Monday night marked another episode of The Smart Kitchen: Live!* at Whole Foods. [Or, another cooking class led by me. ]
When ‘my people’ at Whole Foods contacted me about helping lead a few cooking classes as part of their sponsored Engine 2 Diet Challenge during February, I, of course, jumped at the chance. [Not literally, but I did slightly hop in my chair.]
If you aren’t familiar with the Engine 2 Diet that’s OK. I’m not an expert either. I do know that it is the plant-strong diet designed by Rip Esselstyn in response to the declining health of his firehouse coworkers in Austin, Texas, (whoo hoo!) and has since inspired the film Forks Over Knives and built the foundational ‘four pillars’ of Whole Foods’ own Health Starts Hereprogram. The diet has a 28-Day Challenge to kickstart a conversion to a plant-based diet, which is altogether too perfect for attempting en masse during the month of February. [Unless it is a leap year, obviously.] The weekly support classes are organized around specific meals, and this week was lunch. Much of the diet focuses on open-faced sandwiches on whole grain, oil-free bread or wraps in equally clean ‘cases.’
What makes a great sandwich? A great sandwich spread.*
*And as many veggies as possible. I set up a makeshift Subway, with some of Whole Foods’ yummy sprouted six-seed bread as a base, and taught not one, but two simple sandwich spreads (or spreadable dips) to combine with assorted vegetables. As Rip–the founder of the Engine 2 Diet –is known for his “Kale” shirts, it seemed only appropriate that the first of these spreadable dips would feature his favorite leafy green.
Clearly I also still had walnuts on the brain.
In the book, there is a Kale Butter recipe made from walnuts and kale. I combined this idea with my previously-created (and beloved) Garlicky Kale and Artichoke Sandwich Spread and Artichoke Pesto Hummus to create an Artichoke, Kale, and Cannelini Spread made from raw kale. Raw kale is raw kale, so the flavor is VERY ‘green.’ If you aren’t a fan, try steaming the kale a bit first, as I did in my previous forays into using kale for a sandwich spread.
Raw Kale, Artichoke, and Cannelini Spread[Makes 4 cups]
1 large bunch of kale, ‘de-boned’ [400g with stems, 275g leaves]
1 1/2 cups no-salt added cannelini (or other white) beans
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup water (optional, depending on desired consistency)
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. herbes de provence (or other seasoning blend of your choice)
1 Tbsp. minced roasted garlic
2-3 tsp. Bragg’s liquid aminos or low-sodium tamari
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredientins in a food processor, except kale.
Add kale in small batches, processing until smooth each time.