Most days it seems that there is some special “National _ Day” going on. Whether it’s Doughnut Day, Siblings Day, Cousins Day, Engineer’s Day, or Coffee Day, each day comes along with a new label, and it can be hard to keep up with it all. That’s why I marked my calendar for October 7th, when I saw it was National Kale Day, and made sure to save this recipe, that I have been wanting to share for quite awhile, for its own special day. Make it on National Kale Day, or make it any day you need a delicious, healthy kale salad that doesn’t taste terrible.
Last month, I taught at a yoga/beer/food tasting event and found myself at a table of teachers and yogi men. Everyone was enjoying the beer, the sausages, and more beer. Then the kale salad came out. I was extremely excited, as were the fellow yoga teachers (typical, right). Some of the gentlemen, not so much. After much coaxing and explaining about kale, they finally took a bite and exclaimed “This is actually good!”.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence. Many people look at kale and think “ew”, or remember it being the curly green-thing under the potato salad at the buffet growing up. But kale is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with nutrients, enzymes, and vitamins that will keep you healthy, full, and firing on all cylinders. The problem is trying to figure out what the heck to do with it.
Kale can be juiced and blended, with minimal “kale” taste, much like spinach. It will turn your drink green, give you a boost of vitamins, and make you a little healthier in the process. It can also be dehydrated or baked on low temps to make crispy kale “chips” that can be seasoned and consumed for a healthy crunch. It can also be sautéed as a side dish, much like spinach, or used in a salad, much like a heart lettuce or cabbage. That is exactly how it is used in today’s recipe.
Kale is thick, which means that is holds up well to most dressing, unlike lettuce. In fact, the longer you let it soak up
some dressing, the better. It doesn’t get soggy, it just gets easier to eat and more flavorful as it sits. This means it make a perfect Caesar salad, as well as a really good slaw-like salad. I love to make it as a slaw, with a few other flavorful ingredients, and eat it all week with my lunch dish. This way, if I have a sandwich or a piece of meat for my lunch, I know I am also getting a dose of healthy greens and nutrients to balance it out.
Kale is from the cruciferous, leafy green plant family. It is also one of the healthiest foods around, containing more nutrients per bite than any other food. Kale is high in heart and artery healthy vitamin K, digestive tract improving fiber, and strengthening iron. It is also high in plant-based protein, contains b-vitamins, and a plethora of other ingredients. You can read the exact numbers here.
This recipe also contains Brussels sprouts (another cruciferous veggie), apple cider vinegar (a detox superfood), and cranberries (loaded with anti-oxidants), as well as a few other fun and healthy ingredients. It was inspired by my favorite kale salad from the grocery stores grab-no-go section, but made even healthier and, I gotta say it, better. It goes fantastic as a side dish to your lunch or dinner, or served with salmon – my favorite way to eat it. Make a big batch today and enjoy it well after National Kale Day has ended.
Tastes Good Kale Salad:
Makes 1 big salad. Good for up to 1 week.
1-2 bunches of Kale (curly or lacinato)
6 Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1-2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (optional)
In a mason jar, combine your apple cider vinegar thru black pepper. You can make it sweeter or with more zing by adjusting the honey and the ACV. Put a lid on the jar and shake it well to mix all ingredients together.
Remove the center stem, rib from your kale, by simply ripping or cutting it out. Chop your kale into thin strips, about 1 inch long each, You can simply roll up the leaves and chop them if you’d like.
Peel and chop your carrots into small chunks. Shred your Brussels sprouts or chop into 1/4 inch strips.
Add your kale, sprouts, carrots, seeds, and cranberries into a bowl. Pour on the dressing and mix it in with salad tongs. This way, you end up squeezing the kale a bit to soften it as you stir. You can also use your hands to mix it. As it softens, it absorbs more of the dressing.
Serve right away or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Where do you stand with kale? Love it or hate it, I dare you to try this recipe and leave a comment below with your final decision.