The #1 trick to making a salad with kale is messaging the fibrous greens until the leaves are supple and easy to eat. It also helps to tear the leaves off the hard center stem running the length of the leaf.
Vile Weed. Those were the words of Seinfeld’s Newman, not mine, referring to broccoli. And they are words that my darling husband and dear son also loved to toss around whenever they saw me bringing home bags of kale (not broccoli) thank goodness! I’d cry if my family didn’t like broccoli.
Come on, guys, vile weed??? Really?!!! Kale is a Super Food for crying out loud!
Aside from all the great press kale has gotten from the holistic crowd and Super Food status it’s gain in the last few years, it has had a hard time finding a place at our table.
Granted, the first time I served it, I steamed it and it was rather fibrous and it did get stuck in our teeth making us look like green-toothed mer people from the darkest regions of the ocean. So I can’t blame them that much.
Fast forward six years later, I was at Urban Breath Yoga studio in St. Louis working on my 200 FYT and trying to be being oh so healthy.
Breathe in… exhale… My mind wandered to a nice thick buttery medium rare filet mignon and… breathe in… an ice cold martini with blue cheese stuffed olives… exhale… focus dammit focus… downward dog… chocolate cake with butter raspberry filling… oh crap, everyone is in tree pose and my tush is still up in the air…
We broke for lunch and being oh so enlightened, I brought almonds, goat cheese, raspberries and a little salad I picked up at Whole Foods. It wasn’t the herb crusted butter steak that I really wanted, but it would have to do.
The salad was bright with deep colors. Jewel-like red cranberries were nestled in dark green kale and I could see toasted pine nuts peeking through here and there. This was promising. It even smelled good, like lemons and sunshine. I took a bite and it was gooooood!!!
The kale was soft and lemony and did not get caught in my teeth. It had tang from the lemon vinaigrette, sweetness from the cranberries, earth from the toasted pine nuts and kale, and just a bit of minced shallots to tie it all together.
Oh yeah… I am so making this at home. If my family doesn’t like it, more for me!
I did make it the following week. My family was surprised how much they liked it. Here’s the crucial step you must absolutely positively must not skip: after you chop the kale into small pieces (nickel to quarter size), give it a massage, a really good deep tissue massage.
Roll up your sleeves and get your hands in there. This will break up the fibrous tissue of the leaf and makes all the difference between wishing you had a fourth stomach to help digest it and enjoying a soft and compliant vegetable.
Enjoy and Namaste!
Yogi Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1 big bunch of kale fibrous spine removed and torn/cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup red pepper chopped
- 1 cup toasted pecans chopped
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce*
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Make the Dressing
In the salad bowl, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. Whisk vigorously until incorporated.
Slowly drizzle the oil in, whisking constantly. This will create an emulsion and bring it all together.
Putting it all together
Put all the kale in the salad bowl on top of the salad dressing. Using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale. Really squeeze the kale. This will soften it up and make it easier to chew and digest.
Add all the other salad ingredients in to the bowl and lightly toss.
* If you are gluten sensitive, make sure you are using a gluten free brand of soy sauce.
This is a basic vinaigrette recipe you can add whatever you like to jazz it up. Look at the bottom of the recipe for several ideas and variations. Have fun with this one! | www.lakesidetable.com
- 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice fresh
- 1 teaspoon salt sea
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, honey, pepper, and salt together in a small bowl until the salt has dissolved.
Drop by drop start adding the olive oil until an emulsion begins to form. It should look cloudy and not separate. Then you can continue to add the oil in a slow stream.
OR... You can use an immersion blender, mini blender or mini cuisine art.
Goddess Vinaigrette - add 1/4 cup of fresh herbs (like parsley, sage, and thyme) and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Asian - use rice wine vinegar and add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Lemon Vinaigrette - Use 2 tablespoons lemon juice instead of 1 and add the zest of 1 lemon.
Orange Cranberry Vinaigrette - Substitute orange juice for the lemon juice and add the zest of an orange
Can I break up the fibrous leaves with my rolling pin? (I’m not joking..,!!!)
Absolutely! You can even use a meat tenderizing mallet if that’s easier.
This is a beautiful dish!