Spring is one of Florida's beautifully subtle seasons, when we get a jump on our neighbors to the North with blueberries, sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon. It's also time for one of the divas' favorite outings, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (through May 17), showcasing our state's fabulous farms and flora.
This year they've ramped up the food to include all sort of wonderful tastes at little Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase Lagoon – what a perfect place to nosh and burn off calories.
One of this year's new dishes is this vegetarian, gluten-free kale salad, a bowl packed with protein and good-for-you crunch. You'll find it at the Urban Farm Eats kiosk, but it's also super-easy to make at home.
Kale Salad With Dried Cherries, Almonds and Goat Cheese
Serves 6-8 as side salad or 4 as entrée
1/2 bunch kale leaves, tough stems removed, chopped (about 2 cups)
6 fresh Brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced thin lengthwise
2 cups broccoli slaw mix
1/2 cup chopped radicchio leaves
1/2 cup fine shredded green cabbage
1 cup cooked red quinoa (approximately 1/3 cup uncooked, follow package directions)
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, for topping
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for topping
White Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Mix together all ingredients for Kale Salad in large bowl. For vinaigrette, place shallots, vinegar and honey in blender or food processor. Blend on low and slowly add olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, toss salad with desired amount of white balsamic vinaigrette and top with goat cheese and toasted almonds. (Refrigerate any unused balsamic vinaigrette.)
Diva confession: Quinoa (keen-wah) is a seed, not a grain, with a super amount of protein and fiber. Rinse thoroughly in a strainer before cooking to remove any powdery residue. If you can't find red quinoa (keen-wah), it's all right to use the plain brown variety, though the red has a slightly earthier flavor. And you can also substitute rice.