Ok, here it is... this is the recipe for our absolute FAVORITE Kale salad. This became our go-to recipe during our months of "wedding prep" with paleo-healthy eating. We would make a big batch for dinner, and then pack some for us to take for lunch the next day. (that way we had no excuse to get tempted and eat badly). One of the amazing things about this salad (other than being SUPER healthy) is the fact that you can add whatever toppings you want and it will taste amazing!
One of the amazing things about this salad (other than being SUPER healthy) is the fact that you can add whatever toppings you want and it will taste amazing!
First, I wanted to start with a little background of why kale is so healthy. This is just a snapshot pulled from mindbodygreen:
Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and iron and has zero fat. Kale is high in Vitamin K. (which helps protect against various cancers, and is necessary for normal bone health and blood clotting). It is filled with powerful antioxidants & is an anti-inflammatory food. Kale is great for cardiovascular support (it can help lower cholesterol levels). It is high in Vitamin A & C, and high in calcium (per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk!), and its a great detox food. So basically, kale is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you could eat!
BUT! This is also why when you're making this salad you should try not to waste all of that healthy by adding on unhealthy toppings! So... no croutons, no ranch dressing, no cheese. Yes, I wrote no cheese! I know what you're thinking "but those blue cheese crumbles will be a perfect accompaniment!"... don't do it!
So, if you haven't heard me complain about it this past year, in Germany, kale is SEASONAL. We can only find it between September and February, so we are coming up to kale extinction :( . After living in Germany for 7 months sans kale, one amazing day in September we finally found it. I ran across the grocery store with two big bunches in my hand, flailing them around yelling to Andrew "KALE!!!". As if the Germans didn't already think we were crazy.
So, appreciate the fact that you can find almost all healthy foods in American grocery stores practically year round.
KALE SALAD RECIPE
And now onto the recipe. While we were home for Christmas, we made kale for both of our families and they LOVED it! (and i love that they love it!) But I have heard from some family members that they were intimidated by kale, that didn't know what to do with it, or it wasn't turning out the same as ours... so here is our step by step approach:
1 Large bunch of kale or 1 Bag of chopped kale lettuce (which you lucky ducks can find in practically every grocery store in America)
Dressing: (feel free to make double if you have a lot of kale)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 TBSP of stone ground mustard (my favorite is trader joes)
- 2 TBSP of Grey Poupon country dijon stone ground mustard
Toppings (all optional):
We usually add a healthy mix of each section below (not all):
- Protein (chicken, steak, shrimp)
- Fresh fruit (pomegranate seeds, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, pears, apples)
- Healthy "carbs" (roasted sweet potato, roasted acorn squash, roasted pumpkin)
- Dried fruit (goji berries, cranberries, dried cherries, apricots, figs)
- Nuts, seeds & healthy fats (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds & avocado)
1. First things first, prepare the kale lettuce. If you bought fresh bunches, wash it first.
2. Rip or cut out the center "rib" of the lettuce (that thick looking part in the middle) that will be really tough to eat.
3. Cut into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. (a larger bowl than you think, because when you start mixing, the kale flies out).
4. Now's the fun part. This is the step that most people skip, but its the most important. Massaging the kale. (seriously). Without this step your kale will be really rough to eat. Drizzle about 1/4 of a cup of olive oil all over the kale in the large bowl. Then, put both hands in and "massage" for about 90 seconds. See below for a video, because I have no idea how to explain this...
It will look shiny (because of the olive oil) like below:
5. Take all of the "dressing" ingredients and mix until combined. (I usually put it in a small Tupperware container, close the lid and shake) Pour all over the kale and then use tongs to toss so the dressing is completely covering the lettuce.
6. The kale lettuce is done! That's the best part about the salad, its just kale & dressing. Now, add whatever toppings you'd like. For us, we usually buy whatever is in season at the time (berries vs squash). Like I said before, keep it healthy! That's the great thing about this salad, it tastes amazing with super healthy toppings.
Here are some pics of some of our favorites:
And, there is so much more you can do with this amazing super food. Blend it in a smoothie (with some green apple to help sweeten it up), make a kale and chorizo sausage soup, (Grams, you will need to give me your recipe so I can post it on the blog), or sauteed kale. But honestly, the kale salad is by far our favorite.
Even bunnies love kale!!
I hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do!
Let me know in the comments your favorite toppings to add, I am always looking for new additions to the salad!