It’s that time of year when fresh food from the garden makes lunchtime more exciting than ever and the endless supply of tasty greens has my body screaming Hooray! And I must say, among all the edible leaves out there my absolute favorite is none other than KALE- a positively amazing vegetable and nothing short of a nutritional miracle. Despite its all too familiar reputation of being a tough and bitter green, kale can actually taste amazing when prepared well, not to mention the fact that it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients. A SUPER food for sure. One of the most nutritious (and delicious) methods of preparing kale just happens to be one of my favorite salad recipes of all time and has the curious name of “Massaged Kale Salad”.
For those of you who have yet to experience the complete awesomeness of this salad, it involves “massaging” the raw kale (with oil and salt), thereby breaking down the cellulose structure so that leaves that were once tough and fibrous become soft and silky. The kale reduces in volume by over half and the leaves take on a slight sweetness. Once the kale is prepared, you can use it as a salad base and add any fixings you like, but it’s also good mixed into sauces or pesto.
AND- Kale is also a fantastic vegetable to grow in your garden. Whether you’re a new or experienced gardener you can ensure a steady supply of kale for a good portion of the year by planting it in early Spring (to harvest in summer), and again in the summer (to harvest well into the fall). Kale will not only survive the frost, it will even taste sweeter after a frost. Like I said, Amazing! Just keep in mind that it likes to grow in rich soil so it’s wise to add a good amount of compost or manure, and dig it into your soil.
So back to eating…
Kale Slaw with Honey Ginger Dressing
For the massaged kale
1 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into thin ribbons
1 lemon (optional)
1-2 tbls. Cold-pressed olive oil (depending on the amount of kale)
2 tbls. vinegar (apple cider, balsamic, rice, etc.)
4-5 tbls. Olive Oil
1 tbls. freshly grated ginger
1 tbls. Honey or maple syrup
1 tbls. Dijon mustard
Pepper to taste
1. Remove the stems from the kale and cut it into thin strips.
In a large bowl, add olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch or two of sea salt and start rubbing the kale. Massage kale until it’s deep dark green, soft, and tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Prepare a dressing of your choice, I like the one listed above
3. Add anything you like: fruits (fresh or dried), veggies, cooked or sprouted grains and legumes, cheese, nuts and seeds. Get creative!