VEGGIE TRENDS: KALE SALAD
It seems as if kale has become the new Romaine. (And remember when Iceberg was used for everything? Eww. Iceberg is like so 1995...) Anyway, it's about time we realize the benefits of this vitamin enriched-cancer fighting-cholesterol lowering-super duper queen of greens, no? If you haven't tried kale you are missing out. It can be prepared in so many ways but, like anything, it's best when eaten raw.
Recently I've enjoyed three different kale salads from three different restaurants. It seems as if they all use the same formula for their recipe: very thinly sliced kale, lots of salty cheese, some type of dried or fresh fruit, something crunchy, and lots of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. So, I thought I would try using that ingenious combination of sweet/salty/crunchy/bitter/tart and come up with my very own version of the ever so trendy kale salad.
KALE AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH LEMON VINAIGRETTE
10 ounce bag washed and shredded kale with stems removed (shred it again extra thin)
15 ounce can drained cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
7 ounces cubed feta cheese
1 small bag pita chips, broken into rough pieces
2 small boxes of raisins (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
3-4 minced garlic cloves
3-4 lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup of juice)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
In a small bowl, slowly whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice. Add the minced garlic and season to taste with salt. In a large bowl, add the salad ingredients then toss with the vinaigrette to coat
The raisins might seem weird, but they really make this salad yummy. (Kale is just so bitter that it really yearns for something a little sweet.) Also, if you don't like feta a good substitute would be lots of freshly shredded parmesan cheese. Another great thing about kale is that it's a very thick and dense vegetable which means it can be dressed ahead of time. If you do choose to add the vinaigrette before hand, it's probably best you sprinkle the pita chips on the top--unless you like your pita chips wet and soggy, which is totally up to you. Also, the chickpeas are completely optional. I do like adding them for even more protein though, which can really turn the salad into an entree instead of a side.