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  1. Recipe

Kickstart Kale and Grains Bowl

4 servings

Source: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes by Neal Barnard, MD; recipe by Dreena Burton

Kickstart Kale Bowl

Once you start making salad bowls, you'll fall in love with them! Here's one to get you started.

About the Recipe

407 Calories · 17 g Protein · 18 g Fiber
Gluten-free · Nut-free

  • If using raw kale, it’s useful to break it down by massaging it. After tearing the leaves from the stalk, sprinkle them with salt and use your hands to rub and massage them for a minute or 2. Alternatively, you can steam the leaves for just a minute to soften. If using baby spinach in place of kale, you may not necessarily need to chop it as it is already bite-size. If you have extra kale or spinach, feel free to add it to other recipes like smoothies or steam it to use in pasta dishes and soups. 
  • Rinsing canned beans helps to reduce some of the sodium added in the canning process. Another way to reduce sodium when using canned beans is to purchase low-sodium varieties.
  • Slice the leftover green portion of the onion to use as an optional bowl garnish.


Makes 4 Servings

  • cooked quinoa or brown rice, cold or warm, as desired (2 cups)
  • chopped kale leaves, raw or steamed, or baby spinach leaves (3 cups)
  • cubed and cooked sweet potato (2 cups)
  • black beans, rinsed and drained (1 15-ounce can)
  • chopped bell pepper (1 cup)
  • mango chunks, fresh or frozen (3/4 cup)
  • hemp seeds (2 tbsp.)
  • freshly squeezed lime juice or red wine vinegar (2 tbsp.)
  • chopped shallots or 1 tbsp. of the white portion of a green onion (1⁄2 tbsp.)
  • Dijon mustard (1⁄2 tsp.)
  • sea salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • water, optional (1⁄4 cup + 2-3 tsp.)
  • coconut nectar or pure maple syrup (1-2 tbsp.)


  1. If you do not have any cooked quinoa on hand, prepare 1 cup (170 grams) of dry quinoa according to package directions to yield roughly 2 cups (370 grams) cooked. You may also substitute rice for the quinoa. This can be done several days in advance and served cold or reheated if preferred.

  2. Prep the remaining bowl ingredients. Chop kale so that you have about 3 cups (63 grams) chopped. You may substitute spinach for the kale. Cube and roast or steam sweet potatoes. You should have about 2 cups (400 grams) of cooked sweet potato cubes. Drain and rinse black beans, if using canned. Dice the bell pepper; you should end up with about 1 cup of chopped bell pepper.

  3. In four bowls, arrange approximately equal amounts of the quinoa or rice, kale or spinach, sweet potato, black beans, and bell pepper.

  4. In a blender, combine about 3/4 cup mango flesh (124 grams) (fresh or frozen and thawed), hemp seeds, juice of 1 lime or vinegar, the white portion of a green onion, mustard, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) of water, and 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of the syrup (or coconut nectar, if preferred). Puree until very smooth.

  5. Taste, and add 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 milliliters) water to thin (if desired) and another tablespoon of syrup or nectar to sweeten it.

  6. If you'd like to pair this dressing with some spicy foods or add an extra punch of flavor, try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 milliliters) of chopped cilantro or basil while pureeing.

  7. Add 2 tablespoons of dressing onto each bowl and save remaining dressing for other uses throughout the week.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving:
Calories: 425
Fat: 5.6 g
     Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
     Calories from Fat: 11.3%
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Protein: 17.6 g
Carbohydrates: 79.4 g
Sugar: 18.6 g
Fiber: 18.4 g
Sodium: 502 mg
Calcium: 183 mg
Iron: 5.4 mg
Vitamin C: 94.1 mg
Beta-Carotene: 11,511 mcg
Vitamin E: 3.6 mg

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