This citrus-spiked kale salad is genius level simple – and delicious. One simple trick is all it took.
Raw kale and I have not been friends – for decades. Now that we’ve found happiness together, the story can be told. The matchmaker in this case was my daughter, Eleanor.
She’s an amazing young woman, if I do say so myself. New knowledge, a new challenge, or simply a new way of doing something – if she likes it, Eleanor will embrace “it” with enthusiasm.
Like any good convert, Eleanor is keen to bring others to adopt her discoveries. Many of her personal improvement ideas are excellent and I have no excuse for failing to heed her advice. I should exercise more.
And some of her suggestions for habits I ought to change are worthy of serious consideration. Composting our home food waste would be good for the environment and not difficult to accomplish. I got on board and we’ve been composting for months now. Though I grumble when I have to set aside the odds and ends, it feels good to know that we’re adding less to landfill.
However, when she advocated that I should get over my aversion to raw kale, I was dubious. But Eleanor does not give up easily.
The Trick for Turning Kale into a Salad Vegetable
I finally acted on her kale recommendation when she gave me a trick for ridding it of the bitter taste that had always put me off – massage the leaves with lemon. This simple step transforms kale from nasty to tasty in just a few minutes. Plus, it has the added benefit of being fun for those of us who enjoy the tactile pleasures of finger painting and kneading dough.
How good is this salad? Maybe good enough to get Popeye to switch from spinach to kale.
Citrus-Spiked Kale Salad
Servings – 4 Cost – $3
- 6 -7 ounces of curly kale (typically sold by weight)
- 1 lemon
- Scant ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt or a bit less if using kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A few pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1 Clementine
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 4 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
- Cutting board
- Large bowl
- Measuring spoons
- Salad tongs or spoons (to toss)
- Small jar with lid or bowl with fork for dressing
- Toaster oven tray
- Wash and lightly dry the kale leaves, so they are damp, but not dripping. Slice off the thick stems.
- Cut the lemon in half and massage the leaves with the cut side of half of the lemon. Do the massage first with the lemon itself, then rub all the leaves in the palms of your hands until the leaves are thoroughly coated with lemon juice. (My lemon looks weird because I had previously used the rind for another recipe.)
- Roll the leaves and cut thin ribbons or bunch them and cut into small pieces.
- Put the ribbons/pieces in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, black pepper and pepper flakes, and toss.
- Squeeze the other half a lemon into the jar (about 1 ½ tablespoons), add twice as much oil – 3 tablespoons – and the honey, and shake it well. Pour the dressing over the salad.
- Peel the Clementine, open the sections, and cut each one in thirds. No Clementine? Use a tangerine.
- Then, refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes to give the dressing time to soak in.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds in a toaster oven at 325 degrees for 5-7 minutes.
- Finally, just before eating, top the salad with 1 tablespoon of toasted pumpkin seeds per serving.
This weekend Eleanor, an experienced half marathoner, will run the Chicago marathon. It is her first time running a 26-mile course, and she’s trained well, with many practice runs, healthy food, plenty of sleep, and lots of determination. We’ll be there to cheer her on, and who knows, maybe I’ll even make her a batch of kale salad for her post-run energy lift. Go Eleanor!!