Eating a paleo diet means a few things: One, eating nutrient-dense, vegetable based diet; and two, a whole lot ‘o cooking.
And that means having some awesome go-to meals that are quick and easy to prepare, but pack in a bunch of nutrients, protein, and a little fat.
Enter: Super staples. Foods that will re-energize the crap out of you with their uber-nutrients and astound you with their ease.
I’d like to first introduce you to this kale, brussel sprout, and bacon salad. Originally I found this recipe at Multiply Delicious. I haven’t changed it much, since it’s so simple to make there wasn’t much to change. I do prepare things a wee bit differently, so here goes.
I should also mention I don’t take super great photos (yet…) and background cleanliness isn’t my first priority. I’ve got three dogs, two jobs, and one husband. In the words of one Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
Nutrient wise, kale is amazing. It’s anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and packed full of vitamins and fiber, very important things to your cave lifestyle. Brussel sprouts are amazing for a lot of the same reasons. And, well, bacon is just bacon, no explanation needed there.
Put the three together in a super-easy, quick recipe? You’ve got a hat trick of awesome.
So let’s get to it.
This isn’t a specific recipe. Measuring is for people who have time to measure and clean things. And – everyone together now – ain’t nobody got time for that. Adjust to your tastes, whatever you have on hand, etc.
- Roughly equal parts brussel sprouts and kale. Time saver: Get yourself some pre-shredded sprouts and kale pieces at your grocery store of choice. I find them at Trader Joe’s.
- A few slices of bacon. If you’ve using a whole head of kale, I’d use 6 – 8 pieces of bacon. Actually, make that ten, since you’re probably going to do some snacking while things heat up. Time saver: You can also use packaged bacon bits, pre-cooked bacon, etc. Nitrate and preservative free, of course (that’s really one thing I never “80/20″ because of processed meat’s link to cancer.) I like Open Nature’s bacon, although it has a bit of sugar in it, the pre-made pieces are the same as the packaged stuff, so I feel perfectly happy using those versus cooking fresh bacon when I’m short on time (or fresh bacon.)
- Some bacon grease. Don’t need any extra if you are using uncooked bacon, but make sure to have some if you are using some pre-packaged bacon bits.
- Chicken broth. Preferably homemade chicken stock.
- Crushed red pepper, if you like a bit of heat.
Grab a big ol’ pan, since your greens will need some space before they wilt down.
Two options here: Saute the bacon as whole strips, and crumble later. Preferable if you have a little bit more time. Or, cut the bacon up in to pieces first, and saute as “bits.” Preferable if you don’t mind washing a cutting board and want the bacon cooking to happen more quickly.
While the bacon is getting awesome, slice up your kale and brussel sprouts. Wait for bacon to finish cooking.
Bacon done? Great. Scoop those bad boys out of the pan and set aside, or pull out the bacon strips and cut/crumble in to bits. Leave the grease behind, or add some from your grease jar (you do keep a bacon grease jar, right? Oh darling, you must! It’s instant-bacon flavoring, has a high heat point, and so on. Just pour out your drippings through a little sieve in to a mason jar. Yummy extra bacon flavoring.)
Add your shredded sprouts and chopped kale. Spin it around in that bacon grease, until it’s all shiny and yummy looking. Not enough bacon grease? Feel free to add more.
Pour on a little chicken stock – enough to cover the bottom of your big ol’ pan maybe a quarter inch high. You want enough that it won’t boil off totally (burnt kale is a really bad thing), but not so much that it’s soupy. You can always add more later, and you’ll get a feel for how much stock you need after you make this a few times. Shake on a bit of crushed red pepper if you like the heat.
… And that’s about it. Put a lit on that bad boy and cook away. Every few minutes stir the kale and sprouts around to help things cook evenly, and in about 15 – 20 minutes, you should be good to go. Add bacon about five minutes before the kale/sprouts are finished.
A savory, soul-warming bowl of greens full of bacon flavor. A huge heaping bowl of vitamins, nutrient, fiber, antioxidants, and flavor. I like to make a huge batch and eat it with a side of pork chops, grilled chicken, hot italian sausage, or straight up by itself for a tasty breakfast. This recipe took kale and brussel sprouts on my foods list from just above dirt to just below bacon. And since bacon is in this dish and it takes about 20 minutes to make, this is just about perfect food for a time-strapped cave girl.
Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments!