Kale Salad for People Who Don’t Like Kale

Health coaches commonly hear this complaint: “But I don’t like vegetables.” We understand. You’re motivated to make changes to your health and lifestyle, but some things you just don’t like. Let’s look at this from a few angles. First, research has shown that our taste buds will often adapt to tastes we don’t like after repeated exposures. Second, if you don’t like veggies, chances are you haven’t been preparing them properly! And, there are so so so many vegetables out there, that if you don’t like one or two or three, TONS still remain for you to try!

For today, let’s take kale. Bitter, fibrous, YUK. Actually, I’m with you. When I’m at a potluck and I just see torn, raw kale salad, even if it’s mixed in with something else, I usually move on. It’s like chewing leather. But alternate means of preparing it are worth exploring, since it’s a powerhouse of nutrient density and fiber. If you like a good restaurant Caesar salad, with the strong garlic and lemon flavors, with some nice shaved Parmesan, this is for you!

Let’s dive in. I love a good sharp knife, first of all. Dull knives make the task harder and slower, and potentially more dangerous, as you slip and slide. I like Rada Knives. I don’t work for them, I just love them! They’re made in the USA, and they are very inexpensive. Plus they come with their own sharpener, so you don’t need to pay to have them sharpened, which can get expensive and inconvenient if you use your knives a lot. I’ve had our chef knife for about 15 years, and it’s as good as new, and I use it several times a week.

Shoot for one large head of kale, or two smaller ones. Go for organic if you can, as kale is on the Dirty Dozen list. This is a list put together each year by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), which identifies top fruits and veggies with the most pesticide residues. These are known to cause health hazards for us, so consider organic for this list at least!

Use the knife to cut the leaves away from that fibrous center stem, which you can toss, or you can also dice them up and steam/saute them with other veggies, as they are edible. I take the bigger leaf pieces and roll them up, and then slice them into thin, long ribbons. Throw it all in a large bowl.

Cats are optional!!!!! 🙂

For the dressing, get yourself a medium sized bowl. This becomes an exercise in adjusting to your tastes, especially given that every size head of kale is different. I’d suggest err on the side of making it less strong, and you can always add more of what suits your tastes. As general guidelines, mince up 2-3 cloves of garlic very finely (or buy jarred minced garlic if you like). Add 1 heaping tablespoon of mayo, 1 heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and optional includes maybe a half teaspoon of sesame oil and a small dash of fish sauce (I use Red Boat brand). These are what give it a pretty strong Caesar flavor (aside from the garlic, of course!). Mix really well, and truthfully I just do a finger test and add more of whatever I think it needs. Sometimes I add a few hefty dashes of black pepper.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and use your hands to massage the living daylights out of it. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! Til your hands get tired! This is what magically makes this salad soft and not like eating leather.

At this point, I like to add in 2-3 heaping tablespoons of shredded or shaved Parmesan. And it’s done!

This salad is WAY better the next day, and keeps nicely in the fridge for 3-4 days at least. Save it in Tupperware or glass container(s) where you place it in, but don’t pack it in. You’ve already mashed the heck out of it, so compacting it even further in storage just yields squished salad.

And there you have it! If you make it, I’d love to hear your comments/questions, so please feel free to drop me a note at [email protected] .

To your good health! And thanks to Katrine Dunn Photography in Gainesville for the photo of the finished product.

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