One of these statements is true:
- My children eat kale salads while wearing organic cotton track suits.
- My children eat grilled cheese sandwiches while watching television.
Yet I just bought four heads (bunches? leaf packs?) of kale at the farmers market Saturday. They’re just for me. I will single-handedly eat them by the end of the week. I know foodies have moved on to other nutrient-packed greens like collards and nasturtiums, but I’m still figuring out kale. (Here‘s my smoothie recipe.)
Keys to kale salad success:
- Remove the biggest, most sinewy parts of the stems and shove everything else through the food processor’s slicer attachment (you can thinly hand chop if you don’t have a food processor).
- Add tons of fall veggies and fruit, then finish with bacon or sausage.
- Drench in creamy dressing (coconut creaminess for me, because I currently don’t do dairy or eggs).
Texture in a salad, for me, is paramount. It’s amazing how thinly chopping those leathery leaves changes the gustatory experience. I was looking for an excuse to use “gustatory.”
For the kale and roasted veggies, I prepare giant batches and then pull from them all week.
Kale Salad with Fennel, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pear, and Bacon
- Using the slicer attachment on the food processor, thinly slice sweet potatoes (I don’t peel them because that’s extra work). Toss sliced sweet potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.*
- Place bacon on a baking tray and cook while the sweet potatoes are roasting–about 12–18 minutes.*
- Throw kale and fennel into the food processor using the slicer attachment (remove only the largest, most sinewy stems), and then put some of each into your bowl. My friend Sara brought over some fennel she didn’t want, and I was surprised how great it was in the salad. I didn’t use much of the hairy heads, but those are pretty fun to add in if you want.
- Thinly slice a pear and add that to the salad.
- Chop bacon and add it, along with sweet potatoes.
- Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).
*Times are all approximate because I have a 1964 oven that’s a furnace. Also I like things crispy. Also I often cook by smell instead of time. Never trust me.
Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Sausage, and Croutons
- Using the slicer attachment on your food processor, thinly slice kale.
- Cube sweet potatoes, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. (Remember that note on times.)
- Place sausage on a baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until cooked through. I use Lonely Lane Farm’s original pork sausage. Lonely Lane sells through the Beaverton Farmers Market, and I order their sausage by the case. Any sausage you like will work.
- Cube an apple and add it to the salad.
- Add roasted sweet potatoes and sliced sausage to the salad.
- Drench in creamy dressing (recipe below).
- Toss croutons on top. (I’m gluten free, so I go to New Cascadia Gluten Free Bakery and grab day-old bread, then chop it up, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes, and then store in a Tupperware on top of my fridge.)
Creamy Herb Salad Dressing (Vegan)
My process is to steal parsley from my backyard neighbor, cut rosemary from another neighbor, and then pillage my own yard for oregano. But I hear herbs can be bought at the store. Which is what I used to do before I became the Herb Burglar, a trashier and marginally less pretentious version of the Barefoot Contessa. The Herb Burglar calls this dressing Three Yards Vinaigrette.
- Procure herbs and throw them into a blender or food processor. Rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme–they all work. About a cup total, though I like to get up to two cups.
- Add a can of coconut milk (I get mine at Trader Joe’s), 1/4 cup vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 or 3 cloves garlic.*
- Blend until smooth and then add a steady stream of olive oil while the blender is running (about a half cup or more, to taste).
- Store in a jar in the fridge after you pour over your salad.
*The liquid measurements are very flexible. I mix based on how I’m feeling that day. You can use mayo I imagine instead of coconut milk, but it won’t be an apples-to-apples substitute. Basically you’re going for a consistency that pours nicely and coats the kale really well.