Kale Cranberry Almond Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette
Whole Foods Market is my go-to place for cheese. A few weeks back, I was at my local Whole Foods to get some mozzarella for pizza when a sample station caught my eye. There was a lady giving out samples of a kale salad with almonds and cranberries in some kind of a citrus vinaigrette. It was fabulous. The lady also had a coupon for a $1 off the salad. It was close to lunchtime and I am cheap, so I bought some salad (with the coupon, of course) and had it for lunch with some bread. It was a very satisfying meal.
For those of you who haven’t heard, kale is in fashion among foodies these days. A leafy green vegetable, it is part of the cabbage family and has high levels of beta carotene, Vitamin C and K and Calcium. It is considered a superfood and people add it to everything from smoothies to salads to stews. Kale chips (see here) are a pretty good healthy alternative to potato chips.
Kale can be bitter. The first time I used it, I put it in a veggie burger like I would lettuce or spinach and my kids weren’t happy. I have learned over time that you can massage the bitterness out of it by something acidic, like a vinegar, mask the bitterness by blending it with fruits and veggies, or just cook it.
Fast forward a few weeks and the kids were with their grandparents. I decided to cook a meal for my wife. Since it is summer where we live, I decided on a menu of cold peas soup with basil, stuffed tomatoes with brown rice and feta and the aforementioned kale salad. I got the recipes for the first two from Saveur and improvised the last one. This post is about the salad.
Kale – washed and cut into small bite sized chunks. Get rid of the stalk or keep it if you like.
Cranberries – whole dried or craisins, you pick
Almonds – cut into slivers and dry roasted on a pan
Lemon Vinaigrette – Olive Oil, Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Lemon Juice – steps below.
1. Make the vinaigrette. The standard recipe is 1 portion of acid (vinegar) for 3 of oil (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). To this I added a minced clove of garlic, salt and pepper to taste and some lemon juice. Shook it all up in a glass jar (with the lid closed, of course) for it to emulsify. Then I put it in the fridge for an hour or so.
2. In a salad bowl massage the vinaigrette into the kale leaves. Use as much or as little vinaigrette.
3. Top with cranberries and toasted almonds.
4. Toss and enjoy.