Spring is in full bloom in my backyard garden, and the kale has completely exploded on the scene. The dark, hardy leaves are springing forth seemingly more quickly than I can harvest them for a morning smoothie or a dinner sauté.
Today’s recipe is inspired by a salad I had at a farm to table restaurant in Berkeley a while back. It was so perfectly balanced and seemed so easy to make that I simply had to try it at home. We’ve created a number of versions of this salad using the same quick-brining technique for the kale, adding avocado to some, sliced citrus to others, and varying the nut variety and seasonings. This one, however, is sure to please even the most skeptical palate. It’s simple flavors and hint of sweet will have your guests (or your spouse) asking “what’s in this?” You’ll be able to confidently tell them that this salad has no salad dressing and no unnecessary ingredients — pure goodness!
Ingredients (serves 2 to 3):
- one large bunch fresh kale (I used curly kale from the garden, but I’ve also used dino kale and red russian with great success and added color)
- good quality salt (like Real salt or Himalayan salt)
- 1/2 fresh red onion, sliced thinly
- whole raw almonds (I’ve also used pre-seasoned almonds — smoked BBQ were my favorite — and sliced almonds are fine too)
- raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 tsp real maple syrup
- Braggs Liquid Aminos (optional)
- Tear the leaves of kale away rom the ribs and into small, 1 inch by 1 inch pieces and place into a large bowl
- Rinse the kale and drain, squeezing out the excess water, and set aside
- Gently heat 2 tbs olive oil in a shallow sauté pan while thinly slicing half a red onion
- Sauté onions until they become translucent, sprinkling in a pinch of salt. Once they are translucent, add in the maple syrup and thoroughly incorporate it.
- Turn off burner and set aside
- Heavily salt the kale, using more than you think you should and incorporating it into the leaves.
- Massage the leaves vigorously, squeezing the leaves and separating them so that every surface has been exposed to the salt (should take a couple of minutes)
- Mix in almonds, pumpkin seeds, sautéed onions, and 1 or 2 sprays of Braggs, and incorporate