Thursday, March 13, 2014

Massaged Kale Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Pouring Dressing onto Salad
A Little Dressing & a Lot of Kale

Recipe by Robin

Raw kale is a nutritional powerhouse, but its sharp taste and unyielding texture make eating it a more healthful than delicious experience. However, the commercial solution of drowning the kale in an oily dressing to tone it down can reduce flavor and texture to a bland, soppy mess. Luckily, home cooks can achieve better results by massaging the kale by hand. Fear not, you won’t need extraordinary upper body strength! Most of the work is done chemically by lemon juice while you squeeze for just 2 minutes. Further mellowing of the kale is accomplished by marinating in an easy dressing.

Secret Ingredient: Sunflower Sprouts
For most predictable results, use Lacinato (AKA Dinosaur) kale. Its deep green leaves are softer than most kales. If you substitute Red Russian or other heartier kale, you might need to increase the massage and/or marinating times. Massage until there’s a significant decrease in the volume and texture of the kale—2 - 5 minutes total. With heartier kales, consider adding extra dressing after massaging to add some chemistry to the mellowing power.

Closeup of Salad
Vitamins and Antioxidants Galore
I’ve used just a light coat of dressing and marinated for two hours before serving. If you prefer, or if you have less time to marinate, double the amount of dressing. It helps to toss the dressing up from the bottom a couple of times during marinating, but it’s not essential. I quite forgot, yet the salad was well-received at a recent potluck.

Kale, Onion, Carrots, Sunflower Sprouts before Mixing
Colorful and Healthful Veggies
Many “helper” ingredients make this kale salad interesting. Sunflower sprouts lighten it up, and bits of carrots and onion add color and flavor pops. Sesame and toasted sunflower seeds add substance and crunch. Feel free to change up the ingredients to suit your pantry, preferences, and creativity. Or modify the very basic dressing if you like. Let us know via a comment if you come up with a yummy variation.

Kale, Sliced Onion, Julienned Carrots, Sunflower Sprouts, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds
Start of a Salad
Massaged Kale Salad with Sunflower Seeds
serves about 12 (8)

NOTE: this seemingly huge amount of kale shrinks down to fill a standard salad bowl; if you want to make less, I’ve included quantities (in parenthesis) to do so. Unless you’re a mathematician (I’m not, obviously), don’t reduce the quantity of dressing; you might not need to use it all. There should be just a bit of it in the bottom of the marinating bowl.

3 (2) large bunches Lacinato kale
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ tsp. sea salt
2 (1½) cups packed sunflower sprouts
¾ (½) cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (¾) cup carrots julienned or in matchsticks
2/3 (½) cup sunflower seeds
3 (2) tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. water
1½ tbsp. tamari
2 tbsp. sunflower oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Fresh ground pepper

Wash the kale and leave it wet. Strip the leaves from the stems and large veins. Tear up into pieces about 1 – 1½ inch square. Place in large container with extra room to massage.

Combine ¼ cup lemon juice with the sea salt. Pour over kale and massage in by hand, scooping up from the bottom of the bowl. Stop massaging when kale volume is reduced by 1/3 to ½, about 2 minutes (or up to 5 for heftier kales).

Mix in sunflower sprouts, red onion, and carrots.

Toast sunflower seeds in small sauté pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from to plate immediately to avoid burning. Let cool while you make the dressing.

To make dressing, mix together in an immersion blender cup: 1 tbsp. lemon juice, water, tamari, sunflower oil and sesame oil. Blend until dressing is well mixed, about 1 minute.

Mix sesame and toasted sunflower seeds into salad.

Top with dressing and toss. Let marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours, tossing once or twice during marinating. Top with a few grinds of pepper before serving.

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