This hearty salad combines nutrient-rich kale, juicy tomatoes, sweet roasted carrots, vibrant red peppers, and savory protein-packed veggie balls. It's not only delicious but also packed with plant-based protein.
For the Salad:
4 cups kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup red bell peppers, diced
1 cup roasted carrots, sliced into rounds
1 cup protein veggie balls (store-bought or homemade)
For the Protein Veggie Balls:
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking
For the Maple Balsamic Dressing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Calorie and Protein Content per Serving (approx.):
Protein: 12-15 grams (may vary depending on the brand of veggie balls)
1. Prepare the Roasted Carrots:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Toss the carrot sticks with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme (if using) on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are tender and slightly caramelized. Remove and let them cool slightly.
2. Prepare the Protein Veggie Balls:
- In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, rolled oats, grated carrot, diced red onion, minced garlic, chopped parsley, ground cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Pulse until the mixture is well combined but still has some texture.
- Form the mixture into small veggie balls, about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a bit of olive oil. Cook the veggie balls until they're golden brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
3. Prepare the Salad:
- In a large salad bowl, place the chopped kale.
- Top the kale with halved cherry tomatoes, diced red bell peppers, and roasted carrot rounds.
4. Assemble the Salad:
- Arrange the cooked protein veggie balls on top of the salad.
5. Prepare the Dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup (if using), salt, and pepper. Adjust the sweetness and seasoning to taste.
6. Dress the Salad:
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad.
7. Toss and Serve:
- Toss the salad thoroughly to coat the ingredients with the dressing and distribute the veggie balls evenly.
Serve and Enjoy!
Divide the salad into individual bowls or plates.
Each serving will provide approximately 350-400 calories and 12-15 grams of protein, depending on the size of the veggie balls and the amount of dressing used.
This Protein-Packed Kale and Veggie Ball Salad is a satisfying and nutritious meal. It's not only delicious but also rich in plant-based protein, making it a great option for a healthy lunch or dinner.
Photo Credit (in order left to right):
Elle Hughes, Olia Danilevich and Alesia Kosik