Hold up. A KALE SALAD?!? I must be out of my mind, right? For those that know me, this is out of character. But hear me out. Despite all healthy food bloggers posting supposedly delicious kale salads, I've always abhored them. I can't count how many times I've bought kale and brought it home, made dressings for it using bacon, added cheese, added croutons, added ANYTHING to give it more life and flavor. I've massaged, manhandled, and blanched the kale to improve its texture, but nothing so far has worked. I was clearly doing it all wrong.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas-time is that special time where everyone is detoxing, cutting back and trying to quickly "re-health-ify" themselves in anticipation of another period of desserts and boozy regrets.
I am no different.
So armed with this idea of finally making a kale salad that I could tolerate, nay, ENJOY, I marched myself to the nearest whole foods and bought some kale, whipped up the most flavorful dressing I knew, and added varying textures for this Chopped Kale salad. Boy, I had no idea that it would turn out this good.
For the salad (makes 2 servings):
- 1 bunch Lacinato Kale (about 7 leaves), washed and patted dry with a paper towel
- toasted walnuts, about 1/4 of a cup
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/2 avocado, on the firmer side
- 1 tablespoon each black and/or white sesame seeds
For the dressing (also used here):
- 2 tablespoons of almond butter
- 2 tablespoons of honey or agave
- juice of 1 lemon or lime
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
First, chop your kale. Rather than sticking to curly kale, I went for lacinato kale, which is a dark leafy kale without the curly edges. Though still hearty and thick, it's just slightly more delicate than curly kale, and I believe, less bitter.After washing the leaves and pulling them off the ribs, I chopped them up into big rough chunks, and then threw them in a bowl. I drizzled olive oil over them and massaged this into the leaves for a good amount of time. You'll feel them soften up as you do this. Set aside so that they'll continue to tenderize as you prepare the rest.
Next, chop or grate your carrots. I shaved them first, and then chopped them up lengthwise for matchsticks, but grating is just as good. Carrots add sweetness to the salad...
..as well as provide much needed fiber to your diet. What's that you say? No, those chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa do not contain fiber.
Add the chopped carrots to your bowl of kale, as well as the walnuts. Next, the dressing.
Whisk up all of your ingredients. Whisk 'em up good. Taste at the end. It should be perfectly nutty, sweet, creamy, and finish with a bit of tang. When you stick your nose into it, the fresh ginger should be fragrant, but not overpowering. Pour it over the kale, carrots, and walnuts. Toss, toss, toss.
Lastly, add the sesame seeds. Toss some more. Transfer it into another bowl or plate for serving. Add either cubed or sliced avocado. Enjoy!