I have a lot of flaws. I’m impatient, competitive and sometimes I listen to the same song 4235 times in a row. I quote Liz Lemon and wait to see if anyone notices, I yell at pedestrians for crossing where there’s no crosswalk and do EXACTLY the same thing myself, I cheat at cards and I would agree to watch a documentary only if I was also reading a book. I am 28 years old and still make fart jokes, I eat mini marshmallows straight from the bag and I never listen to my voicemail.
But! I also eat a shitload of kale, so I figure it all balances out.
Realistically, I eat this salad 2-3 times a week. Because I LOVE it. People I’ve made it for have scoffed, heartily, at this salad, because technically the kale is raw. But they have all been turned by the power of kale salad. Once, a 7 year old ate this salad voluntarily. I dress this salad in one of three ways: sesame-soy dressing, lemon-parmesan dressing, or garlic-tahini dressing. Any of the three will change your life. Additionally, you get to enjoy the smug sense of superiority you can only get from eating something REALLY healthy. Later, when you eat french fries while drinking a beer in a bar, you can say to everyone in shouting distance “IT’S FINE, I ATE A LOT OF RAW KALE EARLIER.” Everyone will really appreciate it.
The main drawback to this salad is that it’s about 100% more labor intensive than I like cooking to be. You have to wash the kale (it’s a sandy vegetable), rip out the bitter, overly cruciferous spines, rip up the leaves, massage the lot with salt, then rinse all the salt off, then wring it out, then dress it. It’s like a 20 minute process. But it’s worth it. I had the best run of my life after having had coffee, 4 gallons of water and kale salad. It’s magic. (I also just realized this salad is vegan the only way food is acceptably vegan: accidentally.) Because I haven’t written a blog post in 7 years, I’m going to give you all three dressing recipes. You’re welcome.
2 bunches of kale (I make two bunches for only myself. If you’re making it for guests, probably go 3-4.)
2 tablespoons or so of kosher salt
Dressing of choice*
So basically, the salt cooks the kale a little. It wilts the leaves, takes away the bitterness and shrinks it. So! You wash the kale leaves very well (sandy!), rip out the spines of the leaves, and rip up the leaves. Put all the ripped up leaves in a big bowl.
When you’ve washed and ripped all the kale (approximately 2 months after starting the process), sprinkle about a couple teaspoons or so of kosher salt all over the kale. Don’t be afraid of saltiness, because you’re going to rinse all the salt off later. Massage the salt into the kale for 2 minutes. If possible, draft someone else to do the massaging, because why not!
After massaging, you can let the kale sit for awhile, kind of marinating in the salt, if you like your kale really wilted. If not, rinse the salt off right after the massaging and the kale will be more crunchy and bouncy. When you’re ready to rinse it off, put all the kale in a colander and rinse it very well.
If you do a bad job, the kale will be too salty and everyone will cry. So rinse it well. Then, take it in handfuls and squeeze out all the excess water, putting the kale back into the big bowl. Then dress it and try not to eat it all while you make the rest of dinner.
Soy-sesame – My favorite. 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, black pepper. If you have sweet Thai chili sauce, put a couple teaspoons of that in there too.
Lemon-parmesan – juice of 2 lemons, zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 cup or so fresh parmesan, salt and pepper.
Garlic-tahini – 1-2 cloves garlic, zested on a microplane, juice of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons of tahini paste, salt and pepper. In the interest of being honest, I will admit that I copied this recipe from a kale salad they have at Whole Foods in the pre-made salad section, which I eat when I am lazy.