Salads and Dressings forum: Kale salad

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Nov 28, 2010 9:42 AM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
Last year I was at a friend's house for dinner, and tried the most delicious and beautiful salad, with Kale used as the fresh greens. I had never heard of kale used as a raw ingredient, and had assumed it to be too bitter for such use. Was I ever wrong in that assumption! I made it for my family's Thanksgiving feast and kinda expected that it wouldn't go over that well among all the rich, buttery dishes. Wrong again I'm happy to report! I made a huge bowl of it, and the little that was leftover my sis asked if she could take home :-) I found it shocking that the healthiest dish on the buffet was among the most popular!

Not only is it surprisingly tasty and a lovely presentation, but the sturdy kale leaves stand up in a pre-dressed salad for hours at room temperature- leftovers are quite good the next day. I'm fond of using in season produce, and this really satisfies my craving for raw greens in the winter months. I don't really measure anything, and with salads I just go with what looks like the right proportions, so I'll just list ingredients:

Kale leaves, stems and veins removed, torn into appropriate sized pieces
Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, cut into ribbons
Red onion, sliced into thin ribbons
Dried cranberries
Feta or Gorgonzola crumbles
sunflower seeds
toasted pecans

The dressing I used is a pretty basic balsamic vinaigrette, with a touch of honey, juice of a lemon, and a bit of soy sauce added. I made and dressed the salad about 3 hours before the meal and it was perfect. I believe dressing the salad at least an hour beforehand is a good idea- it seems to soften the kale a bit, and the leaves take on a dark green, glossy look that is beautiful. Any toasted seeds or nuts would be great, I would have used toasted pumpkin seeds if I'd had them. For a Christmas meal I believe I'd just use red bell peppers and keep the whole salad green, red, and white for holiday appeal.

Here are some other salad ideas using raw kale that I found this morning:
Nov 28, 2010 11:26 AM CST
Name: Kathy Guagliano
Port Charlotte Florida
Neal, I'm going to try this! I like the idea that you can make this in advance and the Kale stands up to the dressing and is actually good the next day! Sounds really scrumptious! Check out this dressing I make for cranberry spinach salad...I bet it would be great with the Kale -

1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup almonds, blanched/slivered
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach and almonds just before serving.

Nov 28, 2010 11:53 AM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
Ooooh, that does sound lovely! I love the flavor of toasted sesame, that would be wonderful with the kale. I saw a recipe on youtube for a kale salad using toasted sesame oil that sounded good, it also recommended letting it marinade overnight.
Nov 30, 2010 3:39 PM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
Kat, have you ever used Ume plum vinegar in dressing? It's salty, and not good for all the acid, but a bit added works well with toasted sesame flavor.
Nov 30, 2010 3:50 PM CST
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY
These dressing ideas have reminded me of an Asian inspired cole slaw a friend used to make. It's been a long time, but I recall it had:
1 bag of shredded coleslaw veggies.
a small bunch of scallions chopped
a small package of slivered almonds, toasted
1 package of Ramen noodles (Oriental flavor), broken up into pieces.

toss above ingredients together, and dress with:
*I'm a little fuzzy on this part, but I recall it being the same amount of the 3 main ingredients*
1/2 cup salad oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 seasoning pack from Ramen noodles

Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving. The friend who had made this had added some oomph to the dressing by adding some toasted sesame oil and ume plum vinegar.

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