I love kale … but I know it is not something that appeals to everyone.
Over the past year I have come to realise that many people do not know how to prepare kale for their salads so that they don’t feel they are eating “hay”.
When I did my Wholefood Course some years ago it was stressed to us that kale is a fabulous food, but it needs to be prepared properly. If you are cooking it then there is no problem as it will break down in the cooking process. But if you are eating it as a salad it needs to be “massaged” well to help break down its fibres making it more digestible, and allowing its nutrients to be more easily taken up by the body (see here for more detail).
I have shown a number of my dear friends over the past year how I prepare my kale but only last week a friend mentioned I hadn’t put that process up on the website, or posted the salad and dressing that I use with it. So here it is.
There are different types of kale but the one I am using for this recipe is called “curly kale” and is easily available.
In terms of preparing the kale, this is what I do:
- Remove the leaves from the stem, tearing them into smaller pieces about the size of baby spinach leaves
- Place into a salad spinner and wash well – or wash and drain on tea towels ensuring all the liquid is removed
- If you have a large kale bunch (they can sometimes be huge) then do this is two lots so that the leaves are washed well
- Once washed, if you are not using all the kale remove what you don’t want and put aside (if it is a very big bunch then you may wish to only use half now, and keep the other half for another day – it will keep well in the fridge in a sealed container or snap lock bag for two to three days)
- Place kale into a large mixing bowl, drizzle it lightly with olive oil, vinegar (you can use apple cider – which is my preference – or white wine vinegar), sea salt flakes and freshly milled pepper (use as much as you need for the amount of kale you have … I usually use a tablespoon or two of the oil and vinegar depending on the amount I am massaging … the more you do this process the more you will get used to how much to use for your liking)
- Using both your hands lift the kale pieces and lightly squeeze and crush the kale in your hands while you lightly rub them together … do this for a good couple of minutes, and you will see that the kale will start to soften and turn a brighter shade of green
- Have a taste of one of the leaves, and if it is done to your liking it is now ready to use … if you think it is still a little tough then continue for a further minute or two until it is done to your liking – it should still have a little texture to it
- You can keep the stems and use them in a cooked dish (e.g. soup), but we usually add them to our compost
To toast buckwheat place a layer of raw buckwheat kernels on a baking tray, and bake in a pre-heated 180 degree fan forced oven for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, mix around on the tray and bake for a further 3 to 5 minutes until done to your liking … it should be a nice toasty colour but take care it doesn’t overcook as all ovens behave differently. I always bake more than I need and keep the rest in a glass jar in the fridge to use for other meals (I also use it sometimes to sprinkle on chocolate bark – along with dried berries – which gives a lovely delicious crunch!).
You can buy pomegranate molasses quite easily these days from health food stores, independent supermarkets, and specialist delis, but if you wish to make it yourself (so easy to do), then follow the process here. The dressing itself has been adapted from a recipe by Mike McEnearney which appeared in the latest edition of the Urban Oz Harvest cookbook (see here) which is just fabulous!
- 4 tbls pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbls lemon or lime juice
- 6 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt flakes and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch kale, trimmed, washed, and torn into smaller pieces
- Extra virgin olive oil / apple cider vinegar / sea salt flakes and pepper (for massaging kale)
- Handful of Italian parsley, washed, whole leaves only
- Toasted buckwheat to sprinkle
- Radish, thinly sliced
- Green or red cabbage, thinly sliced
- Pomegranate seeds
- Roasted pumpkin slices for a more substantial salad – sprinkle pumpkin with Nigella seeds for a lovely flavour combination
- Combine dressing ingredients (this will make more than you need so store extra in the fridge and use on other salads ... it's delicious!)
- Place kale into a large bowl and massage with a little olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt flakes and pepper to help break down fibres
- Once done to your liking, place kale onto a large serving platter
- Drizzle kale with the dressing
- Place the parsley leaves around the kale so that it can be seen easily
- Finally sprinkle the salad with toasted buckwheat (do this last if you are adding any of the other optional extras)