Prep time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 servings
What initially began as founder Ruth Tal’s travelling juice bar eventually expanded into a full-fledged restaurant, Fresh, with executive chef and partner Jennifer Houston stepping into the kitchen in its early days. Originally introduced to the mini chain as a special back in June 2011, the robust All Star has been their top selling salad ever since, with around 30,000 of them being sold yearly.
The salad was created as a way to incorporate all the foods that were beginning to be dubbed superfoods into one single dish. “On the first special card when this was a brand-new item,” says Houston, “it had a tagline under the name saying ‘Get all your superfoods in one bowl!’ ” At the time, kale, quinoa, sweet potatoes, goji berries, walnuts, edamame, adzuki beans, and sunflower sprouts were all hyped as superfoods. “I wanted to figure out a way to use them all together in a gluten free, high-protein dish,” Houston says.
Over the years, the All Star has evolved, originally boasting only green kale before transitioning into a bevy of power greens (red, green, black kale along with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, radicchio, fennel, plus cabbage for good measure). While Houston didn’t anticipate kale becoming the popular kid in the leafy green aisle that it now is, she’s not surprised by it. When Fresh opened shop back in ’99, people were starting to learn of the importance of incorporating leafy greens into their diets, but generally seemed to be a tad unsure what fell into that box.
“Kale salads are such a different experience from lettuce salads,” she says, “that it gave people who were tired the old standards but still wanted to eat salads as a meal something new to eat.” While adding the term kale to the populace’s culinary vocabulary took some time, a formerly sceptical crowd has evolved into one that wholly embraces the greens. “Now no one even bats an eye,” Houston says.
Here’s how to make the noteworthy salad that is heavy on nutrition, flavour and heartiness.
All Star Salad
- 2 cups finely shredded kale, large stems and ribs removed
- 4 slices grilled sweet potato (see below)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- ½ batch marinated adzuki beans (see below)
- 10 grape tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped English cucumber
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 4 marinated tofu steaks, cooked (see below)
- 1 ½ cups sunflower sprouts
- 2 teaspoons goji berries
- 2 tablespoons toasted mixed nuts (see below)
- ½ to 1 cup house dressing (see below)
- To assemble salads, divide kale between 2 bowls.
- Top each bowl with equal amounts of quinoa, marinated adzuki beans, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, tofu steaks, grilled sweet potato, sunflower sprouts, goji berries and toasted nuts.
- Serve with dressing of your choice.
Further instructions on preparation of each included item:
Grilled sweet potato
- ½ sweet potato, cut into 4 pieces (each about ½ inch/1 cm thick)
- 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
- Heat panini grill to high or oven to 350.
- Coat sweet potato slices in oil. If using panini grill, grill until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. If using oven, place on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, turning once, until tender.
Marinated adzuki beans
- Makes 1 ½ cups
- 1 can (14 ounces) adzuki beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Marinated tofu steaks
- Makes 16 tofu steaks
- ½ cup tamari
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 block (350-450 g) extra-firm tofu
- Combine tamari, water, coriander and garlic powder in a bowl.
- Cut block of tofu in half lengthwise, then cut each half into four slices and then cut those slices on the diagonal to form 8 triangular steaks. Add to marinade.
- Cover and set aside for at least an hour, or overnight, to marinate (refrigerate if overnight)
- To cook, either grill or pan-fry with 1 to 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat until browned on both sides.
Toasted mixed nuts
- Makes 1 cup
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup raw walnuts
- ¼ cup raw pistachios
- ¼ cup raw pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Combine nuts and spread over a baking sheet.
- Bake in preheated oven until lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Use right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.
- Makes 1 ¾ cups
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon tamari
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup flax oil
- ¾ cup sunflower oil
Combine all of the ingredients — except oils — in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. (Alternatively, use a large measuring cup and an immersion blender.)
With the motor running, add oils in a thin, steady stream and blend until dressing is emulsified. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.