Greens were certainly the stars at yesterday’s farmers’ market—everything from mustard greens to arugula, green garlic to lettuce, spinach to kale. I came home with a most beautiful bunch of Russian Red Kale determined to prepare a raw kale salad we would both enjoy.
As my first attempt last week was way too lemony, change was in order. Loving the purple cabbage from the Farro Salad (and jicama all the time), both were added to today’s salad along with toasted walnuts and a handful of freshly grated pecorino cheese. The light lemon dressing brought it all together deliciously.
For the last year or so, I’ve read a number of recipes for raw kale salads. I tried one somewhere a while ago that was a bit too tough and too chewy to ever want to try one again.
Kale and cabbage (and a number of other veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, arugula, and watercress) are part of the cabbage family of vegetables. These are all nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetables that are valuable additions to our diet throughout the year both raw and cooked.
Russian Red Kale
This is a particularly delicate and tender variety of kale and a great variety to use for kale salads. All varieties of kale will work, though the younger the leaves the more tender they’ll be. Some cooks recommend “massaging the leaves” as a way of tenderizing them. Otherwise, just choose Russian Red Kale—no massaging needed. Though in order to evenly coat the veggies, I prefer to use my hands when tossing them with the dressing.
How to chiffonade the kale
Thinly slicing the kale into slender shreds or chiffonade makes the kale less chewy and the salad similar to a coleslaw. Here are a few photos with instructions for quickly and efficiently making kale chiffonade.
Next, roll the stack together forming a tight cylinder.
Thinly slice the cylinder to chiffonade the kale.
Warm weather, picnics and raw kale salad
With our warmer weather, salads appeal to me even more (though they are about my favorite food for all seasons). The kale, cabbage and jicama all stay crisp and tasty for at least a day (that’s as long we’ve had any leftover salad in our house to test), so this is also a perfect picnic salad. I’m even considering taking it camping with us.
I’d like to try other kale salad combinations; do you perhaps have a raw kale salad recipe you’d like to share?
This recipe makes a lot of salad, which is great, as it is as delicious the next day as the first day—so perfect for picnics, too.
Makes about 12 cups; 4-6 servings as a main dish salad
1 bunch Russian Red Kale, 10 cups chiffonade
6 cups shredded purple cabbage
2-3 cups julienne jicama
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
½ cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon stone ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
Dozen twists freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Let the garlic sit in the fresh lemon juice while you prepare the salad ingredients to remove the “sharpness” from the garlic.
Prepare the Dressing: Use a fork to stir the mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper into the lemon juice and garlic. Continue to whisk with the fork while slowly adding the olive oil until the dressing thickens. Use your hands to toss the vegetables with the dressing. Let the salad sit for at least 20 minutes in order to soften the kale and infuse the vegetables with the dressing.
Just before serving, toss in the toasted walnuts and grated pecorino cheese, holding back a little of each for garnishing the top of the salad.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe without images