I had lunch at a friend’s house last week. Just the mere act of repeating that fact is a revelation, given the isolation of the last year. So, I’m reveling in the ability to visit and host, break bread with friends and family, and not taking anything for granted. But I digress.
My friend kindly hosted me for lunch following an online nutrition class she took that focused on health-boosting, plant-based meals. The strategy involved making plant-based lunches, which are somehow a bit easier to, er, swallow if your crew is carnivorous. She was trying out this dish in the hope of looping it into her summer meal rotation for her family, and invited me to come after she finished the class so I could share the result. Good deal for me!
The results were tasty and healthy in equal measure. The salad contains a variety of tastes and textures ranging from the tang and zing of the pickled onions to the sweetness of the berries, and the end result was delicious.
Summer Kale Salad
Serves 4 with extra dressing for future use
1 bunch curly kale
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or less if you are watching sodium)
1 pint strawberries
½ cup slivered almonds
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup pickled red onions (see note)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves, minced
Trim the kale from the tough stem and slice it into thin ribbons. Place it in a bowl. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Using your hands or a potato masher, crush the kale to mix it with the oil and salt; this will tenderize it.
Set the bowl aside and place all the dressing ingredients into a blender; puree until smooth and slightly creamy. Add the remaining salad ingredients to the kale, then toss with the dressing. Note: Use only about half the dressing; there should be enough here to cover two salads! Serve immediately.