It’s Meatless Monday! It’s also summer, so cool, refreshing salads are at the top of my menu list. Here’s a recipe for one of my faves, a kale cranberry salad garnished with toasted walnuts, slivers of red onion, and a tangy dressing made from olive oil, liquid amino acids, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and fresh ground salt and pepper. I personally like the simplicity of this salad and try not to add too many other ingredients that would make it taste like every other salad I make but of course, feel free to experiment. Serve with a side of hard boiled eggs or whole wheat crackers or toast spread with goat cheese if you want to amp up the protein a bit.
Fresh Kale – It’s usually sold in big bunches. Get one big bunch, use as much for the salad as you want, then put aside the rest to add to a soup or casserole later in the week
Liquid Amino Acids – You can find this in most grocery stores and definitely in natural foods-focused markets
Walnuts – 1/2 – 1 cup halves or pieces
Dried Cranberries - 1/2 – 1 cup
Red Onion - 1/2, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper
Salad Spinner or Colander
Small Bowl or Jar for mixing salad dressing
Heavy-duty skillet for toasting walnuts
1) Wash kale and spin in salad spinner or drain in colander to get rid of excess water. Slice leaves away from the white middle stem, then chop or tear into bite-sized pieces and toss into salad bowl. Use your hands to crunch up the kale a little bit. It’s a thick leaf; crunching it helps break it down a little without destroying it’s texture or fresh taste.
2) Peel the papery outer skin off the red onion and slice it into very thin crescents. Toss in the bowl with the kale.
3) Mix the salad dressing ingredients together until you get the taste you like. I usually start with 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of an entire lemon (seeds and pulp strained out), and 3/4 cup of the liquid amino acids. But then I add a little more oil or aminos until I get a taste that’s both flavorful and tangy. I prefer to mix salad ingredients in a jar with a lid because I can shake them up until they’re well-blended. Pour your salad dressing on the kale and red onions and mix well. Put the dressed kale and cranberries in the refrigerator until ready to serve. NOTE: You can make the salad to this point a day in advance. Because the kale is so hearty, the dressing won’t wilt the leaf.
4) Toast walnuts in a hot skillet. Watch the walnuts so they don’t burn! Shake the skillet back and forth a bit to keep the walnuts moving. It should only take 2 or 3 minutes for the walnuts to toast. Remove into a small bowl or plate.
5) Right before serving, toss the salad again to redistribute the dressing, then add the walnuts and cranberries. Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Voila!
No walnuts? Substitute pine nuts, almonds or pecans.
No cranberries? Try grapefruit slices.
No liquid amino acids? Try balsamic or red wine vinegar (though I personally think the aminos are what make this salad stand out)
Other ideas? If you have a great recipe for kale salad, please share! Thanks.