This Kale, Brown Rice, and Veggie Salad is sweet and savory (and crunchy too!), and it’s bursting with brain-healthy nutrients. Kale and other dark leafy greens, including spinach, arugula, and collard greens, contain kaempferol, a flavonol that’s been strongly linked to reduce cognitive decline and the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, kaempferol has anti-inflammatory properties, which also play a positive role in brain health.
To add ease to this recipe—and mealtime in general—turn to nourishing convenience ingredients. For this salad, grab a carton of pre-washed baby kale (or spinach), boil-in-a-bag of microwavable brown rice, and pecan pieces. And feel free to customize the ingredients to your family’s liking. Swap pecans with walnuts, sliced almonds, or shelled pistachios; add toasted pumpkin seeds for even more crunch; try cooked quinoa or wild rice instead of brown rice; or give the salad a Tex-Mex spin with cilantro (instead of parsley) and lime juice (instead of lemon juice). To transform this sumptuous side dish into a main meal, top each colorful bowl with MIND Diet-friendly protein foods, such as cooked shrimp, salmon, chickpeas, roasted chicken, or canned tuna.
4cupspacked baby kale or baby spinach, roughly choppedOption: Set half the leaves aside and keep them whole.
2cupscooked brown rice or other whole grain
3green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1large orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice, about 1½ cups
½cupfresh parsley, roughly chopped
½cuptoasted pecans, roughly chopped
½cupdried cranberries or raisins
¼cupextra virgin olive oil
Zest of half a lemon
1small garlic clove, minced
A few pinches/teaspoon black pepper
Drizzle of honey
Place the kale, rice, onions, celery, bell pepper, parsley, pecans, and cranberries in a large bowl and stir to combine.
To make the dressing, place the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and honey in a small container with a tight-fitting lid, and shake to combine.
Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Created by Liz Weiss, MS, RDN
Liz is a registered dietitian nutritionist and has been passionate about healthy food and family nutrition for over 20 years. NeuroReserve is very pleased to partner with Liz to develop brain healthy recipes for Brain Table. Liz is the founder of Liz’s Healthy Table, an online platform providing countless resources centered on real food and family friendly recipes. Liz develops new innovative healthy recipes, hosts a bi-weekly foodie focused podcast and makes cooking videos that are sure to inspire the everyday cook. She also teaches hands-on and virtual cooking classes and nutrition basics to school children in and around Boston through a program called Kids Cooking Green. Liz’s mission is to help families of all ages and stripes discover the joy of wholesome and delicious food.