I am a fan of kale salad. It enables me to eat fresh, local produce well into the winter when spring and summer greens are long gone. It also offers a respite to the hearty roasts, stews and soups that we understandably crave in winter, but sometimes get a bit heavy.
I am in the minority in my household concerning kale salad — I still recall the first time I served this trendy dish to my husband a few years ago. After a few laborious chews, he said laconically, “This could use some steam.”
I subsequently learned that raw kale is finicky, it needs to be broken down, either by “massaging” it with a salted dressing or pummeled with a potato masher. Given the lukewarm reception the dish receives in my house, I am loath to put that much effort into the salad … but now I don’t have to!
With a bit of advance planning, the kale tenderizes itself. Another benefit of this salad is that it is a do ahead, so if you are hosting over the holidays, this is one thing that you can fix and forget. Unlike most other salads, which require a last-minute toss, this one can sit around for hours or days and deliver a fresh, lemony burst of healthy yumminess.
It is a delightful side, but can hold its own as a light main for lunch or dinner, and especially when it is topped with some grilled chicken, meat, fish or a plant-based meat substitute.
Low-Effort Kale Salad
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
Generous grinding of fresh pepper (at least ½ teaspoon)
¼ cup olive oil
For the salad:
1 bunch kale, stems removed, and sliced into thin ribbons
½ apple, unpeeled
1 carrot, unpeeled
2 tablespoons seeds (I use a combo of chia, sesame and/or flaxseed)
¼ cup raisins (or dried cranberries, dried cherries or chopped apricots)
¼ cup almonds
In the bottom of a large bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients with a fork. Add the kale gradually and turn it over to coat. Grate apple and carrot into the kale, and toss again. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.
Leave the salad on the counter, lightly covered, for several hours. Every so often, give it a toss, turning it over with a fork or tongs to spread the dressing. Taste for seasoning; add salt and pepper and a bit more lemon juice and/or oil, if needed, before serving. Enjoy.