Tuscan Kale Salad

Surprise! A healthy salad to follow the cheesy monstrosity from the last post. It’s all about balance my friends [kind of like the two Voodoo Donuts I ate after a reasonable dinner of Vietnamese small plates Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen]. It virtually washes itself out.

Who am I kidding? I just like salads with stuff in them. There are very few plain “garden salads” that I’ll go out of my way to eat. One of them is at Fire on the Mountain. The other is at Gruner. Otherwise, it better have a whole lot more to it. I love vegetables; don’t get me wrong. I just like staying full for longer than five minutes, and don’t need to eat five pounds of salad in one sitting. The more creative, the better.

You’ve surely heard about kale by now, right? It gets all kinds of love, and equal amounts of hate. It can be super bitter if you don’t do much to it. I have yet to really fall in love with kale chips. If someone wants to point me in the direction of a stellar one, I’ll gladly give it a shot. Lately I’ve been tossing it in my smoothies. I kind of wish they’d make packaged frozen stuff like they do spinach. I’d be way more convenient [read: cheaper].

The one way to make kale not be so…kale-y is to massage in dressing. It breaks down leaves so they’re much more tolerable to the sensitive palate. Throwing in a bunch of add-ins helps, too. Toasted pecans! Apples! Chickpeas! Dried cherries! It’s seriously awesome. The dressing is no slouch either. I’ve been on a make-your-own kick lately. It’s so good. Who knew? I ate it for lunch for a few days and tossed some tuna on top to add a little more protein for staying power.

I figure eating a salad a few days a week will balance out the food cart lunches the rest of the time.

Inspiration: The Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, leaves torn off the stem and rinsed/dried
  • 1 Braeburn apple, chopped [peeling is optional, I didn’t]
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • juice of a Meyer lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Combine the shallot, lemon juice, parmesan and olive oil in the blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper.

Toss the chopped kale, apple, chickpeas, pecans, and cherries together. If you’re serving all at once, add the dressing and massage in. If you’re saving it throughout the week, only add the dressing on each portion the day of eating. The kale holds up to dressing really well. If you dress it in the morning, you won’t have a soggy salad. Promise.