I have spent a lot of time hating on kale. I mean *really* hating on it. Stemming from my childhood when my Dad would boil it (literally boil it) into submission with none of the lovely flavors (or techniques) you find in actually good recipes for greens, for years I’ve suffered a dread of it appearing on my plate.
And this is so unfortunate because kale is really quite lovely when handled properly. A little time and attention, and you’ve got an ingredient that works in a variety of ways. You can bake it into chips, add it to breads or soups (or bread soup!), puree it into a smoothie, juice it, cook it down with some lovely bacon, or just have it in a super delicious salad.
And that’s what I have for you today. Now, I know kale salads are out there in abundance, but this kale salad is a little different. It’s going to take you some time to put together but it’s totally worth it. It’s flexible enough to accept a range of ingredients from your box, and you can adjust it to your tastes and the season. This round has the last potatoes/sweet potatoes/butternut you have lingering from the winter, but come spring feel free to use radishes, raw peas, blanched green beans, or whatever else you have in the fridge that strikes your fancy.
Note: This makes a lot of dressing (about 1 cup) but don’t worry, it holds a long time in the fridge and it’s great on everything!
Amie’s Kale Salad for All Seasons and Occasions
Adapted from Serious Eats
1 shallot, peeled and minced fine
1 sprig of green garlic, white and pale green part, sliced or minced fine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon honey
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put everything into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Vinaigrette will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
THE Kale Salad
This feeds 2 very hungry people as a meal, or four people as a side. Feel free to increase or decrease components depending on your taste. Reserve the final dressing if you want to pack it for lunch the next day, and I like this with a little baked marinated tofu or chicken on top (it’s really not great with beef, pork, or fish/shellfish).
1 recipe shallot vinaigrette (previous recipe)
1 bunch kale
2 cups roasted vegetables (butternut, potato, sweet potato, turnip, rutabaga - your choice)
1 cup cooked grain (wheat berry, farro, barley - again your choice)
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup dried fruit (cranberries or raisins)
A few tablespoons good quality olive oil
Optional: 1 cup diced roast chicken or baked marinated tofu
In a small bowl, place your cooked grain (the Eatwell wheat berries are excellent in this). Pour ¼ cup of the shallot vinaigrette on and toss to coat. Don’t skip this step. The grain will soak in the dressing, and you won’t overdress your salad.
While your grain is settling, wash your kale and remove the tough stems. Dry it, and chop it fine. Place in a large bowl, and pour 1 tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on it, and give it a good massage for a minute until all the leaves are coated and feel nice.
Add the grain to the kale, and add another ¼ cup of the vinaigrette. Toss to combine and divide into serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables, toasted pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit. A few chopped herbs, a little watermelon radish, or other colorful fresh veg would be lovely here for contrast if you have some available. If you are adding protein, now is the time.
Pour yourself and your favorite dining companion a glass of something, and dive in while relishing the bounty of your CSA.