Deb's Righteous Kale Salad
This recipe has earned its title as Righteous, it ticks so many boxes of goodness, not least ease of preparation. Deb, we thank you. If you have yet to try raw kale as a salad base, then this is the perfect introduction. This recipe includes a great mixture of flavours and textures and can be served as a side or easily adapted as a main. The base ingredients are kale, dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.
Kale is very forgiving as a salad leaf ingredient: it is tougher than most, and so does not wilt easily, but, as described in the method, it benefits from a gentle massage. Honestly. In addition, it stores well, is available all year round, can be eaten raw and hosts an impressive amount of nutrition. Kale is a staple in our kitchen, making its way into just about anything I can get away with, including smoothies, juices, salads, stews and soups. The other basic ingredients are also readily available and form part of our regular cooking repertoire. Deb's base recipe calls for (ornamental) curly kale, and that's what I used here. However, there are many, many varieties out there you could use - experiment with purple kale, cavolo nero, red russian and ornamental kales in an assortment of colours.
Deb's delicious salad can be eaten as a side dish as is, but also acts as a brilliant host for a variety of additional ingredients. For this recipe I prepared the salad as a main dish, and added butternut squash, beetroot, and broccoli - all roasted to lovely sweetness. As usual, the choice of the additional ingredients was principally made on the basis of what we had in the fridge. Knocking about, I had some steamed broccoli, some roasted butternut squash and a packet of pre-cooked beetroot. I spread them out on a baking tray and roasted them in a hot oven (fan assisted 200C) for 15 minutes. Any roasted vegetable would go well with this salad. Try grilled asparagus, roasted sweet potato, puy lentils, string beans, butter beans, and roasted or steamed new potatoes (the waxy kind, like Charlottes, are the best here). If dried cranberries are difficult to come by, replace with sun dried tomatoes. No pine nuts? Try slivered almonds.
The ingredients below will feed two adults and can be served as either a side dish without additions, or as a main course with the addition of the roasted vegetables mentioned above.
Ingredients: (serves two adults as a side)
- 100g of kale
- 1 X organic lemon (especially because the zest is used)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp pine nuts (or to taste)
- 3 tbsp dried cranberries (or to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash, dry and tear the leaves off of the kale and place in a large bowl.
- Zest the lemon using a microplane, zester or cheese grater and add to the kale.
- Juice the lemon and add to the bowl, along with the olive oil.
- Roll up your sleeves and gently massage the kale. The kale will begin to wilt and what started off looking like a ginormous bowl of leaves quickly becomes a more manageable bowl of deeply coloured salad. By massaging the kale with the other ingredients, a softer and richer, and more flavourful leaf is achieved. Unlike with many salad leaves, kale can withstand and benefits from the acidity of the lemon juice, which means that the salad can be prepared in advance and left to marinate and tenderise.
- Add the pine nuts, cranberries and season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.