Delicious, Healthy, Gourmet Man Salad

It's been forever since I posted any recipes, but I'm really working on our health via better eating so some of my posts in the upcoming weeks shall be, hopefully, quite inspired!

I'm trying to feed my husband healthier food while still filling him up. He's 6'5" and has an appetite to match, but he's also feeling the pangs of that dastardly slower metabolism syndrome that hits (most) people after 30. This week I wanted to get him lots of protein while loading up on healthy veggies, yet hopefully filling up his seemingly endless tum. It's hard because he's gluten free (Celiac and dermatitis herpetiformis) so I can't just make him a sandwich or pasta or the like, and so many "filler" foods that are cheap (we're on a SUPER tight budget for the foreseeable future) have loads of empty calories while better ones (brown rice, quinoa) aren't super cheap.

However, we choose to do a local CSA called Full Circle Farms because you just can't go wrong with local, organic, fresh produce. What I love is that you can fully customize your orders so that you don't get stuff you don't like. Unfortunately, I forgot to do that for the last order and ended up with kale and beets. Now, I know you can make kale chips and everyone swears they are the greatest. I do plan to make them, but unfortunately I forgot about the kale until it was starting to wilt, which does not a good kale chip make.

Then there were the beets. I detest beets, but Jason doesn't mind them if well prepared. Since you can get the killer deal of 6 heads of romaine for $3 at Costco I decided to make a creative salad for Jason's lunches this week. I won't pretend the pic is the greatest, since it's in his lunch container but I didn't want to make his salad all messy by putting it on a plate first. Additionally, I wasn't planning to blog about it so I didn't take any pics until the end. Still, it was delicious and I recommend it!

Caramelized Honey Mustard Kale & Onion Salad with Tuna, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Roasted Beets

gluten free, makes 4 BIG salads; adjust to make 5 for each workday M-F if needed

Healthy, delicious, and filling--perfect man food!

3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped or torn to bite size pieces
2 cans of tuna, drained
4 ounces of goat cheese
4 beets, cut into 1/4" cubes
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
2 bunches of kale, chopped to bite size pieces
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 T stone ground mustard

1. Preheat oven to 425 F; toss beets in balsamic vinegar and spread out on cookie sheet or preferred roasting pan. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until soft but not dehydrated.

2. Divide lettuce into containers and top with 1/2 can of tuna.

3. Heat large skillet (preferably stainless steel) on medium heat and add oil; when hot add onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add kale, and salt to taste. stir intermittently until kale is wilted and onions have begun to caramelize (or turn brown).

4. In small bowel, whisk together apple cider, honey, and mustard. Add to onions and kale and cook until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally as needed. Set aside to cool slightly when done*.

5. Add kale & onions and beets to each salad; top with 1 ounce of goat cheese. Voila!

* I deglazed my pan with 1/2 cup of water (because I didn't have any wine and ran out of white wine vinegar), allowing it to reduce by 1/2 and then added that to the top of each salad.  My husband added his favorite, italian dressing, but you can eat as is or whip up your own balsamic vinaigrette. You could even keep up the honey mustard vinaigrette theme, too, doubling the amounts and then whisking in some olive oil once you add 1/2 to the kale & onions.

For those who hate tuna, some chicken--grilled, or chopped from a rotisserie bird, even canned, but please don't buy those "pre-seasoned" strips FILLED with sodium and preservatives!--or cut up turkey breast. Salmon might work great, too.Oh, and if you hate goat cheese you could sub in feta, bleu, gorgonzola, or some other soft & creamy cheese which you prefer.

My husband LOVED this. It filled him up and was chock full of healthy nutrients along with great omega-3's from the tuna. Yay :) He wrote me to say, and I quote, "Salad = HOLY CRAP AMAZING." Awesome. We did discuss that if we had it, marinating chicken breasts in honey mustard and grilling and slicing it would be amazing, but tuna was a: faster b: generally cheaper c: much cheaper in this case because we already had it.

I hope you are inspired by this recipe--Jason actually asked me to make salads more often after eating this. How many wives have large (6'5" and built), carnivorous husbands whose favorite food is bacon asking for more salads for lunch? Total win, I say!

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