Massaged Kale Salad
So I’m going to let you in on one of my favorite little quirks about my lovely and beautiful wife Asheley. She absolutely gets freaked out by having to mix ingredients together by hand. Like an absurd amount of freaked out. Mix together some egg and flour for pasta? Nope. Bring together a crumble topping with softened butter? No way. Give her a spoon though and she’ll be the best stirring sous chef there is. She is the resident stirrer in our house, but her hands refuse to get down, dirty, and up close and personal with those ingredients,
I just find that super odd because she works in the medical field and does (and loves doing) much more hands-on tasks at work, including scrubbing in on surgeries and the like. Excuse me Asheley, can you please reach in there and clamp down on that main artery? Sure, sounds great! Excuse me Asheley, can you please mix together these ingredients with your hands? Heck no, that’s gross!
See what I mean? So needless to say when it came time for massaging this lovely, delightful kale salad, Asheley had less than zero desire to participate in the fun.
Anyway, this recipe was actually sent to me from my good friend Tyler’s (you’ve heard of him before… he’s the brains behind all the technical aspects of the Shared Appetite) fiancé Ashley. She is doing the same little food cleanse that Asheley and I are doing, and thought this salad was really good. I was skeptical at first, as she handed me a little ziploc bag full of nutritional yeast that the recipe apparently called for. Nutritional yeast? Uhm, what the heck is that…
It ends up, nutritional yeast is not only really good for you (it’s packed with B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein), but it also actually tastes pretty good. Vegans use it for flavor, which is a bit nutty and cheesy. Apparently (although I’m not convinced), one can make a vegan version of pseduo-mac n’ cheese using this nutritional yeast stuff. If you don’t have nutritional yeast and don’t want to get it, you can totally just leave it out. If you are interested though, here is a good brand to go with.
And something else I’ve never done before: massage kale. I’ve cooked kale. I’ve even tried my hand at baked kale chips. But give it a special massage? Who knew… but it is a critical step in the process, since the romantic little gesture you perform actually releases the bitterness from the kale, leaving you with a absolutely scrumptious, flavorful, bright salad.
And feel free to add in your own mix-ins to this salad. Next time I am thinking maybe some beans could be nice, or maybe some pear… I like pears. Customize it to your liking
- 5 large leaves kale, cut into a fine chiffonade*
- 6 crimini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, roughly chopped
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 1 - 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 small shallots or 1 large, or 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Handful of coarsely chopped slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast powder (or 2 tablespoons if using nutritional yeast flakes)
*To cut the kale into a fine chiffonade, simply stack the kale leaves on top of one another, roll them up like a cigar, and then cut into thin strips, creating fine ribbons of kale.
Place the thinly sliced shallots/onion in a bowl of ice water for at least 10 minutes, then drain. This will remove the pungency and raw "bite".
In a large salad bowl, place the kale, mushrooms, avocado, salt, and the juice of 1 lemon. Rub and squeeze the mixture with your hands until the kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, spinach, carrot, tomatoes, and shallots/onion and mix gently with your hands just to combine. Add the slivered almonds and nutritional yeast, and stir to combine.
Taste and add more Kosher salt and the juice of the second lemon if you think it needs it. I typically add the juice from 1/2 of the second lemon. It gives it that extra kick of brightness that I personally love.
What to do with the leftover lemon?! Check out this cool trick.