The greens are attacking, the greens are attacking! Runnn….to the garden that is.
The last time I took a visit out to my parent’s garden, it was filled with nothing but leaves — leaves of many different kinds. Buttery lettuces, baby spinach, chard, arugula and kale of all colors, textures and sizes. My mom eats these on a twice-a-day, sometimes three-times-a-day basis, so yes, that garden gets put to good use. And thank god for that.
I need my mom to be here for many more years to come. Who else is going to answer all of my frantic phone calls for advice? With her kind of diet, I can rest in the fact that her odds of being on planet Earth forever fare pretty high. I hope.
Farmer’s markets will likely have greens all summer long, but now’s the best time to fill up your bags with them. As the Earth tilts a little closer to the sun, and its rays start to embrace this side of the globe with a little more passion, the garden greens become bitter. While I love a nice hot summer, my leafy friends do not, and they’ll scream this to you from your plate. For most varieties, the slightly cooler seasons of spring and fall are ideal.
Raw kale salad lends itself best to the young, more tender and least bitter leaves you can only find at the beginning of each season. I’m not a horse, and thus, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of sitting down to a salad I’ll need to chew for longer than an episode of Mad Men. I do enjoy a good raw kale salad though, and it’s in the spring you’ll find me making them. Heartier than a typical salad, and yielding more ruffly, textured bites than you can attain from cooked kale, salads like these provide a nice change of pace.
Make sure to give your hands a good wash so you can put them to work. You’ll really want to massage the dressing into the kale. This will help eliminate some of that bitterness/intenseness of flavor that results when you don’t cook it. Feel free to add radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers or any other fresh produce to the bowl. The tahini/nutritional yeast dressing works well with a variety of vegetables.
- -1 bunch of kale, washed and leaves stripped from the center rib
- -1 carrot, grated or shaved
- -1/3 small onion, very thinly sliced
- -1/3 cup of sesame tahini
- -1/2 cup of lemon juice
- -1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
- -2 cloves of garlic, minced
- -1 scant tsp. of salt
- -2 dashes of ground black pepper
- Chop or cut kale into thin strips. Place in a large bowl with carrot and thinly sliced onion.
- In a separate bowl, whisk remaining ingredients. If your tahini is on the stiffer side, you may want to add a Tbsp. or two of warm water. If so, taste, and adjust salt and pepper, as needed.
- Begin pouring the dressing into the bowl of kale a little at a time, using your hands to massage it into the leaves. Serve.