There’s a big joke in my parents’ house about kale. They share a house with my 85-year-old grandmother, and my health-conscious mom made a kale salad a year or two ago. Although she loved the chewy, leafy greens, my dad and grandma hated it so much that, when they are talking about what to make for dinner, one of them will throw out kale salad just to tease her.
I’ve known plenty of other people who don’t get the hype about kale. It’s too bitter, some say, or too hard to chew when it’s raw. Others lament that its popularity is squeezing out other kinds of greens, including collards and chard.
I’m a big fan of kale, both raw and cooked, and love both the flavor and bite. I just planted my fall garden, and when I went to Great Outdoors and found exactly three kale transplants remaining, I realized I’m not the only one hoping to grow a ton of kale this winter.
If you’re on the fence about it, try this recipe from Megan Gilmore’s “Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health and Lose Weight Naturally” (Ten Speed Press, $19.99) that calls for massaging the dressing into the leaves. I’ve seen many other people mention this technique. You can either massage the leaves before chopping them or, as Gilmore describes, after the leaves have been cut into small pieces. Either way, breaking down the fibers with your hands make the kale easier to chew and digest, giving your body a boost of calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, and K.
No-Fail Kale Salad
For the dressing:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. raw honey (or maple syrup)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
For the salad:
1 lb. kale leaves, stems removed (about 2 bunches)
1/4 red onion, diced
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Prepare the dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid; shake vigorously to mix. Set aside. Use a sharp knife to chop the kale leaves into small pieces. Place the chopped leaves in a large bowl and add the red onion and shredded carrots.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and use your hands to massage the salad. After just a few minutes of squeezing the leaves between your hands, they will turn a darker green and have a wilted, silky texture, similar to that of cooked kale.
Add the raisins and almonds and toss well to mix. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve or serve immediately. Note: This salad is sturdy enough to store in the refrigerator for up to three days, even with the dressing mixed in. Serves 4.
— From “Everyday Detox: 100 Easy Recipes to Remove Toxins, Promote Gut Health and Lose Weight Naturally” by Megan Gilmore (Ten Speed Press, $19.99)