I am new to the world of kale. I have seen it in magazines and blogs everywhere over the past year (it’s practically impossible not to come across a recipe for kale salad, soup or smoothies), yet I have very little experience with it in my own kitchen.
This year, Eckert’s is growing kale, which presents the perfect opportunity to start a collection of kale recipes. One of my first thoughts was an easy kale salad that can be served as a side dish or healthy snack.
My kids have been having fun picking kale from our garden at Eckert’s. It is easy to harvest the curly, bluish leaves with a little twist of the wrist. We also currently have some homegrown kale for sale at our Country Store in Belleville.
How to Make Kale Salad
I have made this kale salad several times this spring. The original recipe called for apples instead of strawberries, and that too is delicious. But with strawberry season soon coming to an end, I find myself assembling this salad a lot lately. In fact, we’ve already had it twice this week!
Knowing how to prepare kale for salad is a big step. As I tear the fresh-picked kale leaves into bite-size pieces for my serving bowl, I remove and compost the center stems. When eating kale raw, I find the stems to be exceptionally bitter and somewhat tough.
While many people cook their kale first, it can be eaten raw. The key I’ve found is to set the kale aside for a little while after tossing it in the dressing. The acids in the cider vinegar and lemon juice will soften the kale so it’s easier to chew and digest. Another option is to “massage” the kale by rubbing it between your fingers for 2-3 minutes. Just don’t do this for too long or your kale will end up mushy.
For quick assembly, I keep a Ball jar of the dressing in my fridge. This salad’s tangy dressing, sweet fruit and creamy Manchego cheese temper the bitter kale flavors quite well. (If you’re wondering what Manchego cheese is, it’s a cheese made from the milk of the Manchega breed of sheep found in Spain’s La Mancha region.) Since I am fairly new to eating raw kale, I love the balance of flavors in this recipe!
I hope you will give the homegrown strawberries and kale combo a try — it will amaze you!
Kale Salad Ideas
Do you have a great recipe using kale? If so, please share with me! I will gladly trade you some fresh kale for a fabulous recipe. Just email me at Angie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, feel free to incorporate your own kale ideas into this salad. You can use apples during the fall season, or switch to another creamy cheese like ricotta if Manchego isn’t available. Meat lovers might even add bacon crumbles for an extra zing!
Eat well this spring,
- 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 large bunch (about 1lb) kale with stems torn, cut or julienned
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, julienned
- 1/4 cup almond slivers
- 2 oz grated Manchego cheese
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, mayonnaise, sugar and salt.
- Add the kale and toss to coat well.
- Set the bowl of kale aside for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the apricots, almonds, cheese and cranberries over the dressed kale.
- Toss again to evenly distribute.
- Season it with pepper and additional salt if needed.
- Arrange strawberry slices over the top of the salad and serve.