I eat a lot of salads. A LOT of salads. I’m talking almost every day at work. I typically brown-bag it to work, because let’s be honest, I’m balling on a budget here. Every morning, I fly through my kitchen, throwing together my typical spinach-chicken-carrot-onion-dressing mix without even blinking an eye. This week, as I sat down on my lunch break for my ‘usual’, it dawned on me that I was in a serious salad rut (it’s a thing, I swear). So I thought ‘No more! You’re better than this!’, and I got right to it.
I’ll admit, the concoction I came up with is not the most creative salad on the internet. There are probably people out there who would scoff at the fact that I am deeming this creative at all. But I swear to you, changing up your greens and/or your protein choice will honestly change your world. Baby steps, kids. (And on another note, who cares what other people think?!) So when I started scoping the internet for ideas for a new salad this week, I knew I wanted to do something with fish. I rarely eat darker meat and chicken gets pretty boring after a while, so fish seemed like the logical choice. Salmon is usually my go-to fish option (packed with omega-3 fatty acids and delicious to boot, what’s not to love?), but that felt too routine for me and I was trying to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone, so I went out on a limb and scooped up some ahi tuna at the market. When I’m at a restaurant, my eyes automatically fall on any dish with ahi in it, but I never make it at home for some unknown reason. I think I was scared it would be too challenging to prepare, but I could not have been more wrong. It was so easy!
Considering I’m in Chicago (aka smack dab in the middle of the country located near exactly zero oceans), there isn’t a whole lot of fresh tuna to come by around these parts. Good news is, frozen ahi works just as great in this recipe! A common misconception is that frozen or canned ingredients are ‘less healthy’ than fresh ingredients, but that is not necessarily true. Sometimes packaged goods do have more sodium to help preserve them, but checking the sodium content on the label is a good indication as to what you’re getting yourself into before diving into your meal. Pretty simple, am I right?! Something to note is that ahi tuna is a leaner cut than albacore, thus, lower in omega-3 fatty acids. Still delicious and nutritious, don’t get me wrong, but if you are looking for those heart-healthy fats in your salad, swap albacore tuna for ahi in the recipe below to get the most bang for your buck.
Seared Ahi Kale Salad
Yield: 1 large dinner salad
1 ahi tuna steak
2 cups raw kale
1/4 cup uncooked white quinoa
1/4 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup shredded carrot
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
1 whole lemon, juiced
- Rinse and prepare quinoa per package instructions.
- Whisk together olive oil, honey, and lemon juice in small bowl.
- In a larger bowl, massage dressing into the kale. Yes, you read that right: massage it. Kale is a tough, fibrous vegetable. To take some of the toughness out of it, you need to give it a little TLC before serving. Nothing too long, just 2-3 minutes to incorporate the dressing and soften the kale should do the trick. You’ll thank me later – it makes it more palatable, trust me!
- Add shredded carrots, diced onions, and quinoa to salad bowl.
- In medium skillet over medium heat, sear dat tuna. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on personal preference.
- Dish the cooked tuna over the salad in a big ol’ bowl. Pour some vino (not included in recipe, this is just an additional recommendation). Turn on The Bachelorette. Eat, sip, enjoy.