Without a Hitch – Garlicky Kale Salad
This year marked the first thanksgiving that went off without a hitch. It was almost surreal. I mean, granted, I flew up to Boston 5 days before the big event to begin prepping each and every one of the 11 or 12 (don’t know I lost count) dishes that graced our Holiday Table, but it was the first time in a long time that I actually had an opportunity to breathe, to really and truly spend time with family, to catch up on their latest and greatest, and it was simply awesome. And with no major disaster to right, or problem to solve, by the time I sat down at the dinner table, I was actually relaxed. Contributing to the feeling of serenity, this year’s dessert crew elected to bake up desserts that could be made ahead of time, and served at room temperature, so I did not spend the entire meal trying to guestimate the correct time to pop this or that pie or clafoutis in the oven. Sheer joy, I tell you.
To go with my last post on a healthful thanksgiving, we decided to mix some healthful dishes into the traditional holiday mix. One dish I had discovered entirely by coincidence at a Whole Foods a month or so ago. The dish was set out aside a small chalkboard which outlined some of the benefits of a raw foods diet. It was green, it smelled pungent, I was intrigued. I ate the delightful little cup of kale in one gulp, not entirely sure what I had just eaten but happy with my decision to try the unknown leafy green thing. I circled around the store trying to find someone to tell me what the dish was in hopes that I might be able to recreate it at home. I found no one.
I got another sample hoping to be able to decipher what it might be. Still no clue what ingredients where contained within, I finally spotted a helpful store clerk who explained that my new leafy friend was Kale (an old friend really but here in a new context) and that it was dressed in a vegan dressing. They sold the dish in the store. I wrote down the dish’s name, checked out, and proceeded home where I scoured the internet for the recipe. And low and behold it appears that others have also become enamored with the Whole Foods Kale Salad because home chef’s variations on the dish abounded on the internet. I found one that looked the most like the dish I had tried, cut and washed my shiny new bunch of kale, and mixed it up in a jiff. Let me tell you ladies and gentlemen, Brittany Mullins of the blog “Eating Bird Food,” hit the nail on the head when she worked out this recipe.
Not only is her recipe for Garlicky Kale salad a dead ringer for the one I had tasted at Whole Foods, but it is brilliantly easy to make! And to top it all off it is amazingly healthy. According to Web MD’s Kathleen Zelman, one cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6. Additionally the veggie contains 40% of our RDA of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Wow that’s one healthy mouthful. The garlicky dressing is somewhat akin to Caesar, it has the same pungent garlicky bite and creamy smoothness that comes from the combination of tahini and nutritional yeast that thicken the sauce. Nutritional yeast is a great source of proteins and vitamins, it can be a bit tough to find but most health foods stores (including whole foods) carry it. So dive in, try something new, unknown (and hopefully delicious.) Who knows, it just might surprise you.
Garlicky Kale Salad – from Eating Bird Food
2 TBSP Tahini
2 TBSP Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 TBSP Liquid Amino Soy Alternative
2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP Minced or Crushed Garlic
4 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
1 Large Bunch of Kale
Cut the kale into 1 1/2 inch pieces by chopping perpendicular to the stem. Include the stems as they create a nice contrast to the slightly wilted leaves. Wash the kale in a salad spinner and allow to drain until mostly dry.
Mix the tahini, lemon juice, liquid amino, apple cider vinegar, garlic and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. Once the dressing is mixed, add the kale.
Now the fun begins! Knead and scrunch and squish the kale into the dressing by hand and watch it reduce in size by more than half.
The kale is ready to eat when dressed, but will soften nicely after an hour or more, which may be favorable depending on the crunchiness of your kale.