The Best Kale Salad The Best Kale SaladNovember 10, 2017 in Entertaining, Holiday, Meals, Recipes, Salads & Dressings, SnacksShare ThisFacebookPinterestTwitterPrintemail You no longer have to consider yourself a health-nut to enjoy kale! Many people, health-nut or not, shy away from kale due to its tough, fibrous texture and bitter aftertaste. Sure it’s full of nutrients, but at what cost?! Well, this is the beauty of knowing how to cook. You can make almost anything taste great if you have the wherewithal to tap into your creative well and apply a few know-how techniques that bring about the desired outcome. I created this salad purely with the intention of conquering my least favorite aspects of the green. What resulted is a kale salad that I absolutely CRAVE and also a go-to pot-luck dish that leaves friends in awe over the deliciousness of kale (love these reactions!) and texting everyone the recipe as I leave. I’m finally sharing the recipe and secrets for you to make it at home and hopefully apply these tips to other ingredients you may have once overlooked. Preparing the Kale – in order to avoid constant gnawing and chewing of these hearty leaves, break down the kale by finely chopping or running through a food processor. Although it is a bit time-consuming (it’s meditative for me so it flies by!), I find chopping with a knife produces a more palatable texture of kale. When I try to save time with the food processor it breaks down the fibers so fast that it produces a bit too much water, resulting in a more dense and less flavorful salad. If this is your only option, by all means still use the food processor! But if you have the time, chop chop. Massage with Lemon Juice – once you have your bowl full of finely chopped kale, you want to continue breaking down the fibers with fresh lemon juice and sea salt. The acid from the lemon juice and the rough texture of the sea salt take the breakdown process one step further. Simply add your lemon and sea salt into the bowl of chopped kale and massage with your hands. That’s right – get your hands dirty! My hands are my favorite tools in the kitchen because it connects me to the food on a visceral level and I have much more control over the desired outcome. Dressing – the dressing strategically uses a blend of olive oil and a more neutral tasting oil to bring about a lightness to the heavier ingredients used. In this recipe I use grapeseed oil but you can also use sunflower or avocado as the neutral oil option. Use Your Tools – I use a mandolin to cut extremely thin slices of apple, and then cut again into matchsticks. The mandolin is one of my favorite tools in the kitchen because it slices everything with professional precision and very little effort, cutting down on time and hassle. Having the right equipment in your kitchen creates more joy in the process of cooking, and in turn, motivating you to return to the kitchen every day with enthusiasm (or at least without a grunt and a shrug). People ask me all the time what the most essential pieces of equipment are and I’ve included them in my Healthy Home Cook BASICS Guide! It’s a full guide of essential information and tips to getting your kitchen and grocery shopping habits launched with a strong foundation. It includes Nutrition 101, Pantry Staples, Shopping Guides and Lists, De-Coding Labels, Favorite Equipment (separated into three sections: must-haves, nice-to-haves, and fun extras), and more! Use High-Quality Parmesan – whenever you you working with an ingredient that will be highly pronounced in the dish, it’s important to spend a little extra on the quality. Sometimes an extra $3 or $4 takes a ho-hum meal into the BEST dish you’ve had. Instead of buying pre-grated parmesan, buy a block of it and grate it yourself. I like to grate mine with a zester to achieve super-fine, airy pieces of parmesan but a food processor also gets the job done. Sweet is Key – When you’re creating a meal one of your main goals is to balance flavors. That means that you have an acid, a sugar, and a salt. Eating the kale salad without maple roasted nuts is definitely still satisfying however, adding the sweet and crunchy aspect with the roasted nuts feels more like a well-rounded, completed dish. It balances out all the delicious acidic and salty ingredients. Good-bye bitter greens! Extra Add-Ons – You can add any extras you like. I like adding shaved brussels sprouts, pomegranate seeds, and dried sou cherries. Ingredients Salad 4-5 bunches of Kale, thinly sliced chiffonade 1 lemon, juiced 1 tsp sea salt 1 cup good parmesan, finely grated 1 green apple, thinly sliced into matchsticks Candied Nuts 1/4 cup almonds 1/2 cup walnuts 2 Tbl real maple syrup 2 Tbl brown rice syrup 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee Dressing 3/4 cup organic grapeseed oil 1/4 cup olive oil 1/3 cup lemon juice 1/2 tsp sea salt Directions 1. Preheat oven to broil on high and line a baking sheet with parchment paper 2. Add all ‘candied nut’ ingredients to a large mixing bowl and toss together until completely coated. Spread in an even layer on baking sheet and broil for 5-7 minutes (keeping a close eye to make sure you get a deep browning rather than burnt nuts). Completely cool. Chop into pieces and set aside. 3. Add all ‘dressing’ ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until well-combined. Set aside. 4. In a very large mixing bowl, add finely chopped kale, lemon juice and sea salt and massage with hands to begin breaking down the fibers of the kale (about 1 minute). Add in about 1/2 of the dressing and massage kale again. Add the parmesan and mix again. Add the apple and lightly toss until well-combined. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.