Asian Kale & Salmon Salad

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Raise your hand if you’re coming down with a wicked case of cabin fever!

These days I feel like I look like Jack Nicholson from the Shining – wild haired and wide eyed from being shut in against the howling wind and freezing temperatures, while peering out from behind the curtains – minus the whole horrific plot, obviously. A forecasted 6-8 inches of snow coming our way on Thursday isn’t helping matters much, either!

Ben and I have a fun trip planned to Charleston, SC in a little over a month, which I am considering creating a countdown chain for because I am so excited. I have repeatedly and excessively stated over the past couple of years (sorry!) that Ben and I really fell in love with the culture of New Orleans when we visited in 2010, and are excited to experience another southern staple – the city of Charleston. Taking restaurant/activity recommendations…NOW!

Anyways, I feel like I can’t even wait until then to get out of here! We’re trying to plan a long weekend getaway somewhere warm and within a 10-12 hour drive for some time in the next couple of weeks. Any ideas? I’d love to go to Austin (keepin’ it weird!) and Ben’s rooting for Memphis – I think because it’s such a hardcore music town and he’s dying for a bango. I’d go for the BBQ, I suppose.

Until we figure it out, I’m continuing to weave bright, light dishes into our weekly meal plan to remind me that warmer days and places are definitely ahead. Onward, right? Asian Kale & Salmon Salad is definitely helping the cause.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

If the saying’s true that you are what you eat, then we’ll all be health goddesses after devouring this salad which combines antioxidant rich kale and red cabbage with vibrant veggies like carrot, cucumber, and green onions, tossed in a Asian-citrus dressing.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Salmon fillets, which are high in fatty acids that can help boost your mood, are marinated in the salad dressing then quickly seared and placed on top.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Sweet orange slices seal the deal and add a sweet burst of flavor to this yummy salad that is definitely classified as feel-good food!

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Start the Asian Kale & Salmon Salad by making the salmon marinade and salad dressing which is one and the same. Yeehaw for double duty sauces! In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine 2-1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar, and 2 Tablespoon orange juice – store bought or fresh squeezed, your call.

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Next add 1 Tablespoon lime juice and 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce. 

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Adding some Asian flavah is 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (a little goes a long way) and 2 teaspoons honey. If you measure the honey after the oil, it will slide right out.

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Finally add 1 clove garlic and 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger. If you don’t have fresh, 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger would do in a pinch!

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Whir the ingredients together then set it aside while you prep your salmon. You’ll want 2-4oz fillets.

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Season the salmon filets with salt & pepper then place into a ziplock baggie or shallow dish and add 2 Tablespoons dressing. Let them marinate on the counter while you get started on the salad portion of the program!

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In a large bowl add 6 cups washed and dried kale. I rip mine from the tough stems then tear them into pretty small pieces.

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Now get your massage on! Ben can’t convince me to massage his feet, but for some reason I really like massaging kale. I guess those two things aren’t really the same though. Anyways! Use your fingertips and hands to really get in there and massage the kale. It will start smelling kind of grassy (don’t worry it doesn’t taste like it) and whither down significantly. After 2-3 minutes the kale should be tender enough to eat. Just give a piece a try – if it’s not there, just keep massaging.

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Time to add the crunchy toppings, including 1 cup shredded purple cabbage (psst – juice the leftovers!) and 1 peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber.

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1 shredded carrot and 2 chopped green onions into the pool…

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Finally, segment 1 large orange or 2 small oranges into the bowl. Here’s a tutorial for segmenting oranges >

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Drizzle in the remaining salad dressing then toss everything to combine.

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The last step is to saute the salmon in a nonstick-sprayed skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on one side, then 1-2 minutes on the other. Here’s a post I recently wrote for Delish Dish on how to cook salmon!

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Divide the salad between two bowls, top with the seared salmon, then drizzle 1 Tablespoon chopped almonds on top. Voila, Asian Kale & Salmon Salad is served!

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

Adapted from Clean Eating Mag

Ingredients: 
2-4oz salmon fillets
salt & pepper
1 bunch kale (about 6 cups,) torn from stem then into small, bite-sized pieces
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
2 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 orange, segmented (or 2 small oranges)
1 Tablespoon almonds, chopped

For the salmon marinade/salad dressing:
2-1/2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic
salt & pepper

Directions: 

  1. Blend marinade/salad dressing ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Season salmon fillets with salt & pepper then place into a ziplock bag or shallow dish and add 2 Tablespoons dressing. Marinate on the counter while you prepare salad.
  2. In a large bowl add kale then massage with hands and fingertips until tender, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage, green onion, cucumber, carrot, orange segments, and remaining dressing then toss to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then spray well with nonstick spray. Add salmon skin side down then cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, peel skin off then discard, and then cook for 1-2 more minutes. Divide salad between bowls then top with salmon and sprinkle chopped almonds on top.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list here – many items are fridge and pantry staples. Besides, we’re worth it! ;)

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

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