Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad

Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad | Recipe | KaleAndAle.com

Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad

As the weather gets colder, I gravitate toward warmer, heartier dishes. However, my love for salads doesn’t subside just because the temperatures drop, so a heartier and warmer dish is in order. Like many who live in cold and snowy (although not yet, I’ll take it!) climates, I am looking for more substantial food in the winter. Combining kale with the Minnesota favorite wild rice creates a filling and chewy salad that holds up as either a side or a lighter main dish. And the deep red pomegranate seeds provide a pop of flavor that is worth the minimal effort of getting the seeds from the fruit. (Learn how to deseed a pomegranate.)

I love making this salad because the vinaigrette only gets better over time, so make it on a Sunday and have it as an easy side dish or quick lunch early in the week. The recipe only calls for half the vinaigrette for the kale, but it’s a warming topping full of flavor that if you are like me, you’ll be adding more to the salad so the rice can soak it up.

Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad dressing | KaleAndAle

It’s important to massage the kale with the vinaigrette so the kale wilts a little.

By leaving out the optional parmesan or feta cheese, this gluten-free recipe is also vegan, or is vegetarian with the addition of a salty cheese. And because the salad tastes good cold or room temperature, it makes a festive holiday dish that everyone can enjoy. Because you are cooking the rice while getting the rest of the salad ready, it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare.

Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad | Recipe | KaleAndAle.com
Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad
Print Recipe
A hearty and filling wither salad that is great as a side dish or main meal.
Servings Prep Time
3-6 people, depending if main or side dish 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-6 people, depending if main or side dish 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad | Recipe | KaleAndAle.com
Kale, wild rice and pomegranate salad
Print Recipe
A hearty and filling wither salad that is great as a side dish or main meal.
Servings Prep Time
3-6 people, depending if main or side dish 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-6 people, depending if main or side dish 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings: people, depending if main or side dish
  1. For the vinaigrette, in a bowl or shaker add the cumin, vinegar, oil and salt and pepper and blend. Set aside.
  2. Place the kale in a large bowl, top with half the vinaigrette and massage into the kale to slightly wilt for a few minutes.
  3. Fold in the rice and pomegranate seeds.
  4. Top with cheese or nutritional yeast (if using) and more vinaigrette if desired. Can be eaten right away or later to let flavors develop, cold or at room temperature.
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A real vegetarian’s view on fake meat


A real vegetarian's view on fake meat | Kale And Ale

Flickr photo by Ginny

Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike seem split into two camps on fake or mock meat products: They are a godsend or vilified if one doesn’t eat meat.

When I became a vegetarian, I often relied on fake meat. As a high schooler always on the go, it was a simple, quick and filling option. And it made the transition to a meat-free lifestyle easier because I was making and eating fake versions of things I was familiar with.

Once in college and on my own, I took the time to learn how to cook more food. I educated myself on eating a balanced diet that doesn’t include meat. I explored new foods and how to make meals that include protein without having meat at the center of the plate. I met other vegetarians and tried new types of foods that were more readily available in my college town.

The very first recipe I made when I became a vegetarian at 15 is still one of the easiest and most favorite recipe in my go-to arsenal, the chickpea patty. What inspired me to make more patties (and my own food in general) was getting tired of looking at ingredients on prepared foods and not knowing or being able to pronounce what the heck I was reading.

I’ve never been one of those people looking down on others or shaming them for wanting a veggie burger, or chicken wings or the like. I crave a veggie brat at cookouts in the summer. (Check out this awesome, flavorful recipe for homemade brats.) Breaded buffalo tofu is part of a tasty meal with a beer. But I don’t eat these things because I crave or miss meat. I desire them because they are really flavorful and/or bring back good food memories and shared experiences—a brat around a picnic table with family or breaded tofu watching a game with friends.

I’m more than fine not eating the mock loaf shaped like an animal. I haven’t missed meat since one week after I stopped eating it. But I will have a flat, chewy food containing protein that i made myself on my plate this Thanksgiving (most likely Isa Chandra’s chickpea cutlets), and I’ll make sure its covered in (vegetarian) gravy. Not because I’m missing the turkey on my plate that everyone else is eating, but because I want to be part of the shared experience.

What’s your view on fake meats and why? Please note if you’re vegetarian/vegan or a meat eater.

Vegetarian main foods to make for Thanksgiving

If you aren’t eating meat, it doesn’t meat you can’t have a filling main dish. Here are some suggestions featured on Kale and Ale. Other ideas can be found on my Pinterest board.

Baked Portobello Parmesan

Cauliflower steaks

Chickpea cutlets

Mushroom roll

Craft Beer Events Bingo

Once you start getting into craft beer, going to bars that have a good (hopefully rotating) selection of brews, or following bars and resources on social media, you will become aware of craft beer events, festivals, tastings and release events. At these events, you are likely to see the same types of people and happenings. It’s often so expected and cliché, you might become surprised when you don’t see it.

