This kale pasta salad makes me smile every time I make it.
In his famous novel, Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust talked about how the aroma of a food (madeleines in his case) brought memories of his youth flooding back. As a parent, it’s not so much aromas as it is certain types of food or dishes that remind me of my kids. Whenever I make kale salad, I think of my daughter. Before she taught me to massage it with lemon juice, I just couldn’t imagine eating raw kale. Bitter stuff. Inedible in the extreme. Ah, what a difference this little tip makes.
Although she claims no credit for it (having learned the “secret” from the boyfriend of a friend), I am reminded of her as I massage the kale leaves. I smile, pushing the cut lemon over the leaves and then rubbing them with my hands. This was one tip Mother Didn’t Know. Lucky for me, I had a daughter who clued me into how delicious kale salad can be.
Truth be told, there was a dispute about the naming of this dish; my husband, true pastaholic that he is, thought it should be named Kale-Salad-with-Not-Enough-Pasta.
If you’re a pasta fiend, go ahead and double the pasta. On the other hand, if you want a salad that looks balanced and tends toward the veggie side of the vegetable/pasta balance, then stick with my proportions.
The measurements in this salad are not at all exact. If you have another vegetable you’d like to throw in, go ahead. If you have a particular aversion to one I used, substitute another. The bottom line is that deep and varied colors, with crunch and an herby vinaigrette, are the keys to this salad.
Weeknight Kale Pasta Salad
- 1 bunch raw kale massaged with 1/2 of a lemon and ripped or cut into small pieces.
- 1-2 carrots cut into small julienned strips or matchsticks
- 1 red pepper also cut into small julienned strips or matchsticks
- 10 pitted kalamata olives halved or quartered
- 2 cups cooked small shaped pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 -1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Mix the kale pieces, carrots, red pepper, and the halves or quartered olives together.
- Add the pasta and toss the ingredients together.
- Mix together the oil, vinegar or lemon, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Toss about half of the dressing over the salad, mix, and taste. Add more dressing if desired.
I cut up my kale (after massaging it) by rolling the massaged leaves into cigar shapes and cutting them horizontally into thin linguini-like pieces. If any of the pieces is too long, I just rip or cut it in half or thirds. Ripping the leaves into small pieces works too.
I like to make my dressing by shaking the ingredients up in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Alternatively, put the ingredients into small bowl or cup and combine them by stirring vigorously with a fork or whisk.