The Kale Salad Recipe You Actually Want
If you haven’t yet discovered the magic of kale, stay with Ligeia here, as she is about to introduce you to a kale salad recipe that will change your kale experience. Find more delicious recipes from her over at Trueheart Gal.
While kale isn’t a miracle cure for all ills, it is pretty darn healthy. And if you don’t believe it – have a look:
At just 33 calories, one cup of raw kale has nearly 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full), Vitamins A, C, and K, Folate – a B vitamin that’s key for brain development, and Alpha-linolenic acid – an omega-3 fatty acid.
Making Kale Tender
If you’ve ever tried to make a salad using kale, you know the main problem is its rough, tough texture. I found an easy, delicious and healthy recipe in a terrific book my mother bought me, called The Make-Ahead Cook by the great folks at America’s Test Kitchen. Their recipe uses two methods to tenderize the kale – overnight marinating as well as kneading.
One recipe contains a delicious and really unusual vinaigrette, containing pomegranate molasses, cider vinegar and honey.
The book’s version calls for roasted sweet potatoes. I’ve never added them – not because they don’t sound delicious, but I never get it together to make them. I’ll give you the book’s version with the potatoes, but I can tell you it is also delicious without them.
Which Kale Should You Use in a Salad?
Green curly kale, Tuscan kale (also known as dinosaur or Lacinato kale) or red kale can be used in this recipe. Do not use baby kale. I often skip the pecans and pomegranate seeds and instead I add dried fruits – cherries, cranberries, raisins, chopped prunes and dates – whatever I have around. Add them prior to putting the salad in the refrigerator to marinate.
Overnight Kale Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
Prep time: 1 hr
Wait time: 24 hrs (overnight)
- 1-1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – plus 1 TB
- 2 TB water
- 1 1/2 TB pomegranate molasses – If you can’t find this, substitute 2 TB lemon juice, 2 tsp mild molasses and 1 tsp honey
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 TB honey
- 1 TB cider vinegar
- 12 ounces kale – stemmed and sliced into 1-inch strips
- 1/4 head radicchio (5 ounces) cored and sliced thin
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 400 degrees.
- Toss sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper until evenly coated.
- Arrange in single layer in rimmed baking sheet and roast until bottom edges of potatoes are browned, about 15 minutes.
- Flip potatoes and continue to roast until second side is spotty brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer potatoes to large plate and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk water, pomegranate molasses, shallot, honey, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in medium bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in remaining 1/3 cup oil.
- Vigorously knead and squeeze kale with hands until leaves are uniformly darkened and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Toss kale, roasted potatoes, and radicchio with 1/3 cup vinaigrette in a large bowl; cover. Cover remaining vinaigrette.
Refrigerate kale mixture and vinaigrette separately for up to 24 hours.
Finish and Serve
- Remove kale mixture and vinaigrette from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Whisk vinaigrette to recombine, then drizzle over kale mixture.
- Add pecans and pomegranate seeds, if using, and toss to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with Parmesan.
If this salad doesn’t become a part of your regular rotation, I’ll be surprised. It’s a delicious side, or a wonderful base for any meal. Or you can simply eat it on its own as your main course. Enjoy!