Kale is among the most nutrient-dense vegetables that is considered commonly eaten. One cup provides 1327% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192% of DV for vitamin A, and 88% for vitamin C. It’s not something I recommend eating huge amounts of every single day because the K and A vitamin content is way more than you need. Still, it’s a great green to add to your vegetable repertoire. Sauteed with some garlic, it’s absolutely amazing. Most people find eating it raw difficult due to its bitter and brussels sprouts-like texture. I had this salad once at True Food Kitchen and absolutely fell in love, especially after realizing how easy it was to make.
- 4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero); midribs removed if you prefer (I don’t mind them!)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed
- Salt & pepper (optional)
- Pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2/3 C grated flavorful cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
- 1/2 C freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread (or from the deli counter, just don’t use the canned stuff off the shelf if you can avoid it)
- Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes. I like to make the dressing first and let the garlic permeate the liquids, while I prep the kale leaves.
- Pour over kale in a large serving bowl and toss well.
- Let kale sit for at least 15 minutes. Remove chunks of garlic. Add bread crumbs and 2/3 of the cheese, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.
Truth be told, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product when I made it, but it’ll look like this.
The great thing about this recipe is you can make it ahead (tossed with the dressing), and the longer you let the kale sit, the better it gets. The acidity in the dressing breaks down the tough, cabbage-like texture of the kale a bit. As far as the bread crumbs go, I bought a container of fresh bread crumbs from the deli counter at Sprouts, used what I needed, and put the rest in the freezer until the next use. I’ve made this salad several times and can tell you that the bread crumbs keep really well as long as there’s no moisture in the container they’re stored in!
If you need protein with your salads, almost any grilled meat (shrimp, chicken, beef, salmon, etc.) would go great on top of the salad. So would chickpeas, quinoa, boiled egg, or other non-meat high-protein items. It’s a really versatile salad. It’s the only dressed salad that gets better the next day too. If you know you’ll have leftovers, just don’t toss in the cheese and breadcrumbs til you’re ready to eat it. I do recommend consuming within 2 days of making it.
Enjoy and happy new year!