No, the trend of the kale salad (or kale anything) has not yet jumped the shark. Although I think it might be coming close. Let’s face it…kale chips will in no way ever replace the potato chip…EVER, much in the same way tofu will never replace a filet mignon. Sure, both kale and tofu have their redeeming qualities, and they also have their place in our kitchens (and bellies), but neither is an acceptable replacement for something else. <rant over…soapbox kicked out of the way> That being said, I still think kale makes for some really delicious salad making and this one is pretty damn tasty if I do say so myself.
I know a lot of you just can’t get past the very thought of eating kale, let alone liking it. I was just like you. In my mind, kale was that green and purple leaf with the consistency of bulletproof plastic that was used to line the deli case or salad bar at the local germ buffet. But somehow, somewhere, someone, decided to take it upon themselves to basically double dog dare us all into eating this corrugated leaf. And being the sheep that we are we ate it, and ate it, and ate it and then began to pontificate about it and then ate it some more. And so….here we are.
I still can’t bring myself to eat a kale salad, kale chip or kale anything that starts out as that decorative mulit-colored leaf. I’ve tried. It just feels like I’m eating carpet with the fibers tickling my throat as I try to swallow. How do I know what eating carpet feels/tastes like? I have a younger brother. Enough said?
But in my quest for making healthy recipes and doing more clean eating, I jumped on the kale band wagon and found that I actually kind of like Tuscan kale (aka cavelo nero or dinosaur kale). I tend to make more cooked kale, than raw, but I’m coming around to the raw kale salad thing. A lot of it has to do with the dressing. Since it has a bitter/sweet flavor to it, the dressing needs to balance that out with some salt and sour. Coincidentally, salt and sour also helps to balance out the sweetness too.
As far as clean eating goes, this kale salad is right up there with all the things you should be eating. The only ingredient in here that’s even remotely processed is the Parmesan cheese. If you get a really good quality cheese, even that hasn’t gone through much of a process (I am not talking about that powdery stuff that comes in a green can).
One of the other great things about kale, and kale salads, is the fact that you can dress them and let them sit without worrying about them wilting. In fact, you really should dress this salad about 15-20 minutes before you want to eat it. This time allows the acids and oil from the dressing to really work into the leaves and soften them up a bit. I’m not going to suggest “massaging your kale” because if I’m not getting a massage, my vegetables sure as ish aren’t either! You can even save the leftovers of this salad and eat them the next day. Yes, it will still taste really good. (But seriously, anything covered in good Parmesan cheese tastes really good…right?)
Oh, the other trick when eating kale in its raw state? Shred it. The finer you cut the leaves, the easier it is to eat and the more the dressing can do it’s magic on the leaves. No, don’t use your grater to shred the kale, just use your knife and chop it really fine.
So give kale another try. Don’t keep walking past it in the produce section and sneering at it. You might find that you actually like it if you give it a chance.
- 1 Large Bunch of Kale (about 17 stalks)
- 1 Sweet Apple (Fuji, Gala), Diced
- ¼ Cup Roasted, Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1 Large Shallot (finely chopped)
- 1 Clove Garlic (grated or minced)
- 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (unfiltered if you have it)
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Remove the thick ribs from the kale and finely chop the leaves. Once chopped, toss them into a large bowl.
- Add the apple, pumpkin seeds and Parmesan cheese to the bowl.
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- In a small bowl add the shallot, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil.
- Add as much pepper as you like then whisk to combine.
- Pour vinaigrette over bowl of greens and toss to thoroughly coat everything.
- Let the salad sit for 15-20 minutes so that the dressing can really soak into the kale.
- Give everything a good toss again and serve.
- If you like, you can sprinkle some more grated cheese and pumpkin seeds over the top of each individual serving. (The white strands of cheese are a really pretty contrast to the dark leaves.)
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