This catchy title from MindBodyGreen caught my eye recently. “A Salad That Makes Even The Skeptics Fall In Love With Kale”:). So there it was. My next salad inspiration. I took this for lunch last week and am not being cliched when I say “I licked this salad clean.” Yes. This is the best kale salad I have tried. And in making it I also discovered how the natural flavors of kale can be accentuated.
The secret to making the perfect kale salad is this – Massage that kale. Use your bare hands. I think what makes kale salads so gratifying is that you literally use your senses to make it. No tongs, no fancy equipment, just roll those sleeves and use your fingers to press the kale leaves and rub them together. With or without the dressing.The process of massaging apparently breaks down the cellulose in the kale leaves and makes them soft and pliable, so when you douse them with dressing and any other flavors they take to them easily. I already have a kale “fetish” thanks to the oodles of green smoothies I have been consuming but this just took my kale love to new heights.
Note: The pictures don’t do enough justice to how delectable this salad is, and the fact that I didn’t slice the onions didn’t help to make it look as appetizing as well but this is one time I will guarantee it is worth the try. You will begin to LOVE kale:). Oh and did I mention this goes very well with Indian dishes too.
Enough gushing I suppose, here’s the recipe.
Serves 2 to 3 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
- 2 bunches Lacinato kale (also called “Tuscan” or “Dinosaur” kale)
- 1-2 lemons, squeezed
- 3-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Half cup of pumpkin seeds
- 1 large white onion, sliced thin. I used red onion and chopped it fine and it was equally good so depends on how strong you like your onion flavors.
- Olive Oil, to taste
- Balsamic vinegar, to taste
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Thinly slice the onion.
- Take the crushed garlic into a bowl, and combine with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Add the sliced onions to the mix, douse with a healthy amount of olive oil and balsamic, mix well and set aside to marinate.
- Take the kale and strip the leaves off the stem. (You can check this video from Marin Mama Cooks on how to prep the kale). Break the leaves into bite sized pieces into a salad bowl.
- Squeeze one lemon directly onto the kale. Now begin to massage the kale, rubbing them together or using whatever technique you like, but ensure that the leaves get coated well. The kale will reduce in size and become smooth. You may taste the leaves here. If you still find them to be bitter, then add more lemon and keep massaging till the taste gets all lemony.
- Now heat a skillet and add the pumpkin seeds. You may add some coconut oil to the skillet to roast the seeds or just roast them dry. Once the seeds turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
- Now add the marinated onions into the kale bowl, and throw in the cooled pumpkin seeds. You can massage the leaves again to ensure the leaves are coated well with the dressing. You may also add more salt, pepper, oil, or lemon until you find that perfect flavor.
I had saved some leftovers at home but the salad was gone before I could try it again for dinner. The original recipe says that this salad only gets batter with age so keeping it in the refrigerator and eating the next day will enhance the flavors of the citrus and kale even more.Sadly we didn’t have any left to try this but that’s a good problem to have I suppose:).