all the ingredients for the miso dressing in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-step-3-Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the kale and use your hands to rub the dressing into the kale leaves for about 3 minutes. This process is called “massaging the kale.” It’s kind of weird and annoying, but do NOT skip this step. This little massage will make sure that your kale isn’t tough and gross. Post-massage, set your kale aside for at least 15 minutes to marinate/tenderize.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-step-4-While your kale is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your salad.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-step-5-Add all of the ingredients except for the cashews to the massaged kale. Drizzle with the remaining miso dressing and toss to coat.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-step-6-Sprinkle your kale salad with the chopped roasted cashews just before serving. Note: If you’re preparing your salad in advance, add the avocado just before serving so that they don’t brown.

vegan-kale-salad-with-edamame-roasted-cashews-and-miso-dressing-7I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Eat everyday like it’s the first day of bikini season.

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  1. Tess Danesi on April 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    This was great, Serena, though I changed it up to use what I had on hand. I used baby kale, so no massaging needed, red miso, less olive oil (end of the bottle) and some water, a splash of sesame oil, lemon (left over from the morning’s lemon blueberry pancakes), dried unsweetened cherries and macadamia nuts. So, so good. And OMG, I see your Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Sea Salt recipe above and will HAVE to click there next. I know what’s for dessert tonight!

    • Serena_Wolf on April 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

      So glad this was a success, Tess! Using baby kale is always a great choice, and the cranberry/macadamia combo is GENIUS. Hope you made and loved the cookies!

      • Tess Danesi on April 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

        Serena, those cookies…they are too good. My hubby left for 3 days at work and asked if there were going to be any left when he comes home. The short answer – NO! I think they are my favorite cookies ever. 🙂

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