Monday, January 6, 2014

All Hail Kale

Confession time. 
 I hate most dark, leafy greens. 

Swiss Chard? Blech.  
Collard Greens? Take away my Southerner card. 
Turnip Greens? Ick.  
Kale? Less super food, more super yuck.

You might wonder what inspired me to try this recipe, fully aware of how much I hated kale.  Well, Deb mentioned that she disliked kale too.  In fact, she even went as far to ask the world if we can all STOP pretending that kale tastes good.  I liked her immediately.

She followed her declaration of kale hate by saying that this salad is the first kale-based recipe that she found delicious.  I was skeptical, but intrigued.  I quickly got my butt to Trader Joe's and picked up the ingredients, half expecting that money to go down the drain.

I was wrong. So, so wrong (and I don't say that often). This salad is SO DARN YUMMY.  I can't believe kale is the main ingredient.  I crave this salad all of the time now -- I've eaten it 4 times this week!

Thanks, Deb. I owe you one.


1 Bunch of Tuscan Kale Leaves, Ribs Removed
1/2 Cup of Grated Pecorino Cheese
(Trader Joe's has some pre-grated for around $5!)
1/2 Cup of Walnuts, Toasted & Chopped
1/4 Cup of Golden Raisins
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
(Smitten Kitchen recommends white wine vinegar, but I only has apple cider on hand and it worked like a charm)
1 Tablespoon of Water
3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
*Note: Smitten Kitchen's recipe also calls for panko-style bread crumbs. I found this recipe tasty enough without them, so I omitted that portion to save calories.

 Remove all ribs, roll them up, and cut them in a very thin ribbon pattern crosswise.  THIS IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE.  I swear the ribbon cut is key to making the kale taste edible for those of us who usually aren't huge fans.  It allows a lot of flavor from the other ingredients to coat the kale (ie. oil and cheese), so that's a good thing. Since I'm a lazy bum, I used Trader Joe's bagged chopped kale for my first batch.  This was a mistake.  The big bunch of kale from the grocery store was much easier to work with!

Turn oven to 350.  Lay walnut pieces on a baking sheet (I also used a sheet of parchment paper for easy clean-up).  Toast for about 10 minutes, tossing once around the 5 minute mark.

In a small saucepan, simmer the raisins with the vinegar and water for about 5 minutes, until plump and moist. Drain liquid and set raisins off to the side. 

Once prep work is complete, combine the kale, olive oil, and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Once kale is coated evenly, add walnuts, pecorino, golden raisins, and kosher salt/ground black pepper to taste.  Let the salad sit for AT LEAST 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.  Kale doesn't wilt, so the longer you let it sit, the tastier it is.  I ate leftovers for lunch 24 hours later and it tasted even more amazing than it did the day before!

 I know this recipe is going to help give me a leg-up on a healthy 2014!
What are your favorite easy, healthy recipes that don't sacrifice flavor?

*I know what you're thinking -- is toasting the walnuts and simmering the raisins really necessary?  I thought I was smart and skipped those parts on my second batch to save time and dishes.  It worked, but I would really recommend following the recipe. It's so worth it.


  1. I'm one of those people who loves kale so I need to try this salad- it sounds absolutely amazing!

  2. I too hated Kale! Oh how silly we were! Now...I cant get enough. Will defintely try this recipe, I posted one on my blog too recently, great minds think alike ;)