I take no credit for the invention of this salad. My aunt, always up with trends, created this after tasting it at a restaurant in Nashville. A few tweaks later and there it was: the Perfect Kale Salad. Crunchy kale, crisp napa cabbage, cilantro, lots of citrus, almonds and dried cranberries for texture. Yep, sounds pretty perfect to me. I love the original version with said nuts and fruits, but I recently made an adaptation with sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds, because…that’s what I had in the house. This tasted good alongside our butter-beef-cheese-laden Christmas dinner as well as a virtuous lunch after the fact.
This is the type of salad you can make in advance, as kale can standup to dressing, only getting better after a couple nights in the fridge. A couple tips: make sure your kale and napa are very finely chopped. Think shredded. You may shred the greens in a food processor, pulsing a few times (not too much, we don’t want pesto). It’s always good to have a few extra lemons lying around when you make salads; sometimes a squeeze is all you need to perk things up (ditto with salt and olive oil, don’t be afraid to season!)
I imagine avocado would be a delightful addition, as well as some sort of lean protein for all you Resolutioners.
Winter Kale Salad
Makes 1 large salad, enough for about 4-8 servings (depending on how much you like it)
- 1 bunch kale, destemmed and finely chopped
- 1/2 large bunch napa cabbage, finely shredded
- 1/2 large bunch cilantro, minced
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup nuts or seeds (such as toasted sliced almonds and/or sunflower seeds)
- 1/3 cup dried or fresh fruit (such as dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds)
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
In a large bowl combine kale, napa, cilantro and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together orange and lemon zest and juice. Drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, adding more olive oil or citrus juice to balance it out. Toss with kale mixture. Fold in nuts and fruit. Taste and season one last time. Eat immediately or chill for a few hours to soften the kale. Can be made a few days in advance – only toss with half the dressing and add remaining just before eating.