A recipe for massaged kale salad with butternut squash and roasted chickpeas from “Cut the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough”by Ella Leché .
Her name is Ella Leché and she’s the recipe developer and photographer behind the blog Pure Ella as well as the cookbook “Cut the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough”. You may recognize the name, as she filled in for me while I was taking some time off when I had my baby.
Her first cookbook perfectly captures her passion for the plant-based whole foods diet that changed her life and gave her back her energy. She’s took her health into her own hands and hopes to inspire others to do so as well. Her book includes a variety of simple but elegant recipes anyone can dive into and enjoy whether you happen to follow a vegan diet or not. Ella and I wanted to share with you a recipe for her massaged kale salad with roasted butternut squash from the book. But first she was kind enough to take the time to stop by to answer some questions.
1.) Tell us a little about yourself and your health journey.
I’m Ella from Pure Ella and I’m so excited to be here on Gourmande in the Kitchen! I’m all about inspiring people to eat healthier to feel good and live happier! I also released a cookbook entitled Cut the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough that shares over 100 recipes and teaches people to form healthy sugar habits! Food has literally transformed my life from a rare illness where I wasn’t able to walk on my own… and now it’s been my saving grace and a way to not only heal from a devastating muscle disease, but to now thriving in full energy, strength and happiness! My secret for my wellbeing has been all thanks to relearning how to eat properly and cutting out sugar (but not quitting it entirely) I also learned that you can enjoy the sweet side of life and have a little treat and not feel deprived. P.S I’m also a mom of two girls 🙂
2.) What’s your stance on sugar? I see lots of delicious desserts in your book!
My stance on sugar can be summed up in these three words: Quality AND Quantity! (with a huge emphasis on the ‘and’ because usually I still see the wrong advice out there. People either think they can’t have any sugar at all, they feel deprived, they get emotional and usually end up bingeing and giving into their cravings. Or, I see people thinking that they can just replace the sugar with something healthier and be fine. Also, when I refer to the quality of sugar, it’s important to emphasize that a natural unrefined form of sugar (like coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, coconut nectar, etc.) are so much better for you than refined white sugar or other highly processed sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. I only use the highest quality sweeteners in my recipes in the book and blog! 🙂
3.)Who is this book for?
Cut the Sugar is for everyone who enjoys FOOD! I share such a variety of recipes from breakfast, lunch, salads, soups, dinner, beverages, snacks and yes, even desserts! These recipes are also meant for everyone meaning that they are plant-based so you can add fish or chicken to them and customize as you wish. Most recipes are also gluten-free, grain-free and many paleo so that you focus on healthier carbohydrates as they affect your blood sugar also. Overall, it’s filled with fun and delicious recipes, some simple and some quite inventive to excite you to make amazing healthy food that you will enjoy with pure pleasure (and not feel deprived one bit!)
4.) Name three personal favorite recipes from the book you think everyone should try first.
I have so many favourites but one of my go-to life saving recipes has been the Healthy Three-Ingredient Chocolate Pudding - this is such a game changer for those weak moments when you’re craving sugar and/ or chocolate and you have to give in… but you make this instead which is SO good and good-for-you! I also make the Chia Waffles on the weekends for the kids and I’ve learned to double the recipe in my head so that I just make more because they disappear straight off the waffle iron. Another favourite of mine and my daughter’s is the Superseed Savory Granola - this recipe really excites your tastebuds and stops you from thinking about sugary snacks because there’s so much flavour, protein, healthy fats that your belly and brain end up super happy! Healthy snacks are one of the key ways to cut sugar the healthy way and I get into that a bit in the book and share many recipes for healthy and delicious snacks.
5.) Do you have any quick advice or tips for people who want to cut the sugar and beat sugar cravings?
A quick tip to help people cut sugar cravings is to NOT skip meals! I see this all the time when people (especially women) are either too busy to grab a healthy meal at a regular time or they don’t reach for the right snacks in between meals, or they refrain from eating and delay the meal-time on purpose usually because they associate food negatively because they want to watch their weight or waist line. Food is a form of nourishment and we need healthy food to fuel us throughout the day - adapting healthy meals and snacks throughout the day makes you feel fuller longer and helps you keep your blood sugar stable - this alone prevents roller coaster sugar highs and lows and prevents you from mad sugar cravings later. This is just one tip that for me was life-changing because I didn’t always have a good approach to meal-times and snacks and was always a busy business woman who wanted to stay skinny. Now I know this is a recipe for disaster and I also see how I wasn’t alone in this - adapting healthy eating habits will help you so much in becoming healthier in general, have consistent energy throughout the day, and it even helps you lose weight if that’s what you’re after. Mind you, I’m the last person who would promote weight loss, but as a woman and mom I also know how women struggle with this so much. Basically, if you focus on eating healthy and learn to take care of yourself from the inside out with healthy pure food that makes you happy - you eat less of the bad stuff and that includes sugar! So cutting the sugar isn’t all about eating less sugar ~ it’s about enjoying delicious healthy food with balance so you don’t feel deprived but are happy and healthy!
"Kale needs to be rubbed the right way... a little oil and muscle makes those tough leaves soft and more delicate and more delicious.This salad is lovely on a fall or winter day, I like it when the butternut squash is still warm from being roasted in the oven."
For the Wildly Delicious Roasted Chickpeas:
- 2 tbsp with ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 can chickpeas (about 1 ½ cups), rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp spicy hungarian paprika or child powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
For the Kale Salad:
- 1 butternut squash, (This is a great recipe to use leftover roasted butternut squash.)
- 2 packed handfuls of raw kale leaves (curly or dino is great, but any variety will do)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
Make the Wildly Delicious Roasted Chickpeas:
- Preheat oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix ground flax seeds with water and set aside for about 5 minutes.
- Place all the other ingredients into another bowl, add the flax mixture and chickpeas and toss to combine well. Scoop out onto the baking sheet and spread out evenly.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, tossing the mixture halfway through the baking time to break it up. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the baking sheet.
- Enjoy on its own as a snack or add to salads and soups.
Make the Massaged Kale Salad:
- Wash and de-stem the kale leaves, basically you’re removing the soft leafy parts from the stem by grabbing it with your fingers and pulling off. Place shredded pieces of kale into a bowl and add in the olive oil and lemon juice and salt. Put your clean hands in there and give the leaves a good massage for about 5 minutes. The more massaging the kale gets the softer the leaves become (and thus more delicious).
- Add the other ingredients and toss with salad tongs to fully incorporate. Dice some of the roasted butternut squash and place on top (can be still warm). Top with roasted chickpeas and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 275Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 4g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
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Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.