This Anti-Inflammatory Salad Has Just 5 Ingredients—and I Can't Stop Making It

It will become your favorite too!

a bowl of kale topped with Parmesan cheese
Photo: Jason Donnelly

If you are anything like me, you take a glance at the refrigerator once a week and realize you have tons of veggies to use up. And while I sometimes struggle to find ways to use up fresh produce, this salad combines all my kitchen staples to create a delicious lunch. I like to call it my "Kitchen-Clean-Out-Salad," and lately, I've been making it nonstop.

My salad is inspired by this five-ingredient Kale Salad with Balsamic & Parmesan recipe, but with some tweaks. This kale salad is not only amazingly simple and tasty, but it's full of anti-inflammatory ingredients. The kale, bell peppers and healthy fats from the olive oil dressing can help reduce chronic inflammation symptoms from conditions such as arthritis (which I have), while helping you feel your best.

Here's how I make my version: First, I start with a bowl of kale (which is always in my fridge). I typically serve about 1½ cups of chopped kale, although the full recipe calls for 10 cups. Since the salad recipe is pretty simple, I like to add other anti-inflammatory ingredients I have on hand. Sometimes I'll toss in cabbage or broccoli to supplement the kale base, and I also include ¾ cup of bell peppers because they're my favorite veggie. Corn, carrot strips, red onion and peas are ingredients I often cook, so if I have some leftovers, I'll throw them in too. As for the dressing, I use the same ingredients as the recipe: olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic.

After mixing it in, I like adding some carbs and protein to make sure I stay satisfied all afternoon. Generally, I love to add a half-cup of cooked whole-grain pasta to make it more of a pasta salad. If you're not a pasta fan, cooked quinoa, brown rice or farro would work just as well. Chicken or shrimp would be perfect with this recipe if you want to add some extra protein.

Once my salad is assembled, I sprinkle a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese and pine nuts on top. I also like to add a few crispy chickpeas since I make a huge batch at the beginning of every week.

Voilà! The salad is ready to enjoy. The crunchiness from the kale and chickpeas paired with the savory dressing makes this salad the perfect lunchtime meal. The whole grains from the pasta make it feel a bit more like a meal by adding some carbohydrates and fiber.

If you struggle with chronic inflammation, this salad might be a delicious way to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods.

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