May 13, 2012

Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing


This is among my favorite salads to make myself for lunch when I am home.  I am a lover of peanut butter and how well it blends with Asian flavors such as ginger and cilantro.  I created this flavor packed dressing based on one of my favorite Chinese dishes; cold noodles with peanut dressing and cucumbers.  It will work well with such a dish as well as for a dipping sauce for something such as chicken or beef satay or grilled vegetables. 

I am always asked for ideas for making a good kale salad.  This is, without a doubt, one of my favorites.  The peanut combined with the kale is an extremely satisfying combination.  Not only is this salad delicious, but it is a great way to get a hearty dose of the vitamin packed dark leafy greens.  I love this salad made with nothing but kale and the dressing, but if I am serving it as a main course to friends I might add in any of the additional ingredients listed in the recipe or steamed or sauteed vegetables that might be left over from the previous night's dinner to make it a little more interesting.

Kale is packed with vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, folate, B6, and fiber.  It is a perfect food.  The dressing is heated up with fresh ginger which is benefical to aid inflammation, nausea, cancer prevention, and even migraines.

Serves 2 for a main course lunch or 4 as a side dish.
For all of the ingredients, please use only those that are organic or pesticide free.
1 bunch Cavalo Nero kale (also known as Lacinato), ribs removed
1 teaspoon olive oil, canola oil (unrefined), or grape seed oil
Optional ingredients to add in might include the following:
1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tangerine or orange, peeled and sectioned
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed and chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
  fresh cilantro leaves
  fresh mint, thinly sliced
Remove the ribs from the kale. Tear the leaves into fork sized pieces and put in a medium sized salad bowl. Drizzle with oil and use your hands to massage the leaves. They are very hearty and this process helps to break down the fibers in the leaves and make them more digestible.
Add enough peanut dressing to generously coat the leaves and toss thoroughly. Add any additional ingredients you desire and serve.
Peanut Dressing
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
3 tablespoons peanut butter, unsalted preferably without additional ingredients
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon tamari soy
1 tablespoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup canola or grape seed oil
  salt and pepper
2 tablespoons coconut milk, unsweetened (optional)
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the salt, pepper, and coconut milk. Whisk or use a fork to blend the ingredients until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and add oil, acid, or even more peanut butter as desired. If a creamier consistency is desired, add coconut milk.
There will be enough dressing for about 3 heads of kale. Refrigerate what is left for up to a week.
**Substitute the tahini, sunflower, almond, or cashew butter for peanut butter for those with allergy concerns.





IMG_6690Kale only with a creamier coconut milk enhanced dressing.

Categories: Dressings & Sauces, Gluten Free, Salads, Vegan Entrees, Vegetables

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