Never before in my life had I ever envisioned posting a blog about kale. It isn’t exactly the thing I think of when I’m craving yummy foods, and I’ve been known to make fun of people (sorry, Sean Maher, I love you) for eating it in the past. But things have changed. It’s delicious, my friends. No, really.
Celina Dean is of course to blame for this change of heart, and lucky for us, she’s agreed to share her recipe for this fabulous little salad. So vegetarian readers, you have Celina to thank! And if you’re not vegetarian, go out on a (tree) limb and give this one a go. If I can do it, you can do it. And you’ll be glad you did.
Craveable Kale Salad
by Celina Dean
(Inspired by Sweet Butter Kitchen, Café and Market)
I was introduced to the Sweet Butter Kitchen, Café and Market on Ventura Blvd by my sweet buddy Sara Jean. Oh delight! I love breakfast and lunch foods and this place serves all of that. Baked goods, breads, egg dishes, soups, salads… everything is beautiful and delicious and it’s all served in a sweet homey oasis of décor that lives somewhere between a backyard garden and Anthroplogie. Sherman Oaks, you’re so lucky to have this lovely spot! But guys, I live on the west side of the city. Also, I want to be able to eat the thing that I want when I want it. So sometimes I just have to figure out how to make the thing I want for myself. In this case- Kale Salad.
Sara and I shared a gorgeous and delicious kale salad (as well as a Brussel sprout salad, some fresh baked bread, chocolate chip cookies and lattes) and I knew I’d have to get to the bottom of it for the sake of my type A brain and my obsessive taste buds. There were a variety of textures and flavors that pleased me to no end. The following recipe is in the wheelhouse of what they serve and I now crave and need to consume it at least twice weekly. Seriously. I’m starting to wonder if I have some kind of dark green deficiency in my diet because I cah-rave this salad a lot.
Embrace your inner kale! Don’t fear the kale! Love the kale! This salad will help with that, I promise. And get this- it’s raw. Nope, not even lightly steamed. So not only is it delicious, you can feel vaguely smug about the fact that you’re consuming something super healthy for your body.
Craveable Kale Salad
Serves: 4 starter portions, 2 side salad sizes or 1 greedy lunch portion
1 bunch Kale*
¼ cup dried Cranberries
1/3 cup whole Pecans
*If you buy Kale at the farmer’s market, you can experiment with different kinds. Some are sharper, milder, more bitter… You’ll love them all in this recipe.
½ tbsp. Rice Vinegar
½ tbsp. Malt Vinegar
2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil, approx. 2 tbsp.
1 tsp. honey or agave
Salt and Pepper to taste
*Play around here. These flavors appeal to me because I’m looking for an acidic and sweet dressing to compliment the bite of the kale, but seriously and for real, use what you have on hand and what you think you’ll use again and not have sitting in your cupboard for the next two years.
Extra and in no way necessary:
¼ c Parmesan or blue or feta or your favorite cheese to toss with the salad… whatever you have in your fridge will do. Has cheese ever not made anything more delicious? NO, YOU FOOL!
What to do:
1) Pour vinegars and oil into an old jam jar, add a squirt or two of agave or honey, salt and pepper, cover and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Remove lid and add cranberries- let them absorb some liquid while you combine the rest of the salad.
2). Toast pecans in a pan; medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Shake the pan frequently and keep and eye on them so they don’t burn. Set aside.
3) Wash and pat or spin dry your kale leaves. In your salad bowl, tear the leaves from the tough center and into bite sized pieces.
4) Scoop cranberries from the jar into the salad bowl, pour over as much of the dressing as suits you (I use it all), add the pecans and a sprinkle of cheese. Toss, plate, consume.
Pretty sure this salad will hold up to a couple of days in the fridge, but since I manage to pound it back all by myself and in one sitting, I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure.
Sweet Butter Café, Kitchen and Market
13824 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423