I’ve eaten kale for quite some time, but never raw. It’s one of those foods that I’ve grown to like through the years. I wouldn’t have touched the stuff 20 years ago. But times change and palates mature; maybe as I age I’m looking for healthier foods! Old me would simply add some chopped kale to a soup, stew or casserole. Sometimes I’d give the whole leaves a spritz of olive oil, lightly salt & pepper it and throw on the grill. Delicious kale chips! Just recently I’ve come to love it raw. I’ve been making this chopped salad a lot recently. Probably too much for Glenn 😉 But it’s addictive, and it’s one of the few salads that tastes better the second day… even if it’s already been dressed. Unlike lettuce, kale does not get limp after sitting in a vinaigrette…bonus points! I could eat this for lunch every day if it were around.
1 bunch kale – thick stems removed, leaves chopped well
1 apple – cored and chopped in bite-sized pieces [I use Gala]
2 stalks celery – chopped
1 carrot – thinly sliced [I use a vegetable peeler]
1/2 cup cucumber – diced [this was 1/2 cucumber for me]
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened dried cherries or cranberries
4 strips bacon – sliced in 1″ segments, crisped & drained on paper towels
1/2 cup walnut pieces – toasted
1/3 cup Olive Oil [I prefer Extra Virgin for salad dressings]
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
•In a dry skillet, lightly toast walnuts over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Keep an eye on the walnuts as they go from toasted to black rather quickly. Once they become fragrant and slightly browned [about 10 minutes], remove from heat and set aside to cool on a plate or paper towels.
•In the same skillet, crisp the bacon slices. Stir as necessary to get both sides nicely browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
•Meanwhile, wash and prep all vegetables. I prefer to cut all vegetables [and apple] in bite-sized pieces.
•Combine the kale, apple, celery, carrot, cucumber and dried cherries/cranberries in a large bowl. Reserve the bacon & walnuts for garnish.
•In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk well.
•Pour the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and toss well. Refrigerate 1-2 hours to allow flavors to mingle.
•Serve with the crispy bacon and toasted walnuts.