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This is a delicious, warm and filling salad for lunch or dinner that I crave this time of year…one that’s bursting with the flavors of fall but not bursting with calories.  And, by using a store bought rotisserie chicken, it’s a perfect supper on a busy night that can be pulled together in less than 15 minutes!

The dark and dreamy green of this hearty dish is dinosaur kale. Also known as Tuscan kale or black kale, it’s now widely available at farmers markets and grocery stores nationwide.

Super low in calories but dense in texture and flavor, kale is also packed with nutrients researchers say fight at least five types of cancer, lower cholesterol and inflammation and help your body remove toxins.

A tablespoon of chopped walnuts (100 calories) provides more antioxidants, protein, taste and texture as 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries contribute a chewy element that’s both sweet and tart for just another 40 calories. And while 4 ounces of roasted chicken adds 180 calories to this dish, it also contributes a whopping 34 grams of protein, more than half the protein most average women need in a day.

But the real secret to this salad is in the dressing.  Skinny Maple Balsamic has just 1/1oth of the calories of the original version..and lacks nothing in taste. (FYI, The recipe makes far more than you’ll need for this salad, but make it anyway. It will be your favorite dressing through the holiday season.)

So stop by the market on the way home, grab a cooked chicken and some kale and savor this quick and easy antidote to a busy fall day in a tasty and skinny way!


(Note: If you’ve never used kale in a salad, there is just one simple trick to know: kale (like you and I) loves to be massaged with a scant bit of oil. You won’t believe its transformation from tough leaf to soft and delicious green!)

1 small bunch dinosaur kale, leaves stripped from tough stems

1/2 t good olive oil

1 T chopped walnuts

2 T dried cranberries

2 T sliced shallots

4 oz sliced roasted chicken breast

1-2 T Skinny Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

squeeze of fresh lemon, optional

Wash the kale and dry well.

Holding the thick end of the stem, use your other hand to pull down on the leaves, stripping them from the stem, and tear into bite size pieces.

Pour 1/2 t of olive oil into your palm and massage the kale well for about a minute.

The leaves will go from dry and tough to shiny and supple and collapse in bulk by almost half.

Sprinkle with 1-2 T of Skinny Maple Vinaigrette and toss with your hands again, tasting the greens to see if you need to add a bit of salt.

Whether you finish the salad in the bowl or arrange it on a plate, top it with the walnuts, cranberries and shallots and the 4 oz of roasted chicken (about the size of a deck of playing cards.)

If serving to guests, I generally slice the chicken into strips because I think it’s prettier that way.

All in, that huge plate of flavor, texture, bulk and nutrition is only 350 calories! So jump into fall, love the leaves, on trees or in salads… and Celebrate the Season as You Get Skinny!!

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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