Tag Archives: kale salad

Dreaming of Kale

My daughter had a dream. About kale. I’m not even kidding. She dreamed about a kale salad with a lemony dressing, dried cranberries and toasted nuts. She woke up craving kale and asked if we could have it for dinner. How often does that happen? Not often.

Another time she had a dream where she was a piece of celery and she was so sad because no one wanted to eat her. I couldn’t do much about that one. But this…this I can do. What can I say? I make dreams reality. I can also say this is probably the best kale salad I’ve ever made. The lemony vinaigrette is positively drool-worthy.

The other thing she’s been requesting lately is steak. I love steak but I really don’t make it much. It paired nicely with the bright salad and the wonderful, wonderful, warm crunchy/squishy croutons. Mmmm.

Want to go vegetarian? Just skip the steak.

 

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Flank Steak

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Flank Steak

Lemony Kale Salad with Polenta Croutons and Seared Steak

For Steak:
1 pound flank steak
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Salt & pepper

For Salad:
2 bunches lacinato kale (dinosaur kale) – remove ribs and slice into thin ribbons, you want about 8-10 cups or so.
Zest and juice from 1 big lemon or 1 1/2 small lemons
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 oz. feta, crumbled
1/4 cup sliced roasted almonds
Salt & pepper

For Polenta Croutons:
1 tube of prepared polenta, cut into cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt

In a shallow bowl or ziplock bag, place steak and rub both sides with olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Let sit and marinate for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the salad and croutons.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Let it heat up for a minute and then add the polenta cubes. Let them cook, turning the cubes every couple of minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle with sea salt.

To make the salad, in a large bowl whisk together lemon juice and zest, rice vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dijon, shallot and a pinch of salt & pepper to taste. Add kale, cranberries, feta and almonds. Gently toss until all of the kale is lightly coated (I find this easiest to do with my hands).

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add steak. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Thinly slice against the grain.

Serve a mound of salad topped with sliced steak and polenta croutons.

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CSA Week 5: A Kale Salad I Actually Like

Kale is not my favorite. Unfortunately, it has shown up every week so far in my CSA box. But the good news is we’ve been talking a lot lately, and we’re starting to build a rapport. I’ve found I really like it sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil and scrambled eggs for breakfast. It’s not bad sliced into ribbons and mixed with salads or pasta or thrown into a veggie medley. I have hidden it here and there in various fritters and patties and smoothies. It’s a good one to hide since other people in the household are even less enamored with it than I am.

But this salad. Kale is the star and lo, and behold! I actually really liked it. No, really! Bright, chewy, salty and sour and creamy. Good stuff. I’m not even kidding. I topped mine with a little parmesan, but if you leave that off this salad is not only tasty, it’s dairy free, gluten-free and sugar-free. The creamy texture all comes from the lovely marriage of avocado with lemon and olive oil, scrunched through the crunchy kale with your hands to coat every little ribbon.

I paired this with a couple of pan-fried slices of polenta, left over from the previous night’s herbed polenta. A little fresh tomato rounded out the plate nicely.

Lemony Avocado and Kale Salad

Lemony Avocado and Kale Salad

Lemony Avocado and Kale Salad

4 cups of kale, sliced into ribbons
A drizzle of olive oil, about a tablespoon
1 avocado
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
Parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired

Put kale in a large bowl. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, add the avocado, lemon juice and salt & pepper to taste. Using your hands, scrunch everything together until all leaves are evenly coated. Top with cheese if desired.

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Make Like A Rabbit

One day my kids went to visit a friend who is a vegetarian.  When they came back they reported that she was doing great, but that she was eating a “bowl of weeds.”  Upon further investigation I found out what she was eating was kale.  And really, I couldn’t argue in kale’s favor.

I’ve never been a big fan of your leafy green things.  I love salad, and have embraced the spinach (especially the baby variety) but collard greens, mustard greens, kale, etc. leave me baffled.  I don’t really know what to do with them, and truthfully, I’ve never really liked them.  When I have had them, they have been cooked to slimy lumps of science project green that leave me with no appetite.

BUT.

One of my goals in the last year has been to teach myself to like some new foods.  Foods that I have previously either disliked or really never eaten.  Especially foods that are really good for you. Like your dark leafy green things. Hello, Kale.

So I was watching a food documentary the other day, and Rip Esselstyn, author of the Engine 2 Diet, was showing some people a few recipes and one of them was a kale salad.  I was actually intrigued.  It looked good.  Kale looked good?  Yep.  So with this new revelation and very simple recipe in hand, I ran to the store and bought myself a wad of kale.

I will not say that kale will be on my menu every day from now on.  I didn’t looooooove it. But I liked this recipe.  It was simple, crisp and refreshing.  I ate this one day as my lunch and then again as a side dish with pasta the next day.  I’ve made my peace with kale and I have a feeling we’ll be meeting again soon, maybe even with a little heat involved.

Kale & Avocado Salad

Kale & Avocado Salad

1 small bunch of kale (I used dinosaur kale)
1 avocado
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper

Chop up the kale into small pieces.  Stop when you get down to the stem area unless you want to do some extra chewing; the stems are tough.  Put the chopped kale in a bowl.  Peel the avocado and scoop out the insides into the kale bowl.  Squeeze the lemon juice in with it.  Add some salt & pepper to taste.  Using your hands, mash the avocado and kale together like you were making a meatloaf.  The mashed avocado and lemon juice make a sort of salad dressing consistency that should coat all the greens.  Adjust the seasoning if needed and make like a rabbit.

This will make 2 main dish servings or 4 side dish servings.

 

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