Winter Kale Salad

It’s the middle of winter – the time of year when hearty stews and warm soups call to us and New Year’s resolutions to eat better start to fail.  Well, here’s a hearty simple salad, that will stick to your ribs just as well as any stew, while at the same time being relatively heart and diet healthy.

This salad is derived from a salad served at Northern Spy Food Co., one of my favorite restaurants.  I’ve made a few adjustments and substitutions to suit my taste and to decrease preparation time.  It’s now become a regular in my kitchen.  It’s simple  (only 6 ingredients) and packs a big nutritional punch (Kale is low in saturated fat and cholesterol; is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, folate, iron, magnesium; and is a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese).

This salad is also surprisingly robust and well balanced flavor-wise.  The slight earthy bitterness of the raw Kale is perfectly offset by the freshness of the lemon juice.  The creamy nuttiness of the cheddar nicely balances the tartness of the apple and is complimented by the almonds which give a crunchy contrast to both the apples and cheddar.  Because this salad has such a strong combination of flavors, I find it completely satisfying as a stand alone meal. I’ve eaten this salad for lunch and felt full and energized for the whole afternoon.  I’m not a certified nutritionist, but I suspect that because the Kale is raw, it takes longer to digest.

Prep ahead / Lunch tip: This salad can be prepped the day before.  Don’t add the apples and lemon juice/walnut oil dressing until just before serving.  If you really want to add the apples in advance then I recommend that before adding the apples, you rub/sprinkle the apples with a little bit of lemon juice to retard the browning of the apples.

Winter Kale Salad

serves 4 as side salad or 2 as main course

Qty Item
1 bunch Lacinato Kale (also known as Cavolo Nero, Tuscan Kale, Dinosaur Kale or Black Kale)
1/4 cup (60g) Raw Almonds
1/4 cup (60g) Tart apple, cubed
1/4 cup (60g) Raw milk cheddar, cubed
1-2 tbsp (15-30ml) Fresh lemon juice
1-2 tbsp (15-30ml) Walnut Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Wash the Kale and then shake or wipe off any excess water. Remove the white ribs from the Kale and discard the ribs. Thinly slice the Kale leaves and place the slices into a large bowl. Raw Kale can be a little hard to digest so I recommend slicing it thinly to make it a little easier to digest.
  2. Place the almonds on a tray and lightly toast the almonds in a toaster oven or regular oven until they just start to give off a nutty aroma.  You can toast them in a dry pan on the stove top, but watch them carefully as nuts burn quickly.
  3. While the nuts are toasting, prepare the apple cubes.  I recommend a semi-tart apple such as Jonagold, but any firm apple that you like will do.
  4. Slice the cheddar into cubes.  I use a raw milk cheddar because I believe the flavor is richer, but if you’re uncomfortable with raw milk products (i.e., unpasteurized milk), any high quality cheddar would work just as well (this generally excludes the neon orange commercial brands).
  5. Toss the Kale, almonds, apples and cheddar with lemon juice and walnut oil to taste (go easy here – the leaves should glisten with dressing, not drown).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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