Monday, November 19, 2012

easy raw massaged kale salad

Raw Massaged Kale Salad, before stirring
Lettuce, baby spinach, and arugula all make delicately delicious salad fodder. But if you eat a lot of salad like I do, you will probably at some point mid-autumn, bite into your mesclun, slam down your fork, and scream out loud in a Joan Crawford-esque voice,"Is this all there is?!"

Kale to the rescue, kids. After nibbling on dainty greens for 6 months, raw kale is a wintry salad veggie you can really sink your teeth into. Since it's in the cabbage family, the subtly macho flavor – tempered by cooking or massaging – will easily win you over. I prefer Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale – macho, yes, but it's a kinder, gentler kale variety that will practically hold the door open for you.

The whole bowl
Raw, massaged kale salad is one of my very favorite foods in the whole entire world – one that would definitely be on my last meal list. Countless versions of this dish live all over the Internet. Nava Atlas included a few great recipes in her recent pivotal book Wild About Greens. The bottom line is, once you learn the massaging technique which softens the crunchy kale, you'll find yourself improvising versions of this salad left and right.

Please chop the kale finely. Not only does it make it easier to massage, but it also makes it easier to eat. [One of my restaurant pet peeves is picking up small-island-sized bits of lettuce or kale with my fork and then splattering dressing all over my outfit.]

This salad is perfect for Thanksgiving because you can make it ahead of time, and it actually gets a bit better after it sits for a day or two.

Before I give you the recipe, if you haven't entered to win the Jenkins Jellies giveaway, you best do so pronto. I am announcing the winner in the next day or so.

Raw Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado, Nuts and Raisins

  • 8 cups finely chopped Lacinato kale [It will shrink by about 1/2 after massaged]
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Lots of sea salt
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Serves 4

Place the kale and garlic in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then add the lemon zest and lots of sea salt [The salt flavors the kale and also helps soften it by drawing out the water and acting as an abrasive]. Using your clean hands, start massaging. Keep working the kale until the color deepens and it feels soft.

At this point, stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well, cover and let sit for an hour before serving to let the flavors meld.

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Cadry's Kitchen said...

I just love kale salad! When I go on little trips, I find one of the things I most look forward to about coming home is eating kale salad. It's so hearty, healthy, and delicious. Your version sounds wonderful!

urban vegan said...

Thanks. I love kale, too--and I love how long it lasts, love everything about it.

gina said...

OH YES, this will be on the Thanksgiving table (and probably weekly, for... forever). Gorgeous!

Joey said...

Another +1 for kale salad. I think one of its major plus points (apart from lovely taste) is that you can make it in advance, so when you're feeling too lazy too cook it's there, and it's so full of nutritional goodness you get to feel lazy and virtuous at the same time!

Rachel said...

Thank you for explaining how to massage kale with pics. I had some crazy idea that I had to prep and massage each and every leaf before even cutting them up. Always sounded like too much work, so I'd skip that step. I see now that it really is easy. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having this up. Headed to grocery store to pick up some items to make it tonight. thanks