Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Massaged Kale Salad

I admit it. I don't eat nearly enough raw vegetables in the winter. For me, winter is all about squash, root vegetables, and of course dark leafy greens like kale, chard and collards. These tough, hardy winter greens just beg to be braised or sauteed, and I never really considered eating them raw. That is, until I discovered the wonders of the massaged kale salad.

This salad is a truly marvelous way to enjoy the nutritious goodness of kale in raw form. The secret is to massage the kale a bit with some salt, which allows the cell walls to break and water to escape, in effect "cooking" the greens and leaving them quite tender. I can't believe I've gone so long without discovering this marvelous secret!

The recipe is adapted from the one I saw demonstrated by a local nutritionist, Jennifer Adler. It incorporates some sweet elements to balance the strong flavors of the kale, and actually tastes better the longer it sits; she says it will keep for up to 2 weeks! Plus, it's a lot of fun to make--and, added bonus, the kale smells amazing as you massage it, so fresh and invigorating. So go get some kale and make this lovely winter salad before regular salad season starts!

Massaged Kale Salad
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 TB apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dried currants, cherries, or raisins
1 small or 1/2 large apple, diced
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, raw or toasted

Preparation
Put kale in a large mixing bowl.
Big bowl o'kale

Add salt and massage into kale for a few minutes. (Note that curly kale will need a bit more time to become tender than lacinato kale. You can add another sprinkle of salt if it doesn't seem to be shrinking enough.)

Magic!

Gently stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust salt, vinegar and oil as needed. Enjoy!

The finished salad... yum!

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