2013 was a year of a lot of over-rated food trends. Cue bacon flavored ice cream in continuation of 2012, fancy-flavored doughnuts, meat-laden paleo philosophy, overly sweet cake pops, almond milk overload, yadda yadda yadda. Don’t hate me if you disagree. I am a healthy, mostly vegetarian food blogger, after all. And I’ve always disliked bacon.
There have been plenty of good 2013 trends, too, however. Like the proliferation of farmer’s markets and local food production, cauliflower everything, red quinoa, gourmet vegan food, and kale salads.
Perhaps kale salads were more of a 2012 phenomenon, but so be it. I still think they’re trendy, and they’ve graced my bowl this year more than any other. 2013 was the year that kale salad really stole my heart.
I’m going to say this is because it took me awhile, and I think restaurants too, to really get the hang of mastering them. Which is really not a hard thing to do. But if you miss the key step of massaging the leaves, your kale salad will never be trendy, no matter how pretty it is. Every raw kale leaf needs a trip to the spa before heading to the fork.
Get your (clean) hands in there with a little oil though, and kale can become the perfect slate for a heartier, more long-living version of a salad. This is what I love about it. It stores well, and often becomes even better, after a day left in the fridge. I tend to eat a whole lot healthier during the workweek when I have snacks/dishes already waiting for me, and lately that’s meant a ton of huge bowls of kale salad. I must say, I often feel my best when this is included in my week.
The following recipe was inspired by this lovely picture I came across on the New York Times Well blog. I generally do a ton of tahini-based kale salads, but this purple and green combination caught my eye, and I wanted mine to look like the NYT’s one, with just an oil-based dressing. So I spun off that and went with toasted sesame oil. I liked this so much that after bringing it to a party, I made it again the following day. Sometimes you need a huge bowl of kale salad all to yourself. Following the holiday season is certainly the perfect time for that.
- -4 cups stemmed, slivered curly kale
- -1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -3 cups finely sliced red cabbage
- -1/4 cup chopped pecans
- -2 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
- -2 tsp. sherry vinegar
- -2-3 tsp. Dijon mustard (to taste)
- -1 small garlic clove, minced
- -3/4 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- -Salt and pepper to taste
- Place a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add pecans, and toast until edges are browned, stirring frequently. Dump into a bowl and set aside.
- Place the slivered kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and add olive oil. Toss together and massage the leaves thoroughly with your hands. Add the cabbage, and season with salt and pepper.
- Whisk together the rice vinegar, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic and sesame oil. Toss with salad. Top with toasted pecans.
Will keep for a day or two in the fridge.