Next Level Kale Salad

If anyone had told me 18 months ago that I’d be raving about a freaking kale salad…. I would never have believed it!

Even after my conversion to the WFPB life, I knew that kale was good for me, but this was mostly an academic  appreciation of calcium absorbency and iron content.  I did eat kale cooked down in soups -rarely! and raw in smoothies – more often since the blender took the heavy lifting out of the lengthy and tiresome task of chewing.  Kale may be good for you, but boy does it make you work for those benefits!

I stepped up a rung on the kale-love ladder a few weeks ago after reading about and trying kale massage.  This is not a kinky vegan thing (dirty mind, you!) – instead, you massage the kale with your hands to soften the leaves.  It make them less fibrous and easier to chew and digest.

I’m doing my second course online with Rouxbe and one of my first assignments was to prepare kale three ways and compare them.  Well, since doing that on Monday this week, I have tripped over to the other side and have become fully obsessed with this amazing veg!  I even feel guilty for not appreciating it before.  Poor kale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘trick’ is to massage the kale with avocado!  WHAT?? I know, it sounds funny and it is a bit messy but it is so so worthwhile for the end result. I loved it so much I made it for the assignment on Monday, and again for breakfast on Tuesday, breakfast again on Wednesday (because, why not) and then as my husband was working from home, again for lunch on Wednesday.  It’s that good!

You need to shoot for about 3+ minutes of massage time.  You will see the kale start to soften quite quickly, the overall volume will reduce significantly, and you can taste as you go to monitor the texture. I have found that I can be really quite forceful with the leaves, kneading them in my hands and squeezing tightly – and they have yet to break down or become mushy.  It’s quite a cathartic thing to do!  At the end you want the leaves to be thoroughly and sumptuously coated with creamy avocado.  Once you add in the lemon juice, this is literally all the dressing you need.  It’s incredible to me that just three things (kale, avocado and lemon) can be combined in such and effective and delicious way!

The result is that the kale comes out relaxed and softer to chew, well coated with the avocado, creamy to taste and in a whole different stratosphere of enjoyment for someone to eat.  The avocado massage is literally a little spa trip for the kale!

The thing that I do which is my own variation is adding in strawberries, pecans and seabeans.  I tried to explain this to a friend and she was very dismissive of the ‘fruit in salad’ idea, but, let me tell you it is amazing.  The kale is creamy and soft thanks to it’s time in the spa being massaged and then the strawberries give a little kick of acidic sweetness which contrasts really well.  The pecans bring in another element with the roasted crunch.   If you don’t have strawberries, I think some apple would have the same effect

I found sea beans in whole foods this week and have been putting them in too, for some wholesome saltiness but if you can’t find them or don’t like them, I think something like capers, gherkins or olives would have the same effect.

Rouxbe has a nifty trick for serving the salad in a roundel of cucumber which looks really special and it makes a perfect way to serve this dish because you can eat it too.  However, 4 out of the 5 times I have made this (again for lunch today – for the photos!), I just served in a bowl.

You can add in any other veggies you like – I did one round with some orange pepper, i think steamed and cooled french beans or asparagus would be delicious too.  Tomatoes are another good option… once you get the kale base down, the possibilities are limitless!

BONUS:  Kids will love to join in the kale massage and get their hands all messy with the avocado. Study after study has shown that kids who participate in food preparation are more likely to eat that food.

If you are a kale skeptic, please try this salad and see if it has the power to convert you.  Let me know if it does!

Happy cooking!

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Next Level Kale Salad Yum
This one is for converting kale skeptics!
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 0 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large handfuls kale washed, dried and de-stemmed
  • 1/2 avocado have more on standby for garnish or to add to the massage if needed
  • 5 strawberries could sub an apple cut into cubes
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 cucumber deseeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 spring onion diced very small
  • 2 radishes sliced thin
  • 1 small handful sea beans washed and dried and broken into small pieces *
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 0 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large handfuls kale washed, dried and de-stemmed
  • 1/2 avocado have more on standby for garnish or to add to the massage if needed
  • 5 strawberries could sub an apple cut into cubes
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 cucumber deseeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 spring onion diced very small
  • 2 radishes sliced thin
  • 1 small handful sea beans washed and dried and broken into small pieces *
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. First wash your hands!
  2. Massage the kale with the diced avocado
  3. Once the kale has been softened, add in your onions, cucumber, sea beans, lemon juice, salt and pepper (remember that the radishes are quite peppery and the sea beans are salty when you are seasoning. Safest to add in increments and taste as you go. Stir to combine
  4. If you are serving the salad in a bowl, I like to transfer the kale mix and add the strawberries and pecans on top.
  5. Alternatively, if you are using a cucumber roundel, I would dice the strawberries and mix them in with the leaves, saving a few peices for garnish on top.
Recipe Notes

* I was amazed how filthy the sea beans were when I got them home from the store.  It took me FIVE rounds of soaking and rinsing to get the water clear.  Be sure to wash them really well because they will taste gross if they aren't clean.

If you don't want to use sea beans or can't find them, try subbing in something like capers, olives or even gherkins instead.  You'd need a lot less of these though, so be mindful when adding them!

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