back to basics

i'm feeling the need for a re-start! this hits me about every six months or so, and it's this overwhelming need to think differently about taking care of myself. i do *most* of the things you're supposed to - i eat healthy, work out every day, wear sunscreen, don't smoke, etc. but there's a lot that i can do better - get more sleep, invest in good skincare, drink more water, etc. i've never been someone who has paid much attention to hair care or make-up, but what i AM highly attuned to is how my body's feeling. in the winter, it tends to feel a little bit in need of rejuvenation. that's my cue to step up fresh, simple ingredients. 

tzatziki salad with turkey, kale and feta meatballs || planting my roots
tzatziki salad with turkey, kale and feta meatballs || planting my roots
tzatziki salad with turkey, kale and feta meatballs || planting my roots

this recipe is exactly that - minimal ingredients (and ALL recognizable), fresh and favorable. it's protein-heavy, so you'll feel fuller longer, and brininess of the feta pairs perfectly with all the veggies. at first, i thought i'd top this salad with my standard tahini dressing, but when i realized i'd have extra cucumber to spare, i was inspired to whip together a very simple, four ingredient tzatziki dressing. 

it's very rare that i cook meat. as a vegetarian for several years, i've always felt as though i missed the boat on learning how to prepare even something as simple as roasted chicken. so, this is my first bold attempt at posting a "meat-centric" recipe on the blog. i'm mainly a very plant-based eater, but this is a healthy mix of both. 

as simple as this salad is in both ingredients and preparation, these turkey meatballs could really be taken in so many different directions. you could consider tossing into this salad lemony chickpeas, a mix of olives or extra feta. you could wrap up these meatballs in warm pita, red onion and tahini sauce. you could serve them over a bed of hummus, topped with sesame seeds and parsley. you could toss them into a big bowl of marinara sauce and spaghetti. you could, you could, you could.... also just consider sticking a toothpick in them and eating them as is!

tzatziki salad with turkey, kale and feta meatballs || planting my roots
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tzatziki salad with turkey, kale and feta meatballs || planting my roots
tzatziki salad with turkey, kale and feta meatballs || planting my roots

tzatziki salad with turkey, kale and feta meatballs

what you'll need:

for turkey, kale and feta meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 cups kale, stems removed and finely chopped
1 large egg
1/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

for remaining salad components
1/2 large cucumber, quartered
8 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered
several handfuls mix of leafy greens (arugula, spinach, kale, etc.)
optional mix-ins - extra feta cheese, mixed olives, chickpeas, hummus
   
for tzatzik dressing
1/2 large cucumber, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped

what you'll do:

  1. prepare baking sheet by covering with aluminum foil and spraying with non-stick olive oil spray. preheat oven to 350° fahrenheit.
  2. in large bowl, thoroughly combine kale, feta cheese, egg and breadcrumbs. add ground turkey, garlic powder, kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. use hands to combine and form into meatballs. bake 1 dozen at a time, for 25-30 minutes. once cooked, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  3. meanwhile, prepare tzatki dressing by combining all ingredients in one medium bowl. set aside in refrigerator until ready to serve. 
  4. once ready to serve, toss together leafy greens, cucumber, tomatoes and any other salad mix-ins (optional). serve in separate bowls, topping with tzatiki dressing.