It seems I often hear people say, "I don't like kale", or even (!) "I hate kale". When I hear this I can't help but think to myself, "oh my goodness, that is such a shame!!!" Kale can be so tasty, and it is easily one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there.
Nutrient dense = packed full of nutrients (vitamins and minerals and all sorts of other phytochemicals as yet unidentified) in a small amount of space.
So I offer this recipe up as a sort of challenge! :) Here is - what I think - a super simple, easy-to-make, nourishing, filling, and yes, tasty, kale salad recipe. I challenge you to make this at home, eat it, and then tell me that you still don't like kale. If I win, cool; if you win, still cool. You're entitled to your opinions :)
I call this a kale salad super meal because it has a well-balanced assortment of ingredients such that it turns out to be...a complete meal. By this I mean that this salad contains healthy fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals...all of the "nutrients" you should aim to consume in a meal, or at the very least, throughout the day.
The only other thing to add to this recipe would be to drink a full glass of room-temperature water about 10-30 minutes before eating (i.e. drink water while you're preparing the food).
Important note before you start: this salad requires use of Tuscan Kale!!!
Kale Salad Super Meal
1 bunch or about 10 medium-sized leaves of Tuscan Kale (this is very important, please use Tuscan kale, also known as Italian Kale, Dinosaur Kale, Lacinato Kale)
1 small head Boston lettuce (aka bibb lettuce)
1/4 red onion
2 green onions
1 small-medium, fresh apple
1 small, fresh plum
2 stalks celery
1/8 fennel bulb
10 sprigs fresh parsley
3/4 cup lightly roasted walnuts
1 cup quinoa, cooked
juice of one fresh lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil to taste
Pre-step 1: Cook a pot of quinoa. (Pro tip #276: always have a pot of whole grain or legume kicking around the fridge. At the start of every week I will cook 1-2 cups [dry] quinoa, wild/brown rice, millet, buckwheat, or barley and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Throughout the week I can use the grains [seeds, really] to make all sorts of dishes and salads.)
1. De-stem the kale: separate the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems (compost), or reserve them for juicing or making broth (freeze 'em for later). Stack leaves on top of each other in a neat pile. Using a chopping knife, chop or slice thin strips of kale leaves. Place kale strips into a mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Wash your hands and use your hands to gently massage the salt and lemon juice into the kale. The combination of salt and ascorbic acid actually starts to "cook" the kale, or slightly change its chemical composition, making it easier for your body to digest! Massage for a minute or two, or until you notice the color of the kale leaves becoming a bit brighter (no joke)! Set aside.
2. Prepare all other veggies: shred lettuce into small pieces; dice red onion and slice green onion; shred apple on a grater; slice plum, celery, and fennel bulb (the thinner the better; option here to use a mandolin); toast your walnuts if you haven't yet.
3. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl: toss kale with all other veggies, walnuts, and quinoa. Combine well so that all components soak up some lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil (if desired) and adjust the flavor to your liking by cracking black pepper over top and additional salt if you prefer.
4. Serve, and be amazed. Kale. Salad. For. Life.
5. Any left over kale salad can store in the fridge in an air-tight container for 1-2 days.
Notes: you can substitute just about any veggies into or out of this salad. You could use lime juice instead of lemon, a different type of oil, different nuts, a different grain. You could also add legumes to make it just a tad heartier.
As an aside: quinoa and buckwheat are complete proteins, meaning they contain all 20 amino acids. Whoever tells you you can't eat adequate protein from plant foods is wrong...sorry.
Thanks for reading. And do, please, let me know what you think! :)