“I think you’re worried that I’m going to fall of the wagon while you’re in Japan.”
I looked up from my salad, mid-chew, mouth too full to reply. Roo timed this intervention just right.
“You just seem stressed about leaving next week.” Roo continued.
Swallowing the last bit of kale, “Well, I’m not worried.”
“No, you were never really on the wagon full-time anyway.”
“What are you talking about? I’m eating this delicious kale salad; a sentence I never thought would ever leave my mouth. I mean, I’m eating kale. And liking it.”
I put down my fork, “Burger King receipt.”
“A Burger King receipt. You left it on the center console.”
“Oh that…that was just snack I got on the way to my mother’s house.”
“A Whopper is a snack?”
“Correction, it was a Whopper Jr.”
You have to pick your battles.
When I first brought dinosaur kale into our apartment Roo asked why our veg had small pox.
A palate for plain, raw kale is one that even I don’t have, but when braised or massaged it’s quite delicious. I knew I could make Roo a believer. I’m stubborn like that.
Here the kale is rubbed with lemon juice, a touch of olive oil and a big pinch of coarse sea salt. The massaged leaves remain meaty, but most of the bitterness is broken down, yielding a sweet, succulent, tender bite.
Full of color and bright, indulgent flavors; this has been my go-to lunch on the weekends. The creamy avocado, sweet, juicy mango, tanginess from the lemon juice rubbed on the kale, along with a bit of chew from the cranberries and crunch from the toasted cashews, has me thinking about this salad when I’m reheating my leftovers for lunch.
Make it for yourself or share with someone that insists that they hate kale. Maybe you’ll make a believer out of them too.
Adapted from Aarti Sequeira
A small skillet
A sharp knife
A medium mixing bowl *or* a gallon sized ziploc bag (this is especially useful for when you have nicks on your hand!)
A small mixing bowl
A large mixing bowl/serving bowl
Two forks (if you don’t like tossing the salad with your hands)
For the salad
Quarter cup of cashews, toasted (I’ve also used slivered almonds and they were delicious)
1 large bunch of lacinato/dinosaur kale (about a pound), leaves ripped off stems and torn into easily edible pieces
Half a lemon juiced
A drizzle of mild tasting olive oil
A big pinch of coarse sea salt
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into easily edible pieces
1 mango, peeled and diced
Quarter cup of dried cranberries
For the dressing
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half of a lemon)
2 tablespoons of mild tasting olive oil
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Half teaspoon of red pepper flake (optional, but if you’d like to try and are heat sensitive, start with a quarter teaspoon)
Salt to taste (I used a quarter teaspoon)
Add your cashews to your small skillet and place over a burner on medium heat. As the pan begins to warm, toss the cashews with a quick flick of the wrist (or you can swish the pan in a circular motion if flicking scares you). As soon as the cashews are fragrant, they should be lightly browned and toasted. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.
To make the salad, add the kale, lemon juice, olive oil and coarse sea salt to your medium mixing bowl. Massage the kale with your hands until it starts to soften and wilt (about three to four minutes). Set aside.
*If you are using the ziploc bag: Add the kale, lemon juice, olive oil and coarse sea salt to your gallon size ziploc bag. Seal the bag, then shake the ingredients so that the kale gets covered with the wilting ingredients. Allow the all ingredients to settle at the bottom of the bag. Unseal the bag, then, using your hands, massage the kale and the other ingredients together from the outside of the bag. Really squish everything together, rub it around, and if you’d like, reseal the bag and give it another shake, unseal, then squish and rub around together until the kale starts to soften and wilt (about three to four minutes). Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, add the ingredients for your dressing: lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup and red pepper flake (if using). Whisk the ingredients together until well combined. Salt to taste. Throw your cranberries into the bowl and whisk to coat it with some of the dressing. Set aside. *This dressing will taste a tad sweet, but don’t worry, it’ll be balanced out by the bitter lemon juice coating the kale.*
In your serving bowl, add the massaged kale, cut avocado, mango and cashews. Pour the dressing on top. Toss the ingredients with your hands (or two forks) to combine. I like to mix everything together quite well as this allows some of the fatty avocado to coat the leaves of the kale. Serve.