I recently wrote about going to Surly Darkness Day, and this weekend I went to the largest Surly tap takeover ever, 36 taps of Surly! Being a beer I really like being held close enough where I could bike, these have been exciting events for me.


These types of events bring out all kinds of people. This is awesome, as everyone is in a different place for craft beer or has a different reason to love it. Some people are curious and new to the scene, some come to get rare beers (as is the case for me at the tap takeover), some just like a good party. The reason for everyone is different, but the goal is to have a good time and enjoy a drink or two. I’m the type of person who seeks out new beers, so I’ve been to an event or two in my day. And since I love watching people and am curious and detail oriented, I’ve noticed some similarities in all the events.

Kale and Ale Beer Bingo

With that, I have with the help of my friend Kim, also a craft beer event fan, put together a bingo card that can be used at craft beer events and festivals. Click the card below and you will be taken to 16 Bingo cards where the words (think: pretzel necklace, person wearing unironic beer shirt, baby in stroller or hanging from parent) are in different boxes. If you use this, let me know how it goes over and how accurate it was (or feel free in the comments below to suggest more/new/different words to add).

Beer Bingo | KaleAndAle.com


First Time Brewing Beer

Valerie Bitter Birthday | KaleAndAle

Enjoying the first brew, it was a tasty success!

If you like Kale and Ale on Facebook, I have posted pictures of my first homebrew adventure. I won’t post much now because I hope you have been following along, but if not, here are a few thoughts!

I attended a class a few years ago about brewing my own beer. They kept saying you can both mess it up and not mess it up, and the risk seemed too great to lay down all the money to get equipment. In steps a boyfriend with equipment, a science mind and experience! OK, I’m in.

We went to Northern Brewer and picked out an extract kit, which gave detailed directions, and even if you have questions, Northern Brewer is there to help, as they asked if we had any questions, had the right yeast, etc., before leaving. We opted for a bitter pale ale based on the temperature where it would be stored and our tastes in beer.

Sterilize beer | KaleAndAle

Had to realize when things had been sterilized. Don’t be that guy who ruins the beer, Val!

The hardest part of brew day was that it took some time and that everything had to be sterilized and it was so hard to remind myself what had been sterilized and to not touch it after the fact. But it was great adding hops smelling them and knowing how when they are added in the boil process will affect the outcome. At the end of brew day I was really giddy. Each step along the way was quick and another step closer to beer. Every day I would run to the carboy and look at the progress as it was moving along.

First ferment | KaleAndAle

First fermenter is active.

Second ferment | KaleAndAle

Moving to the second fermenter and dry hopped the beer.

Opening the first bottle and hearing the carbonation escape was a relief, and I loved tasting the hard work that we made.

Bitter Birthday bottle | KaleAndAle

Capping it old school.

Since then, we have talked about what style we might make next, creating our own recipe based off what we know about beer, what we have read and our preferences. As a recipe developer, this is very exciting for me and sounds like the perfect winter activity.

Do you brew beer? If so, how did you get into it and what memorable experiences do you have?

FLYJOY Energy Bar Review (Giveaway Closed)

(Disclaimer: FLYJOY provided me a pack of bars to review at no cost. All opinions are my own.)

Hiking2 FLYJOY | KaleAndAle

FLYJOY is a great addition to hiking shoes and water, ready to go!

Late this summer I ran out of the energy bars I’ve been eating on my hikes, after runs and at the pool. I liked them, but they are vegetarian and this was about the time I decided to eat a more vegan diet, so I wanted to find a wholesome alternative. About the same time Madison from FLYJOY asked if any bloggers wanted to try the food, I took the opportunity. I mean, they are made in Iowa(!!), how can I not give them a chance?

I was excited to try these, as the flavors available are so diverse. When I received the bars, the first thing I did was flip them over to see how the ingredients and nutrition compare to other brands. If you are a reader of Kale and Ale, you are aware that I love making my energy bites, so protein and ingredients are important to me. Each bar has 4 grams protein and feature fiber and iron, and most importantly I recognize the ingredients and they are items I use in my own energy bites-think fruit, oils I know, quinoa, oats, almonds and chia seeds. And they are vegan and gluten free.

FLYJOY bars | KaleAndAleAn important factor to me for the food I’m eating is that it tastes like it would if I made it myself and that it doesn’t have artificial or unneeded tastes. FLYJOY bars certainly do not, so much so that after one bite I made a comment about that. The texture is slightly sticky and chewy, and you can taste the flavors mixed together. The cookie dough definitely tastes like a lightly sweetened cookie. The big get is that I’m not a fan of coconut, so much so that it often overpowers what I’m eating or drinking, but this added a hint of sweetness to the almond coconut bar. My favorite is Cranberry Almond but there isn’t a bad flavor in the bunch.


And now the fun part. I like them, I talk about how good they taste, and now you can find out for yourself! Thanks to FLYJOY, they are offering a pack of energy bars to one lucky reader. You must be 18 or older and have a U.S. mailing address. The contest starts at midnight Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, and runs until Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, midnight Eastern U.S. time. Winner will be picked at random via Rafflecopter< a Rafflecopter giveaway