Creamy Kale Salad w/ Cracked Pepper Polenta Croutons – Gluten-free and Vegan

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

I so happy to have Sherrie of With Food + Love  joining us today as our guest blogger, with an incredible, super-yummy looking gluten-free and vegan creamy kale salad with polenta croutons. Sherrie has been an absolute godsend this month while I am away at Yoga Teacher Training, helping me with all kinds of Tasty Yummies related tasks each day. So thank you, thank you, thank you Sherrie!! 

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Creamy Kale Salad w/ Cracked Pepper Polenta Croutons - Gluten-free + Vegan

Hey guys – I’m Sherrie the girl behind the fresh vegetarian + naturally gluten-free food blog, With Food + Love. I’m both honored + excited to be guest posting today on Tasty Yummies. Beth is one of my most fave bloggers – like, ever, and I’m a pretty lucky to girl to call her both my colleague and my friend. Her style is simple, clean + honest; just the way I like it.

Creamy Kale Salad w/ Cracked Pepper Polenta Croutons - Gluten-free + Vegan

Winter is a time for stillness, a time to quiet your mind and keep things simple. I especially love January because it’s a time of reflection and healthy eating. After all those cookies, cakes and cocktails our bodies are just starving for some greens! While Beth is away getting her yoga training on, I’m bringing you this Creamy Kale Salad w/ Cracked Pepper Polenta Croutons, served with a naturally dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan garlic basil dressing.

Creamy Kale Salad w/ Cracked Pepper Polenta Croutons - Gluten-free + Vegan

Ingredients:
1 head of tuscan kale
1/2 cup raw cashews {soaked for 1 hour in room temperature filtered water}
1 head of garlic
1 teaspoon of olive or coconut oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
5 large fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup almond milk or preferred non-dairy milk
generous amounts of sea salt + coarse ground pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
To prepare the kale, wash and remove the leaf from the center rib. Slice it into thin strips and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
You can roast your garlic while you are preparing your polenta. To prepare the garlic bulb for roasting peel off excess papery leaves the outside of the bulb. Cut the tops off the bulb, about a 1/4 of an inch. Place the bulb with the bottom down in an oven safe dish, drizzle with a touch olive or coconut oil and roast for about 20-25 minutes or until soft and slightly brown.

Allow the roasted garlic to cool and then it should pop right out of it’s shell with ease! In a blender or food processor combine the garlic cloves, soaked cashews (drained), fresh basil leaves, lemon juice, milk and plenty of sea salt and pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Toss the shredded kale with about 1/4 cup (or more) of the dressing and set aside until polenta croutons are done crisping.

*You can store the extra dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator; will last last for at least 4-5 days

Creamy Kale Salad w/ Cracked Pepper Polenta Croutons - Gluten-free + Vegan

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup organic polenta, I use de la Estancia Organic Polenta
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
parchment paper
Once the garlic comes out of the oven, turn it up to 450 degrees.
In a medium saute pan, bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and add in the polenta, pepper and sea salt. Stir with a whisk until the water is fully absorbed and the polenta becomes thickened (if you are using the polenta brand mentioned above, the thickening process should only take about 2-3 minutes).
Line a small baking dish with parchment paper. I used a small bread loaf pan, but any small baking dish will do. Pour the polenta into the dish, then press and evenly distribute the polenta. Put the polenta into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes, just enough to set it and take the heat off of it. Remove it from the freezer and take the edges of the parchment paper and pop the polenta out of the pan. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut the polenta into crouton sized bites.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle just a wee bit of olive or coconut oil onto the paper, about 1 teaspoon. Spread the croutons evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy, flip and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve these little guys hot on top of the salad and enjoy! 

Creamy Kale Salad w/ Cracked Pepper Polenta Croutons - Gluten-free + Vegan

Sherrie is a Certified Health Coach + Food Blogger. She specializes in helping women and families eat clean, cook well + feel good, through real food, veggies galore + lots and lots of love. Currently she lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and very sociable cat. Together they enjoy the simplest parts of life like snuggling up with a big cup of earl grey tea or catching a flick at their local independent theater.
Connect with her: FacebookTwitterInstagram + Pinterest

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gabby @ the veggie nook January 15, 2014 at 8:36 am

Oh goodness this looks amazing! I can’t wait to check out your blog, how have I never seen it??

Thanks Beth for introducing us to Sherrie!

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2 ziggy January 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

YUM!

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3 Julia January 18, 2014 at 9:29 am

Where does the fresh basil go? Into the dressing or sliced/torn into the kale?

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4 Betty January 14, 2015 at 7:58 am

I haven’t made the actual salad yet, but it’s on my list…Anyway, just wanted to say the gf polenta croutons (which I used in a vegan Ceasar salad) were amazing!! I made my own polenta at home, and they tasted a lot like “regular” croutons, maybe even a little better! Can’t wait to try the whole salad!

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