Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kale Salad Recipe and Variations

Here's a great recipe for almost everyone - it's Whole30 compliant, raw if you don't toast the seeds, and vegan, as long as you don't add cheese to it. It's WAPF compatible. It can easily be nut free. It's gluten free and grain free. It's also paleo, primal, intuitive eating, and made using only real, traditional foods and ingredients. It's also high in fiber, low in net carbs, made with good healthy fat, filling, can be mostly or all local. It's versatile, customizable, nourishing, and goes with everything!

It's barely even a recipe, really, more of a method with infinite variations.

Yesterday, we made a very similar kale salad for a new year's eve party. For the party, we added very finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It's great with or without, but if you are dairy-free or doing a Whole30, leave it off for now. If you use fresh fruit, add it in right before eating to keep it fresh. If you use dried fruit, use sparingly and make sure it is unsulphured and has no sugar, additives, or preservatives. Another day I'll teach you to make your own dried fruit!

Lacinato Kale!


Fresh and Wintry Kale Salad

Toasted pine nuts or local pumpkin seeds
A big bunch of kale - any variety works
A few bits of diced fresh or dried apple, or other fruit you like (use moderation)
A small piece of shallot, very thinly sliced
Apple cider vinegar (preferably raw and unpasteurized)
Extra virgin olive oil

Toast your pine nuts or pumpkin seeds in the oven or very carefully on the stove top. Pine nuts need no extra oil when toasting. Keep a very close eye on them - they burn easily and they're so expensive! I love butternut squash seeds. They're delicious, and they're a free bonus with your squash! Toss with olive oil, salt, and paprika, spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350 until toasty and brown. Let cool fully.

Wash and dry your kale. Take out the stems, and use them for juice. Make a chiffonade of the leaves: Roll a couple at a time into tight little cylinders, and cut across the roll into very skinny little ribbons. The thinner they are, the more tender they will be.

Chop your apples into little dice, slice your shallots ever so thinly, and if you are adding parm grate it now. Add them all to your kale in your very biggest bowl, and toss everything together thoroughly. Add a sprinkle of sea salt, a splash of vinegar, and a glug of oil. Toss again thoroughly, until very well coated. Season to taste.

Let it all marinate for at least a few minutes before enjoying, or keep it dressed in the fridge up to overnight. A dressed kale salad stands up to storage extremely well, unlike its lettuce and spinach based cousins. This makes it a fantastic choice for your lunch at work - make it in the morning or the night before, pack it up (preferably in a glass or other BPA-free container) and it's ready and waiting for your no-fuss, healthy lunch.

Variations: You can make kale salad hundreds of ways!

*Instead of the apples, use different fresh or dried fruits - try apricots or sun dried tomatoes. Or skip the fruit entirely - kale salad is fantastic even without. Remember that dried fruit benefits from absorbing the dressing over time. Fresh fruit may discolor (though the dressing does slow that down) so you might hold the fruit back and add it closer to serving time if you're using fresh fruit and not serving the salad right away.
*Grind cashews that have already been soaked and dehydrated. Mix with some nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt, and sprinkle that on top. Cheese-like umami flavor without dairy!
*Sprinkle in hemp seeds instead of the pine nuts for even more healthy protein, good fats, and variation in texture.
*Add leftover chopped chicken, fish, or beef for a big protein boost.
*Top with a poached or fried egg.
*Serve as a lighter entree on its own, or as a side with grass fed beef or lamb.
*Try using different vinegars like pear vinegar, champagne vinegar, balsamic (great with figs!) or use lemon juice.
*If you're eating it right away, massage the dressing in a little to tenderize the kale. Add even more satisfying texture by tossing in some romaine or other lettuce after you massage the kale.

The only limits here are your imagination and what you have on hand. So make sure you always have lots of healthy veggies in your fridge, healthy oils like olive and coconut, and high-quality vinegars in your pantry.

Enjoy!

Love,
Chef Mary

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