Friday, September 28, 2012

Raw Kale Salad

I really think you should get into kale. According to WebMD, one cup of kale has only 36 calories, but 5 grams of fiber, 15% of your recommended calcium and vitamin B6 intake, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C and a whopping 1020% of vitamin K. It also has loads of potassium. Talk about a superfood.

There are lots of ways to prepare kale. You can boil it or saute it in a little bit of fat (think extra virgin olive oil or a small amount of bacon grease for some extra flavor). You can make it into substitute chips (I have to admit this is not my favorite thing; I tried it but I have a disgust for eating paper-like things and I just couldn't get behind more than a few of them. But I know lots of people who really like them). You can blend it into a green smoothie. You can make it into pesto. You can serve it raw like I'm doing here. To break down the toughness of the leaves, you're going to want to massage the kale first with some oil and something acidic. You can use lemon juice (that's what I normally do when I'm making a side salad of kale). Here, though, I'm using balsamic vinegar. Works great. Feel free to experiment with toppings but I went with some bacon, apple, feta cheese and sunflower seeds. It was perfect for a quick and easy (and healthy!) weeknight meal.

Raw Kale Salad with Apples, Bacon, and Feta
Approximately 2 cups torn kale (stems removed)
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 dash salt
1/2 cup diced apple (something tart like Jonathan or Granny Smith)
1 slice bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled*
1 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds**
1/8 cup feta cheese

Place the torn kale in a bowl. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard and salt. Pour onto the kale and massage in with your hands. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.

Toss the apples with kale. Top with the bacon, sunflower seeds and cheese.

*I typically chop up the raw bacon using kitchen shears and then cook in a pan over medium heat. When the bacon reaches my desired crispiness, I drain off the fat and pat the bacon crumbles dry.

**Toast raw sunflower seeds in a small amount of oil (or leftover bacon fat from above) over medium heat stirring constantly until they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

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