Shells & Luscious Greens

I’ve always found it slightly amusing when someone says to me ,“You know there are more calories and fat in a salad than there are in a burger and fries!” Now, we know that is an exaggeration, but the person justifying their burger has a point: when you look at the sodium, fat and cholesterol in some of the most popular salads, it is atrocious. Heaped high with avocado, eggs, high calorie dressing and fried chicken strips, some salads can pack 1000 calories! What’s worse, many complain of not being full after making a salad a meal. One thing that making a salad at home can do is, help you lower the calories, and also to find a way to repurpose leftovers that may have otherwise gone to waste.When a salad is made with a generous amount of leafy greens, you can get more of your daily vegetable servings in before the day is over. Green leafy vegetables are surprising powerful as immune system warriors although most associate citrus fruits with getting well over a cold. Did you know that 1 serving of kale has 290% Vitamin A and 190% vitamin C for your daily intake? Yet, we hardly ever hear anyone say, “I’m not feeling so well, I think I’ll go make some kale.”  Some find kale to be a bit of a rough green to eat raw. In nice thin shreds, kale is delicious and easier to blend into salads. I added the shell pasta to introduce an additional dimension of texture to the salad grazing. Enjoy!

*The salad in the picture is photographed with vegan chicken, but you may use any assortment of beans, tofu, salmon, or roasted chicken you may have left over in your fridge.

Serves: 1

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes


  • Kale, 1 cup, shredded
  • Spinach, 1 cup, roughly chopped
  • Pine nuts, 1 TBSP
  • Pea shoots, 20 to 30 shoots
  • Green olives, pitted, 10 olives
  • ½ lemon
  • Grapeseed oil, 2 tsp
  • Your choice of protein, seasoned and cooked, 3 oz (Cold leftovers are great)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Conchiglie (shell) pasta
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Skillet/ Frying pan/ Wok

  1. Measure ½ cup dry shell pasta and cook according to al dente instructions. Drain when complete and allow to cool.
  2. Heat skillet on medium high, and once it is heated, add 1 TBSP of pine nuts to toast for 15 to 30 seconds, or until browned. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.
  3.  In a large mixing bowl, add kale, spinach, pasta, pine nuts and olives. Toss with 2 tsp grapeseed oil, 1 TBSP balsamic,  1/8 tsp sea salt, pepper to taste, and ¼ lemon wedge. Mix well.
  4. Place mixed contents onto plate or bowl they will be eaten from.
  5. Place your protein of chicken, seafood or beans on top of the bed of greens, Cut off about 2 to 3 inches of the ends of the pea shoots, and arrange on top of the protein.
  6.  Drizzle the juice of another ¼ lemon over the salad once more along with a dash of salt and pepper.

7 thoughts on “Shells & Luscious Greens

  1. You have to remember that there are better sources of calories and fat than others. I’d much rather drink 1000 calories of olive oil than I would beef fat – from both a health and taste perspective. anyway, this salad looks fantastic. I can’t get enough olives 🙂

  2. Nice post / recipe and it is funny that salads are not always that “healthy”. I have read that many people get more than 1/2 of their fat from salad dressing.

  3. This was a great inspiration….I made a salad using shredded kale and white beans, with a simple vinegarette and some parmesan. My family loved it, even though they were a bit suspicious of raw kale. It was even better after it had marinated overnight.

    Thanks for another super idea!

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