The Secret to the Perfect Kale Salad
Kale is part of the brassica family which is the same family as cabbage. Some of us call it kale - some of us call it black kale, cavolo nero or Tuscan black cabbage. There is a secret to a great kale salad and such a great vegetable requires great respect. The leaves need to be washed and shredded finely. They then need to be filled with love and lots of it – so you need to add a good squeeze of lemon, a little olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Now the most important part is to give it a massage – yes you need to massage the leaves tenderly which helps to soften and wilt the leaves. It is now ready for aromatics such as mint and parsley then a generous scattering of pomegranate and goji that adds a hint of sweetness. I also love to add extra goodness such as pumpkin seed and walnut that also give it texture and mouth appeal.
What I love about this salad is that it keeps really well for days in the fridge so it’s the perfect meal to pack into a lunchbox. I often make double batches for this purpose and sometimes alter the dressing ingredients and boosters to vary taste and texture. (see how to make the perfect dressing)
Why it’s so great:
Kale is rich in vitamins A, C and K and folic acid, as well as calcium, potassium, copper and iron. These nutrients are necessary for healthy bones, skin and eyes. Pomegranate is high in antioxidants, especially C that can help support your immune system, also high in fibre for healthy digestion. Pumpkin seeds are high in minerals including magnesium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Zinc is responsible for a healthy immune function by helping with the growth and development of white blood cells. Pumpkin seeds are also high in the amino acid tryptophan that helps to make serotonin – the FEEL GOOD hormone responsible for feelings of wellbeing.
500 g fresh kale (approx 2 large bunches or 17 1/2 oz))
1 cloves raw garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons cold pressed olive oil or flaxseed oil
1 teaspoon honey or your choice of sweetener.
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 pomegranate (see how to peel a pomegranate)
2 tablespoons goji berries or cranberries
1 cup micro greens (optional)
Remove tough stems from the kale leaves and wash well.
Shred finely and place into a large bowl.
Combine garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, olive oil and honey into a small bowl or cup.
Mix the dressing ingredients well then pour over the shredded kale leaves.
Combine the dressing with the kale until mixed through.
Add some love and start to massage the leaves gently for about 2 – 3 minutes. The leaves will slowly start to soften and wilt, relaxing the kale so so that the leaves become wonderfully tender.
Add the spring onion, parsley, mint, pumpkin seed, pomegranate, goji berry and micro greens.
Toss through gently and taste to adjust any flavours if necessary or add any other boosters.
Divide between serving bowls and enjoy or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutritional info per serve:
Protein: 5.7 g
Total fat: 9 g
Saturated: 1.3 g
Fibre: 7.3 g
calcium: 248 mg
Iron: 6.8 mg
Add 1 x avocado – anti-inflammatory and rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect against free radicals.
Add 1 tablespoon ground linseeds or walnuts – high omega 3 for heart and brain health.
Add your favourite protein sources. I love adding scattering more nuts, seeds such as flaxseed or chia, LSA or goats feta. Hubby loves his folded through with quinoa and roasted walnuts or as a side to a tender piece of grass fed steak.
Micro greens are delicate baby green herbs available from green grocers.