I don’t know about you, but for me, kale is often a dastardly, pleasure-sacrificing affair. While many have gone to great lengths to make it more palatable for the sake of its known health benefits, the reality stands that its bitter, dense quality can leave a lot to be desired. Certainly, there are those that have converted their taste buds, and to them I say, “I salute you, o’ ye kale converts,” but alas, they are not the majority. Not even in Southern California, where kale runs rampant from every Cafe Gratitude storefront, overflowing the drought-ridden gutters, bleating out its harsh textures with wild abandon. What’s a health-nut to do but begrudgingly swallow it down in anticipation of the day when, after radiating health, he or she may return to her older, more delicious habits and indulgences?
I am here to tell you, one kale dodger to another, that there is another way.
Kale gets a bad rap because more often than not it’s not used correctly. Kale is all too often treated like lettuce. I’ve been to tons of restaurants who seem to think otherwise, which hasn’t helped its case. Further, it’s also approached as some superfood to hide in other things, like the pervasive green smoothies and juiceries that leave a lot of the good stuff in the garbage, and the end result is you leave overcharged, undernourished, and soaring from a natural sugar high often mistaken for a nutrient rush that contains few of the things that make fruits and vegetables invaluable to your system. No and no thank you.
But here’s what all too few of us know about this cruciferous monster — it needs some TLC to become its better self. Kale literally needs to be “massaged.” After you’ve given it the attention is craves, kale becomes an excellent ally in salads that hold up in the refrigerator without wilting or getting too soggy. In terms of keeping foods around that are healthy, easy access, and filling, kale is tough to beat.
This is the recipe for one of my favorite kale salads.
What You’ll Need:
2 heads dino kale, cut into thin ribbons horizontally, with the center stems removed
2 carrots, shaved
1 medium pink lady apple, cored and sliced thinly
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup tahini dill dressing
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. Prepare all produce and combine all but the kale in a large bowl. Separately, massage the chopped kale with your hands. With dino kale, after chopping it, it works fairly well to take handfuls of it and clench your fists a few times each. This will help to break down the leaves, which will darken after being left for a few minutes. Combine the kale with the other ingredients.
2. If you haven’t already, complete my recipe for tahini dill dressing.
3. Add 1/3 cup of the dressing to the produce and toss. I suggest letting it sit for about ten minutes before serving, which allows the kale some time to absorb a bit of the dressing.
Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 days, safely.