The jewel-like sparkle of Kale Tabouli, along with its ease of preparation, makes it an ideal salad for Thanksgiving and beyond. Kale Tabouli’s bright flavors from juicy pears, crunchy walnuts and sweet/tart pomegranate seeds provide a great counter to all the richness of the holiday table. Plus, as sturdy kale takes a long time to wilt, you can make this salad a few hours in advance. To have crunchy walnuts, though, add them just before serving.
Michael Solomonov and Zahav
I’ve adapted this recipe for Kale Tabouli from Philadelphia Chef Michael Solomonov’s new book Zahav, A World of Israeli Cooking. At the restaurant Zahav, as in Israel, vegetables are everything. Meals begin with a variety of salatim. Which Solomonov describes as “little dishes filled with vegetables treated in every imaginable way: cooked and raw, dressed and marinated, pickled and spiced, roasted and stewed.” Kale Tabouli is often on the menu during the fall and winter months when fabulous fresh tomatoes are few and far between.
Solomonov speaks with the voice of experience on adapting recipes to the season and to personal taste. “Focus on the technique, not the ingredients, and adapt it to your kitchen.”
Ripe and ready to eat
Whether Bosc, Bartlet, Anjou or Comice, pears require gentle handling. To test for ripeness, press lightly on the neck of the pear close to the stem. When the pear gives to your pressure, you’ve got a ripe pear. Enjoy it immediately. Or, store it in the refrigerator for up to three-five days before eating.
Place pears in a brown paper bag at room temperature to hasten their ripening. This keeps their naturally released ethylene gas all around them, speeding up the process. In more of a hurry? Add a banana to the bag. As bananas also give off ethylene gas, together the pears and bananas will ripen even more quickly. For the best texture, avoid over ripening the pears by checking them daily for ripeness.
Removing pomegranate seeds
Easy, yes, though, it may still take 8-10 minutes to free all the seeds. You’ll be generously rewarded for your effort with about one cup of sweet, tart, flavorful and very nutritious seeds (also known as arils) from a medium pomegranate.
- Slice the pomegranate into quarters. Place them in a large bowl of cold water. Let them sit for 5 minutes.
- With your hands in the water, peel off the skin and connective membrane. Gently release the seeds with your fingers. The skin and membrane float to the surface. Gather them up with a small strainer and discard.
- The pomegranate seeds sink to the bottom of the bowl. Drain them through a strainer. Dry the seeds. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Inspired by and adapted from a recipe from Chef Michael Solomonov’s new cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. A beautiful, naturally gluten-free salad with refreshing, bright flavors, including a bit of crunch, a bit of tart and a bit of juicy sweetness.
• I use the tender leaves of Tuscan kale. Russian or curly kale leaves will also work.
• Crumbled soft goat cheese adds a richness of taste and texture that perfectly complements Kale Tabouli.
• Add the toasted walnuts just before serving, so they remain crunchy.
• Without a ripe pear, use a crisp apple instead.
• Without lemony sumac, substitute a quarter teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side or entrée salad Printer-Friendly Recipe
Total Time 25 minutes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground sumac
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup very thinly sliced shallots or purple onion
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ – ¾ bunch of Tuscan kale
½ cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup ½-inch diced ripe pear or apple
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- Combine the red wine vinegar, sumac and salt in a small bowl. Add the thinly sliced shallots or purple onion and toss to combine. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly toast the walnuts for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Place the lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
- Cut the stems from the Tuscan kale leaves, saving them for another use. Very thinly slice the kale leaves. You want 4 packed cups of sliced kale. Toss the kale in the dressing.
- Remove the seeds from a pomegranate. Add ½ cup of them to the kale, saving the rest for another use.
- Add the diced pear to the kale.
- Add the marinated shallots and their liquid along with the crumbled goat cheese to the kale. Toss everything to combine.
- Just before serving Kale Tabouli, toss in the walnuts.