12 December 2015

Killer Kale Salad

This is the weekend in between the last week of classes and finals week.  I've assigned final papers in two of my classes and an exam in one of them. If the lapse between my last post and this one is any indication, it's safe to say this has been a busy semester for me, as well as for my students. I'm a bit behind on grading, though I think that most faculty members are at this point in the semester. Although I'm behind, I am feeling remarkably okay about it. I know it will all get done, and have the perspective-taking abilities to recognize that this is where I am at the end of every semester. In contrast, for most of my students, this is the point of the semester where their "stuffing begins to show," as one of my colleagues says. I think if my students were eating this kale salad, their stuffing wouldn't be showing at all.

This is another recipe that came from our monthly vegan potlucks, which I mentioned in my last post. Shana and I have eaten it a ton and fed it to numerous friends, including one who has never found a way to eat kale that she's enjoyed. This salad has been a hit with everyone. It's so simple, yet there is something magical about it. In all seriousness, the magic is real enough that we've had this twice in the past three days. Once you eat it, you'll believe in its magic.

Killer Kale Salad
This recipe is only ever-so-slightly modified from the one at this blog.

1 bunch kale
4 radishes, sliced thinly
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped a bit
1/2 cup pecan pieces
3 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 T. agave nectar

1. Toast the pecans in your toaster oven, actual oven, or in a skillet on the stove. You want them fragrant, but not burned. Let them cool as you do everything else.
2. Tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and wash/dry it well (see Helpful Hints).
3. In the bowl you plan to use to serve the salad, sprinkle some salt (maybe 1/2 tsp. or so?) on the kale and then massage it. Really. Put your hands in there and squeeze some kale, then squeeze some other kale. It turn darker and become a bit more fragrant.
4. Add the radishes, apple, cherries, and pecans.
5. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, and agave. Shake well to combine.
6. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss well to coat evenly. Let the salad rest for a few minutes before eating.

Helpful Hints
  • I prefer to use a giant salad spinner when washing/drying my kale. The salad spinner doesn't get all of the water off, but it gets most of it. 
  • The salt rub is essential. Don't skip it. I prefer using kosher salt (which is also what I use when I saute onions), as the flaky shape of it is great for pulling moisture out of foods, which is exactly what you want in this situation. 
  • This salad can sit for a bit before you eat it. In fact, it can sit for a couple of days in the fridge and be just as magical, which makes it a great dish to prepare a day before a dinner party or something that's a great packable lunch. Because kale is such a hearty green, it won't get all soggy like other greens will. 
  • If you have other things in the pantry/fridge, put them in this salad. Swap out cranberries for the cherries, add celery, use almonds, whatever!
The post "Killer Kale Salad" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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