Kickin' Kale Salad

temp-post-imageYou’ve heard kale is “super food” good for you…right? If you haven’t heard this and tried it by now, I’ll tell you straight up, it’s true! I had never even experienced it in a salad until recent years when the raw foodies started popularizing it. Mostly I’d eaten it as my mom’s delicious kale and potato soup, which is one fabulous option for another post. However, in recent years, I’ve discovered that kale has many uses and it is eaten in countries across the globe, even as long ago as Greek and Roman times. There’s two types, Tuscan kale (or dinosaur kale) which has more long bluish-green leaves, and the borecole variety has more frilly curly green leaves.

Kale’s anti-cancer benefits are totally documented, as is lots of research on kale’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. This dark leafy green has got vitamins and minerals that are super high, thus the super food status, (especially A, K, and C), and then calories and cholesterol that are super low. Basically kale is good for our immune systems, cancer prevention, hearts, eyes, osteoporosis prevention, and more! Here are a few ways you can eat it:

• Fresh young crispy kale can be used raw in salads, especially if properly chopped into thin ribbons, then massaged and marinated with sea salt and lemon.
• Mature leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sautéed.
• Tuscan kale leaves are popular winter staples in all over Mediterranean, used in soups, stews, salads, pizza, and pasta.
• The leaves also used in the variety of traditional kale recipes with potatoes, green beans, poultry, and meat.
• It can be baked with olive oil and sea salt for a yummy kale chip snack.
• In Japan, fresh kale juice is quite popular. If you combine it with carrot, beet, apple, lemon and ginger you don’t even know it’s there. Or, if you’re into juicing it makes for a great ‘green drink’ ingredient.

Kickin’ Kale Salad:

I recently served this at a dinner party, not only was it devoured very quickly, everyone asked for the recipe. So here it is by yours truly, I hope you enjoy as much as we did,

• 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
• 1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and chopped
• 1 lemon, juiced
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
• sea salt (enough to sprinkle liberally for marinating)
• 2 teaspoons agave nectar (dark)
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
• Small handful sesame seeds (toasting optional, also pumpkin seeds work nicely), about 2 rounded tablespoons

In large serving bowl, slice your kale into super thin ribbons, add half- three quarters of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little sea salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. It will start to break down the cellulose, and shrink a bit. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the agave nectar and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.
Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the chopped cucumber, mango and sesame seeds.

Toss, serve and enjoy!