Kale, squash, tomatoes, shrimp and toasted almonds combine for a nutrient-packed and tasty meal. 

Kale, squash, tomatoes, shrimp and toasted almonds combine for a nutrient-packed and tasty meal. 

I’m on the calorie counting wagon at present, as is my sweet and supportive husband. Turns out, you can’t consume two servings of everything (even if it is gluten, dairy and egg free) and drink half a bottle of wine on a near-nightly basis and not pack on a few pounds. Even if you work out. A lot. Which I do.

I downloaded MyFitnessPal and quickly realized my average calorie intake was in the stratosphere—far exceeding whatever I was burning at the gym. I did really well last week. And then we went to Tennessee/Mississippi for a wedding. And we went to Central BBQ. And we had ribs and pulled pork…and oh goodness, macaroni and cheese. That was only the first night.

Thus, back in the real world on Monday, I decided we needed to have a light, cleansing salad for dinner whilst using up some leftover pesto. That salad turned into more of a veggie bowl, but it was hearty and filling and delicious—and about 500 calories per serving.


Here’s what you’ll need:

3 small yellow squash, sliced 

1 pint organic cherry or grape tomatoes

1.5 cups kale, stems/spines removed

1 TBSP pesto (homemade or jarred—I use Central Market Organics)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 TBSP olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper 


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sliced squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender and slightly browned around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, but keep warm.

roasted squash

Place kale in a large bowl and add 1 TBSP of olive oil, salt and pepper. Massage the kale with your hands so every piece is very lightly coated in oil. Set aside.

(For the following steps, you could use the same skillet for the almonds, tomatoes and shrimp, just make sure you cook in that order---almonds, tomatoes, then shrimp.)

Heat a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sliced almonds and stir or toss frequently until they are toasted. Remove almonds from pan and set aside.

toasted-almonds

In the same or a different skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Shake the pan every 30 seconds or so. Remove tomatoes from heat once they begin to break down and turn an orange color.

In the same or a different skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Remove shrimp to a bowl and toss with the pesto sauce.

Heat a larger skillet over medium-high heat and add kale. Turn the kale often until it just begins to wilt. Remove from heat and return the kale to its bowl.

Assemble the veggie bowl in the order of your choosing. I suggest you start with kale and end with toasted almonds, but it’s a free country.

This is a colorful, nutritious and satisfying meal. It’s not the lightest, but if you put any stock in quality over quantity, it’s a winner!

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