Friday, August 13, 2010
Crunchy Kale Salad
I never thought I could eat so much kale. I think I used to believe that kale wasn't actually even for eating--just for garnish in between the cottage cheese and the dressing at the salad bar. Not anymore!
Whole Foods grocery store (not that I've been there lately, but from what I hear) has recently implemented the ANDI food labeling system. What is ANDI, you ask? It is the Aggregate Nutritional Density Index. On a scale from 0-1000, it rates the nutritional density of individual foods. You know what ranks 1000? Kale. Hmm...we've all been told to "eat our greens," but that's pretty good motivation to know that they're one of the most nutritious foods out there.
Thus, becomes the challenge of making them tasty (enter this salad). The recipe is inspired by a couple of grocery stores in Minnesota that are carrying something similar. I have to admit I don't love the taste of kale on its own, but mixed with some goodies and a basic lemon vinaigrette, something magical happens and it makes me very happy! Maybe with enough, one could even develop super powers ("Look out, world, it's Greens Girl!!!")...
Crunchy Kale Salad
1/2 bunch of kale
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (*see note)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
the juice of one lemon (about 1/8 cup), freshly squeezed, please
2 tablespoons vegetable or other neutral flavored oil
Remove stems from kale leaves and wash thoroughly. Tear into bite-sized pieces and throw into a large salad bowl. Season greens with salt and pepper (it's incredible how much flavor any kind of green or lettuce salad has when you salt the leaves directly. Try it on your next salad).
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and oil. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Pour over kale and toss to combine. Sprinkle in raisins, cranberries and pine nuts. This salad is especially good if you let it sit for a little while to let the flavors combine.
Also, be brave and feel free to substitute other goodies. I have seen halved cherry tomatoes instead of the golden raisins, I am sure that's just the beginning of deviation...
*note: To toast pine nuts, place in a single layer in a small skillet over medium heat. Allow nuts to slowly brown and become golden and fragrant (about five minutes). Shake the pan frequently and watch closely so they don't burn (they're a tiny bit pricey, so you don't want to waste them). Also, remove them from the pan as soon as they are lightly toasted so they don't continue to get darker. Allow to cool to room temperature.