Foe Turned Friend: Massaged Kale and Apple Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)
It was definitely green. I was referring of course to the pile of kale on my tray next to, honestly I can’t remember. All I can remember is I’d much rather eat anything else than this pile of green stuff that I got against my will. The pile of lawn clippings wound up in the compost. I was 19 years old, I made my own decisions and no one was making me eat kale. I wouldn’t eat spinach unless it came with a healthy serving of cream and butter.
Meal times at culinary school were events. Depending on what kitchen you went to you could wind up with a meal for two or three. You could sample the clean food of Japan, the heat of Jamaica and simplicity of a good burger all in the same day. Rest assured, all the meals you would receive had your basic food groups: butter, sugar, salt, dairy, and meat. Any green thing or vegetable was unidentifiable, covered in cheese or a sugary glaze.
I’m exaggerating a bit. We did have access to vegetables when I went to Culinary School. I was just more interested in eggs Benedict and chocolate pies than salads. Kale was never something I wanted or craved. And to be honest, kale still isn’t a fan favorite.
I moved a few weeks ago and as I settle into a new routine, and a new group dynamic I’ve found myself craving kale. The green that I despised, the green that I wanted nothing to do with five years ago. Kale, the foe turned friend.
Kale is a needy green. You need to cook it right. If you want to eat it raw you need to massage it into submission. How many greens do you know that you need to massage until they are chew-able?
But the best part about eating kale is that when you get it right, it is magic. When you are finally done massaging the kale into submission it becomes tender. The act of massaging also integrates any flavors you decide to massage it with. It doesn’t take long either, about three or four minutes. The best part about kale salads is that you can make them the night before and they won’t wilt. The salad will just get more flavorful. Mix it with the fall flavors of apple, saurkraut and top it with tahini and kale becomes something you want to eat.
I satisfied my craving for a whole fresh and filling meal with this salad. And like I mentioned you can make this salad ahead of time for up to two days. The pickled turmeric slices is a recipe from the Moon Juice cookbook by Amanda Chantal Bacon. A cookbook worth getting to read though and ogle at the beautiful photography. The turmeric in this salad adds freshness and added health benefits. And paired with my homemade purple sauerkraut this salad is delicious and healthy. If you don’t want to pickle turmeric, substitute with some shredded carrot and use apple cider vinegar in the dressing.
In fact, this is your salad. Make it the way you will eat it. My only word of advice is to dress the salad right before serving if substituting the kale. Other greens aren’t hardy enough to last more than a half an hour. Add homemade or store bought sauerkraut or kimchi, whatever you like. Anything to get you drooling over a salad today.
Massaged Kale and Apple Salad
4 packed cups of kale, chopped
1 apple sliced thin (I used granny smith but you can use whatever you like)
1 medium cucumber chopped
1/2 Cup saurkraut or fermented food of your choosing
3 slices Tumeric Cider Pickles, sliced thin
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 recipe of the Tahini Dressing
1. To toast the almonds preheat an oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake for about 5 to 10 minutes, checking often. Nuts go from beautiful to burnt quickly. Give them a rough chop when they cool.
2. Place the four cups of kale in a large bowl. Pour over about 1/3 of the tahini dressing. Begin massaging the kale. This is done by rubbing the dressing into the leaves with your fingers. (about 3 to 4 minutes) You can wear gloves for this. You will now the kale is ready when the leaves are tender and easier to chew. This step is important, massaging the kale makes magic happen. Without massaging the greens you'll be cursing my name.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the massaged kale including the remaining dressing. Toss together and eat right away or keep in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy!
1/2 C tahini (sesame seed paste, can sub cashew butter)
1/4 C tumeric pickle brine
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1. Blend all of the ingredients together using a spoon in a small bowl. Add water to reach the proper dressing consistency. Please note that this dressing will thicken if stored by itself in the fridge. If that happens just thin it out with a little bit of water.
Tumeric Cider Pickles
1 (3oz) piece of fresh tumeric root
3 cloves garlic, smashed with a pot or side of a knife
3 chiles de arbol, torn into thirds (I substituted 3 small dried chilies)
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/2 Cup apple cider vinegar
1. Scrape the peel from the tumeric with the side of a spoon and then use a mandoline or very sharp knife to cut the tumeric lengthwise into very long thin strips.
2. Placed the sliced tumeric in a glass quart jar and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for up to a month or two. You can use these pickles about an hour after making them.