Monday, August 7, 2017

How to Make the Best Kale Salad

It has taken me years to start really liking kale. I have come a long way, baby. 

It isn't like lettuce in any way (I Feel) and I have found that prepping it the right way can make all the difference in the world between eating a hearty fresh green and essentially trying to chew tree bark. 

Here are some of my best Trial-and-Error kale tips - I hope they help you start to really like this crazy green monster. 

Remove the Ribs:  Which every type of Kale you use, you're going to need to remove the ribs (the tough stalks in the middle). I use a small knife and cut the leaves away from the ribs, if you end up loving kale and eat it a lot, you might want to invest in a kale stripped that is a handy little tool that zips the leaves right off. 

Chop the Kale: When you begin to chop your leaves, you are going to want them in bite-sized pieces. You aren't going to really want to put a whole huge leaf in your mouth like a baby green. Bite size leaves are much more user friendly. 

Sprinkle with Salt: The next step is to transfer the kale to a serving bowl and sprinkle it lightly with salt (salt helps cut the bitter flavor of kale). -- This was a HUGE help for me. 

Massage the Kale: I resisted this step for a long time. I couldn't see how it could help, and I was used to making lettuce salads with delicate greens. I didn't want to get my hands all involved and especially once I started adding things like salt and dressing, but trust me....  Massage your Kale.  - 
How does one go about massaging kale?  I let my little kids to it, they're great at it! 
Reach into your bowl with (clean) hands and just start grabbing handfuls of kale. Scrunch, release, scrunch, release. Your kale will actually start to look different.  Repeat until the kale is fragrant and dark green. Doing this takes the kale from being tree bark and makes it a softer green that is perfect for bold salads. 

Dress the Kale: Add bold dressing and then massage that into the leaves. Initially this part was really hard for me - I didn't want my hands to get oily too! But really working the dressing into the leaves takes your salad to a whole new level. (Everyone will wonder why Your salads are so spectacular!) 
Since Kale is heartier than a typical green, you really want a dressing that can stand up to it.  If you are making your own dressing you might want to bump up the vinegar or acid a bit so it can really penetrate the kale leaves. 

Add Goodies and Toss: Now is the time to add in all those things that make salads so wonderful - fruits, more veggies, nuts, grated/crumbled cheese and any proteins like meats or beans. 
If you have time, let the salad marinate for ten minutes before serving.