In case I don’t say it enough, I love salad! My relationship with salad was definitely not a case of love at first bite. Once upon a time, I viewed salad as that obligatory side dish, the one that was there for no other reason than to be endured so you could check green veg off the list of daily chores. But over time I have come to see the culinary beauty of the seemingly humble salad. To appreciate its many diverse themes and varied ingredients. Reveling in the epicurean delight we call a salad, can be as simple as a single show-stopping ingredient, or as multi-layered as a symphony. For me, the key to building this loving relationship with salad has been repetition. I have made it a point to eat a lot of salads. Some have not been as delectable as others, but the more of them I eat, the more I know what I like, and the more I like salad!
Alright, enough about my love-affair with salad, let’s get to the recipe part… These are two very different tasting, but mechanically similar salads. The first is a traditional “massaged” kale, with a Fall twist. I love tweaking a great dish to suit the season. Here I’m using apple pear, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic vinegar to highlight what’s in season around my area. Later in the winter, I like to dress this salad with an orange vinaigrette and pomegranate kernels. If you do the dairy thing adding a little crumbled feta, or grating on a nice insalata ricotta would be divine.
The second is a salad made with raw collard greens. You treat the collards just as you would the kale; removing the tough center rib of the leaf, then chiffonade (slice thinly), add some oil salt and acid (lemon or lime juice), and “massage” with your hands until the tough green leaves soften, and are a palatable texture. Try your salad at this point, get familiar with how the greens taste. They won’t be a delicious as when they’re all dressed up and ready to eat, but you will get a good sense for how the salt, oil and the lemon (or lime) enhance the flavor of the naked green.
Massaged Kale Salad with Lemon Balsamic Dressing
1 bunch Lacto Kale
1 Lemon (zest and juice)
1 ½ Tbsp good Olive Oil
½ tsp Sea Salt
1 Apple Pear
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (or Tamari)
I like to toast my pumpkin seeds first so they can cool while I make this salad. I also make a big batch (a full cup to 1 ½ cups of seed) so I can snack as I go, and have extras. To toast your Pumpkin Seeds heat your skillet over medium-high heat, add in your Pumpkin Seeds. Stir frequently with a spatula to avoid over-toasting, after about 5 minutes you should see your seeds start to turn toasty, and you’ll probably hear some pops. You may need to lower your flame a little. When you start to see your seeds looking lightly toasted, add in your Coconut Aminos (or Tamari). Stir a lot, the sauce likes to stick and burn. Keep stirring for about a minute, until all the liquid evaporates and the sauce sticks to your seeds. Transfer your seeds to a plate to cool.
Zest your lemon and keep the zest aside, cut your Lemon in half, you will use half the juice for massaging your Kale, and the other half for dressing your Apple Pear. You can juice your lemon at this point, or juice it directly onto your Kale then you Apple Pear in the next phases.
Wash your Kale, then remove the tough center ribs. Now slice into thin ribbons – I do this by stacking the leaves, rolling them up as tightly as possible, and slicing the roll as you would a jelly roll cake or a batch of cinnamon rolls. Put your Kale ribbons into a big bowl and add the juice from ½ of your Lemon, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt. Massage until the kale is soft. Taste as you go to see when your Kale is a texture you like, keeping in mind that it will soften up a bit more as it goes.
Thinly slice, or dice your Apple Pear, dress the pieces with the juice from the other half of your Lemon. Add your Apple Pear, and Balsamic Vinegar to your massaged Kale, give this a quick toss, then sprinkle on your toasted Pumpkin Seeds. This should serve 4 as a side dish, or 2 dressed up as a main. Serve and enjoy!
Raw Collard Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
1 bunch Collard Greens
1 Lime (zest and juice)
½ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp fresh ground Pepper
⅓ cup Sunflower Seeds
You can keep your Sunflower Seeds Raw (if you do I recommend soaking and dehydrating them) or you can toast them. To toast your Sunflower Seeds heat your skillet over medium-high heat, add in your Sunflower Seeds. Stir frequently with a spatula to avoid over-toasting, after about 3 minutes you should see your seeds start to turn toasty, and you’ll probably hear some pops. You may need to lower your flame a little. Toast for another 2 – 3 minutes, until your seeds are slightly golden. Remove from your pan onto a plate to cool.
Wash your Collards, then remove the tough center ribs. Now slice into thin ribbons- I do this by stacking the leaves, rolling them up as tightly as possible, and slicing the roll as you would a jelly roll cake or a batch of cinnamon rolls. The thinner the better with your Collards since you won’t be massaging them as much as you would your kale. Put your Collard ribbons into a big bowl. Massage a couple times, but I have found that the dressing for this salad is heavy enough to do most of the softening.
Now for your dressing; remove the pit and peel from your Avocado, roughly chop and put in a blender or a food processor. Add the juice from your Lime, your Sea Salt, and Pepper. Process until smooth.
Dress your Collard ribbons with your Avocado dressing, gently toss to coat. Top with your Sunflower Seeds and Lime zest. This should serve 4 as a side dish, or 2 dressed up as a main. Enjoy!