Kale Salad with Butter Beans

As we begin a new year, many of us reflect on the past year. In addition, some of us think about our commitment for a new year of eating a cleaner diet, free of processed food and added sugars and additives. 

Salads and Bowls: the layering effect

Two thoughts come to mind as I plan my weekly menus … eat more healthy salads and buddha bowls. (You might remember buddha bowls by other names – grain bowls, hippie bowls, or macro or power bowls). 😊

You may be thinking, isn’t salad boring? Or aren’t I going to be hangry all of the time? The answers are No and No!

Building a healthy salad or a buddha bowl is the concept of layering 5 (or more if you wish) powerful ingredients that provide all the nutrition you need for that meal. They are easy to prepare, flavorful, and chocked full of delicious, satisfying foods filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for your brain, heart and body’s health. 

You are probably tired of me stressing the importance of You are What You Eat AND Food is Medicine, but it is true, and it’s totally up to you.

What are the powerful ingredients?

Here are the powerhouse foods (and some examples of each) that keep us healthy and ward off inflammation and disease: 

1) Dark leafy greens and vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, eggplant, and sweet potatoes 

2) Whole grains such as bulgar wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, and brown rice  

3) Legumes & beans such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans, and kidney beans

4) Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and avocado

5) Lean proteins such as tofu, chicken, and fish 

Add in some berries such as blueberries, blackberries or strawberries for added antioxidants and vitamins into your healthy salad or bowl. 

Intention & Attention

I spent many hours, days and months considering, testing and then choosing my favorite salad recipes for my cookbook that I launched last year, The Power of 5 Test Kitchen Cookbook Your Guide to Healthy Cooking and Eating.

Stay tuned for future blogs that highlight my favorite recipes for healthy salads and bowls! 

Dig into a healthy salad or buddha bowl and feel better than you ever have. Make this year one of intention and attention to your health and wellness. 

To Healthy Cooking and Eating!


Versatile Kale Salad

This is an easy and versatile kale salad packed with nutrients! You may add a grilled fish, chicken or tofu on top if you want to add protein. Enjoy!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish
Servings 10 people
Calories 248 kcal


  • 4 bunches (1lb) Leafy green kale Remove stems, chiffonade (stack leaves, roll them and slice thinly creating thin ribbons).
  • 1 cups Parmesan cheese, low fat If you do not eat dairy, use plant-based parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.
  • 3 bunches Scallions, finely chopped (2 cups) A sweet onion can be used as well, finely chopped.
  • 6 stalks Hearts of palm, sliced width wise (2 cups) You can omit if you do not like hearts of palm. These are very filling and low cal.
  • 1 cup Raisins You can also use currants or golden raisins, if you prefer
  • 1 cups Pine nuts, toasted (or sunflower seeds) Spread on foil and toast in a small oven or toast in a pan. Keep an eye out as pine nuts burn easily.
  • 4 6 oz sizes Grilled chicken breasts, fish or tofu Optional protein


  • 1 cup Squeezed lemons
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Brown mustard Optional
  • Himalayan pink salt & freshly ground pepper To taste


  • Remove stems from the kale and chiffonade the leaves to make thin ribbons or tear into bite-size pieces. Add all the dressing ingredients together and toss into the kale salad.
  • Add cheese, scallions, and raisins into salad mix.
  • If you are adding protein, season with your favorite spices. Use the outdoor grill or stovetop to grill the chicken, fish or tofu to taste. Layer on top of the salad and serve.

Salad Dressing

  • Add all dressing ingredients together and wisk well until blended.
  • Brown mustard adds a tanginess to the dressing, if desired


This can serve a big crowd of 10-12, so I make it and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. It gets more flavorful with each day.
Nutritional Value:
Kale = 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein.
Kale Salad:  One Serving
  • 248 Calories
  • 14.9g Fat
  • 5.2 g Protein
  • 19.1 g Carbs (3.4g Fiber)
Kale Salad with Grilled Protein added:
Chicken – 6 oz
  • 252 Calories
  • 5.8g Fat
  • 50.2 g Protein
  • 0 Carbs
Grilled Salmon – 6 oz
  • 321 Calories
  • 14g Fat
  • 26g Protein
  • 0 Carbs
Grilled Organic Tofu – 6 oz
  • 340 Calories
  • 27g Fat
  • 13.2g Protein
  • 10.8 Carbs


Serving: 2cupsCalories: 248kcalCarbohydrates: 19.1gProtein: 5.2gFat: 14.9gSaturated Fat: 2.2gFiber: 3.4gSugar: 11.3g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Buddha Bowl Creation

Deliciousness of fresh vegetables, proteins, and whole grains to create a perfect meal.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Homemade Dressing 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Lunch, Main Dish, Salads
Servings 1 Serving
Calories 397 kcal


  • 1/2 cup Grains of your choice – choose 1 grain such as short-grained rice, black rice, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, barley, etc.
  • 6oz Protein of your choice – tofu, chicken, salmon, shrimp, eggs, etc.
  • 1/4 cup Edamame more to taste
  • 1/2 sliced Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Green onions, chopped or diced purple onions
  • 1/2 cup Red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup Greens of your choice – choose as many as you wish – kale, spinach, broccoli, spring mix, asparagus, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and/or peppers (yellow, red, green)
  • 1/4 cup Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil
  • 1/2 cup Beans of your choice – there are so many healthy choices – chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lentils (green, yellow or red), pinto, navy bean, etc.
  • 1 medium Sweet potato – sliced, roasted
  • 1 -2 Tbsp Seeds to sprinkle on top such as sesame, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin, or sunflower

Dressing your Buddha Bowl – Ginger Garlic or Tahini? Your Choice!

Ginger Garlic Dressing

  • 2-3 tsp Chili garlic sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Tamari sauce or 1/4 cup coconut liquid aminos
  • 1 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger, minced or crushed more to taste
  • 2 clove Garlic, minced or crushed
  • Pinch Red pepper, crushed add more to taste

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Tahini sauce
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced add more to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon juice from fresh lemon or already squeezed
  • 2-5 Tbsp Water as needed for desired consistency
  • Pinch Salt


  • Choose your vegetable, grains, greens, seeds, and dressing.
  • Prepare the vegetables that need to be chopped, diced or sliced.
  • If you add protein, prepare as needed.


Melissa’s Modifications
Buddha bowl or grain bowls are fun to make and combine a variety of delicious vegetables, grains, greens, seeds, and proteins. Like having small bites of a lot of different foods in one bowl. 
Regarding the dressing…
Sometimes I enjoy my buddha bowls with a little (1 Tbsp.) balsamic, apple cider vinegar, a splash of lemon juice, or all three! 
If you add the ginger or tahini dressing here are the Nutritional Values:
Tahini Dressing:
1 Tbsp. – 90 Calories | 8g Total Fat; 0.47g Total Carbohydrate; 3g Protein
Ginger Garlic Dressing:
1 cup serving – 128 Calories | 0.3g Total Fat; 3,138 mg Sodium; 25.6g Total Carbohydrate; 0.5g Dietary Fiber; 15.1g Sugar; 5.7g Protein


Serving: 1BowlCalories: 397kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 21.5gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1.9gSodium: 301mgFiber: 12.4gSugar: 9.4g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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